Column #393 Support the Gallagher Boys’ Bid to Become the 2010 ADO National Youth Champion!

Thursday, July 1, 2010
Column 393
Support the Gallagher Boys’ Bid to Become the 2010 ADO National Youth Champion!

Who do I look up to in darts? Well, this is probably predictable, but I look up to Phil Taylor. His attitude and determination to win set him apart from everybody else in professional darts. TWO perfect games in one match! My goal is to get as good as I can, maybe someday even as good as Phil Taylor, but my immediate goal is to win Nationals, and I think I’m more than capable.
– Shannon Gallagher
From the past it would have to be Eric Bristow who I most look up to. I have learned a lot from watching videos of his old matches – he was so cocky and arrogant but he was unbeatable and his stroke was so smooth. I’ve tried to model my stroke after his. Today I look up to Fred Krueger – he has taught me a great deal about the game. Phil Taylor is not too bad either. My goal is to be the first American World Darts Champion!
– Miles Gallagher
 

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This is a fundraising appeal.

If you can possibly send a contribution – $10, $25, $50, $100 or more, or less – to help a couple of kids chase their darts dream it will be gratefully appreciated.

If you are a bum and have absolutely no interest in helping a couple of upstanding young darts players – each of whom have a legitimate shot at winning the American Darts Organization’s (ADO) Youth Nationals in August – you may as well stop reading now.

If you compete in the Minute Man Dart League (MMDL) and have no interest in helping two kids from your own backyard you should be strapped down and waterboarded with Brolin-Cedrone cocktails.

Their names are “Cold Blooded” Miles and Shannon Gallagher. Shannon doesn’t have a nickname – so vote in the Dartoid’s World poll to the left to help give him one.

I can attest that Miles and Shannon are not just outstanding darts players – they are damn good kids too. I am proud to know them and their father, Lawrence, and to be supporting them with a $100 contribution and a challenge: I will match, up to a total of another $100, any contribution that any member of the Darts Forum That Shall Not Be Named is kind enough donate towards their quest. Both boys have long been active posters at the forum.

The fundraising goal to enable their participation in this year’s Youth Nationals is $1,200. About half of the amount has already been pledged or collected. A deposit for their entries has been sent to Katie Harris at the ADO office. But the balance must be raised quickly since the competition is drawing near. This year’s event is scheduled for August 6 in Stamford, Connecticut and is being held in tandem with the USA Dart Classic. The kids will compete for the national title and eight college scholarship checks.

The winner will travel to England to compete in the Youth Masters. Of course, both boys are excited about the possibility of accompanying their ADO representative, Tom Sawyer, who will be making the trip thanks to his recent performance in Houston.

I’ve followed the Youth Nationals since 1998 when Dayton’s Jason Jarvis outlasted another young Massachusetts-based hot shot, Aaron Watson, to take home the title and a $1,500 college scholarship check. In 2004, I followed and wrote about Alex Broderick from Philadelphia when he battled his way to a top eight finish and picked up a $500 scholarship check. In 2005, I interviewed Ashley Stewart (and somehow pissed off her parents) after she emerged atop a field of boys to become the first female and youngest kid ever – at age 14 – to win the Youth Nationals (and pocket $1,500 for college). This program is simply one of the best that the ADO offers.

At 14-years-old himself, Miles has the opportunity (and the darts) to erase one of Ashley’s records. (If he wears a dress he could lay claim to Ashley’s other record.) I played Miles in a charity exhibition in 2008 and nearly (and should have) lost my scalp. I’ve watched him take legs from Roy Chad, long one of the best shooters in the Boston area. Two years ago, Miles nearly won the “Killer” competition in Syracuse. He’s a diminutive darts-throwing phenomenon with a sometimes fiery “leave no prisoners” demeanor who could well walk home with the national youth title in August.

ShannonPhotoAt age 15, Shannon isn’t going to break any of Ashley’s records but he also – absolutely – has the darts to win. Shannon fell short in the semis at last year’s Youth Nationals but the defeat inspired him to work harder. Earlier this year in Portland he took out Barry Todd (currently ranked 13th in the country) in men’s singles cricket, trading seven marks and never losing his cool in a battle of 800-plus-point cricket matches. In March, at the Virginia Beach Classic he won both youth events. Shannon is as steady and as cool as they come.

Both boys are more than just winners – they exude an attitude that is a credit to the game. I asked them for their views on the negative image our sport has long-struggled to shed and their responses were revealing (and only underpin why they are so deserving of our support). Shannon put it this way: I suppose drinking, smoking, and darts are probably always going to go hand in hand. I know a lot of people who rely on it to play and some who have been ruined by it but, personally, I am going to try to stay away from it. I don’t want to become reliant on anything to keep my game up. Miles was more circumspect: I see any bad habits other people have as just another advantage I have over them.

Both boys began playing at the Virginia Beach Classic in 2007 and naturally credit their father with giving them their start and making it possible for them to stay involved. Each practices religiously, “at least” an hour a day and lists the other as his nemesis, although Miles is quick to add, We can both beat anybody.

They do well in school although ironically each say math is their least favorite subject. Neither really needs it though – they know their out-shots and sometimes are creative about their finishes. Shannon advanced during last year’s nationals by closing 72 with tops, d16!

Miles is a fan of chicken wings and the Steelers and hopes to be an air traffic controller someday. Shannon prefers pizza fondue and the Colts and sees a future as an industrial designer.

Not surprisingly, both are quick to point out that they are “single and available.” But both, although hopeful, are temporarily setting aside any “potential liaisons” in lieu of “practice, practice, and more practice” for the nationals – and doing their own part to raise the funds needed to make the trip.

If you wish to support Miles and Shannon contributions can be made electronically via PayPal using this email address: YouthNationalFund2010@Yahoo.com. Alternatively, checks should be sent to the ADO’s National Youth Manager, Carolyn Camp, at P.O. Box 396 Lagunitas, CA 94938. Make your check payable to the ADO and be sure to note that it is to support Miles and Shannon Gallagher. (In the event any excess funds are raised they will be donated to the ADO’s Youth Scholarship Fund.)

On behalf of both Miles and Shannon, thank you for your consideration and for whatever donation you might be able to send to help them chase their dream.

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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