Column #243 A Review of Hawaii 501 – Life as a Darts Pro

April 18, 2006
Column 243
A Review of Hawaii 501 – Life as a Darts Pro

I’m gobsmacked! That’s a British term meaning handsome.

It turns out that I have something in common with a World Class darts player. His name’s Wayne Mardle and he published a book which I have just finished en route from Tampa, Florida to Bangkok, Thailand. I highly recommend it but suggest that you eat first.

I arrived in Bangkok, knackered (another British term) and hungry. Travel is a bitch, a view Mardle and I share, and that’s why I’m tired. But it’s the book that made me hungry. I’m dying for some Kentucky Fried Chicken. Read it and you’ll understand why.

Here are the things Mardle and I have in common.

First, neither of us has won a world championship. Mardle has however made it to the semi-finals three times and won both the British Teenage and Youth titles and all sorts other stuff so I guess that’s all something we don’t have in common. Just to make it clear however that I’m not a complete sod (another British term) let me note that I did finish third once at a luck of the draw. It was at a National Darts Association (NDA) tournament and we were throwing Monopoly tokens.

Second, we have both written a book and spelled some of the words write. Mardle’s book, Hawaii 501 – Life as a Darts Pro (which this kind of, sort of review is about), can be purchased online at either his website (http://www.waynemardle.com) or through his publisher Vision Sports http://www.visionsp.co.uk(). Mine are homes for darts-loving roly-poly bugs in my publisher Totem Pointe’s basement.

Third, we both have a special place in our hearts for John Part and recognize that he’s smarter than both of our brains molded together and multiplied by 180. Unlike Mardle however, I have never been head butted and tackled by the two-time former world champion after beating him in a match.

Fourth, we both LOVE our wives. I don’t refer to mine as “wifey” (another British term) and she sure as hell isn’t going to quit her job to drive me all over the country to play darts but she’s a damn good woman all the same.

Fifth, we both have ponds with koi in our backyards and have cried after killing some of the little fuckers (an American term). Mardle also cries after killing hamsters and watching soppy movies.

Sixth, we both say fuck.

Seventh, each of us highly respect Eric Bristow and long to someday set the same fine example he does for aspiring young darters worldwide.

Eighth, both of us have a mega dart in our pants but wish it was as big as Roland Scholten’s.

Ninth, both of us fancy (yep, the British actually say this) Hawaiian shirts, although I am partial to Tommy Bahamas. We each have our own brand, flog (yep, another one of them there terms) them and then blow the money. (Note that in the English language the word “blow” has several connotations.)

Tenth, we both freely admit that we look daft (still another little British term) when we wiggle about and make contorted faces, but its fun and we love it. So do our wifeys, when we do it in a prone position.

Eleventh, both of us have wandered about and looked in the windows in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. I don’t know about Mardle, but for my part let me be perfectly clear: I got lost while jewelry shopping for my wifey.

Twelfth, both of us receive a ton of e-mail, most of it crap. For example, I sent Mardle a message just a few months ago and the message he sent back was nothin’ but shite (translation clue: what is the name of the ruling party in Iraq?)

Thirteenth, we both have used the same set of darts for twenty years. Mardle’s changed his points although I have not. Mine are now a quarter inch long and will no longer stick in the board – but they are good for poking into the ends of corn on the cob so you can eat it.

Fourteenth, both of us have a nephew named Danny, as if that ain’t just lovvly-jubbly (translation: except for Bobby George nobody really knows).

Fifteenth, both of us own an exercise bike that we never use but we can still do thirty sit ups under pressure, especially if the wifey promises to run out and pick up some Kentucky Fried Chicken after we finish.

Sixteenth, both of us experience a bit of double trouble and our darts often drift left into the fives. This tendency has cost Mardle thousands of dollars. This tendency has cost me the ability to find a partner with actual arms and legs.

Seventeenth, we share a disdain for the press that seems unable to characterize darts players fairly and for what they are, preferring to lump the lot of us into one fat, unfit, beer-swilling stereotype. This is why Mardle and I both drink, eat bean sprouts and watch spiders weave homes on our exercise bikes. The press writes nothing but codswallop (translation: smacking a fish in the head).

Eighteenth, we both have endearing names for our pets. Mardle has two hamsters named Chops and Vegas and used to have another one named Chips, but he killed him, kind of. He also used to have a fish named Sammy but Sammy bit the Big One too, under very suspicious circumstances. I have a dog named Bentley. I haven’t killed him, yet, but I do admit to having threatened to send him to a Korean McDonald’s.

Nineteenth, both of us have struggled through the painful process of purchasing a new home and have recently looked out the window to notice that the grass is two feet tall, which makes one wonder what the wifeys really do all day long.

Twentieth, both of us seem to always be writing checks. Mardle makes his out regularly checks to his friends at the Darts Regulation Authority (DRA). I write mine annually to Uncle Sam, the Big Poopyhead (an American term).

Twenty-first, both of us have nicknames but wish we had the goods to be called Tripod.

Twenty-second, both of us have thrown darts in China (but I have never had a match delayed because one of the scorekeepers swallowed a fly). I did however have to quit once while throwing in Chengdu because I had to go outside for a pavement pizza (a very descriptive British term).

Twenty-third, neither of us is keen (another one of them terms) on doing a topless shoot for FHM magazine, but think Angelina Jolie’s right cracking (this one’s easy) and wouldn’t mind watching her do a shoot.

Twenty-fourth, both of us think we’ll be world champion someday. Mardle expects to make it with his darts. Lord knows he’s been at it for a donkey’s (for frickin’ ever!). My expectation is to crowned the Baron of Bollocks.

So there you have it – twenty-four bits of common ground that I was able to find while reading Wayne Mardle’s book (and a small sort of dictionary to help you understand what he is talking about when you read it). I didn’t expect to find such similarities but having done so I feel that much better about my chances of someday being able to throw an accurate dart. We just have SO much else in common. Why not good darts?

There are also a few things that Mardle and I do NOT have in common.

For example, I have never kicked Caroline Sams’ stuffed lion across a room.

Sky Television has never come to my home to interview me, although the police have.

Phil Taylor didn’t write the foreword for my book (my wifey did!).

I had the good sense to give up poker way back in high school, for girls.

I’ve never been ranked the sixth best darts player in the world, been invited to play in the Premier League, finished second at the Las Vegas Desert Classic, hit a perfect game, or made the semi-finals three times at the world championships. Of course I am proud to say that I have not been stomped repeatedly by Phil Taylor either.

Finally, and this is for certain, I sure as hell was never anywhere near as cute as Mardle was when I was ten years old.

Just wait until you see these photographs!

Hawaii 501 – Life as a Darts Pro is a great read. From one practice routine to another to none at all, from exhibition to exhibition, tournament to tournament, crappy hotel room to crappy hotel room, Kentucky Fried Chicken to Kentucky Fried Chicken, and from camaraderie to rivalry to camaraderie again, Mardle’s book is a fun, very readable, one-of-a-kind 365-day diary of one man’s quest to be the best in the world at a sport that few people recognize for what it really is.

Cheers to Wayne Mardle for the effort.

I say go out and buy the book today – or I’ll have John Part butt you in the head and tackle your arse to the floor.

(Translation of arse: Eric Bristow.)

From the Field,

Dartoid

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Dartoid
Author of the column that since 1995 has been featured by Bull’s Eye News, the American Darts Organization’s (ADO) Double Eagle and numerous other darts publications and websites around the globe.

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