Column #HR71 Conventional Wisdom Ain’t Always Spot On

Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Column HR71
Conventional Wisdom Ain’t Always Spot On

The term “conventional wisdom” is used way too often to explain a particular point of view. Just as often as it’s “spot on” it’s an oxymoron. The term is credited to John Kenneth Galbraith in his 1958 book “The Affluent Society.” In truth it actually dates back to at least 1838. Mr. Galbraith probably operated on the “theory” that if you steal from the dead they seldom complain.

The Old Dart Coach remembers when everything that came out of the BDO (British Darts Organization) was a plan to retake control of the colonies and the world in a darting sense. That was the “conventional wisdom.” The one exception to official BDO arrogance was one Ms. Biddy Roberts. She was a sweetheart. A one off. Ms. Biddy recently passed on to the great dart hall in the sky.

Biddy’s friend Lynn O’Donovan wrote, “feeling a little sad tonight. I went to surrey legend that was Biddy Roberts funeral today. Lovely service. Sad that she’s now with the Angels probably chatting up my mum and Jocky Wilson. RIP Biddy forever loved by many XXXX.” The ODC mused that she was joining Lil Combs and Jocky in Heaven adding that the Lord has three he can be proud of. Titian haired O’Donovan answered,

“Can you imagine those three fighting over the best halo?”

THE ODC AT A WEDDING

The ODC attended one of Biddy’s weddings. This one held during the North American at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. Both now just memories. Biddy’s betrothed walked down the a isle with the aid of a walker. The ODC, much to the consternation of his date, got the giggles during the walk down thinking of the wedding night with the groom in a walker. As giggles are contagious others picked it up. It did not go unnoticed. Later at the hotel room reception the question of the giggling came up. Someone told Biddy what the cause was. Her reaction?

“He’s a Yank.”

The night ended in disaster for the ODC. He and his date left the three bottles of champagne reception for the big North American dance. Midway through an initial “up close and personal dance” his date excused herself.

“I’ll be right back.”

She never came back. The ODC adjourned to the “A” bar after wandering aimlessly thru throngs of darting people walking to music.

“Thought you had a date?”

“I did.”

“Where is she?”

“Don’t know. She was in my arms one minute and then she disappeared. She was probably kidnapped.”

Rumor was that the kidnappers offered to pay the ODC for her return.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW

Upon further review “conventional wisdoms” is often not an oxymoron. It’s always conventional but too often devoid of wisdom. Recently at a location called “The Website That Shall Not Be Named” a person named Ducks spouted the conventional wisdom when he called into question the marketing strategy of DARTSLIVE, the newest entry into the soft point game.

Remember 20 plus years ago the conventional wisdom in regard to soft point was:

“Who would pay to play darts? Heck they aren’t real dart players. They can’t even count.”

Fact is that the Gods of Darts at the time, self appointed, told the soft point guys to “eliminate waste up a rope” or words to that effect. Of course, like the ODC’s date of many years ago, not only did steel players jump ship but an entire new audience was discovered. To date the ODC has never had another date.

The ODC knows a little about marketing although not as much as he thinks. Why? His early employment was in advertising plus a stint as an account executive with CBS TV. In regard to soft point he considers marketing as just another way of saying, “There’s gold in them there machines. Gold for pub owners, distributors and, most importantly, players.”

Ducks seems to have the rigid digit, for reasons unknown, against DARTSLIVE. Ducks places DARTSLIVE success in Hong Kong on the fact that it has more people per square inch than any place on earth. Yes, they’re really small people. Oh yes, and bartenders wear darts shirt and carry darts. He writes, “Before we get all excited about how DARTSLIVE is going to change everything, we need to look at some Taiwan history too.” Hu? He’s wrong on both counts.

What happens in dart bar in Taiwan means nothing. Ducks says that once the soft point game was thriving but now it’s dead. The soft point game was probably thriving when Paul Lim was based there. Lim’s now a consultant for DARTSLIVE based in Hong Kong. During a recent boxing assignment in Hong Kong, where the ODC would judge four world championship fights for the UBO, he with Paul Lim visited an “iDarts pub” and took in a Super League match. (Editor’s note: The ODC does consider himself a modern renaissance man along with suffering delusions of grandeur and baldness.)

Ducks writes, “I recently went to a pool hall-like bar on a Saturday night (in Taiwan) and it was dim, dark and empty.”

The Hong Kong venues of DARTSLIVE were nothing like that. They were as far from a “spit on the floor pull my finger” as a place could be. They were bright, clean, young, hip and vibrant.

It’s a fact that DARTSLIVE has taken a different approach entering the U.S. market. Rather than rely on local vending machine operators DARTSLIVE is mostly using Chris Lim and Rob Heckman to gain locations. Opposing soft point machines folk point out that this unconventional method won’t work plus “they are going after the better players. That won’t work.” They may be correct as this conventional wisdom is based on recent history.

Then again consider that DARTSLIVE owner, Steve Ngu, has been a success at retail marketing in the past. To achieve success in the highly competitive “rag trade” not only do you need marketing Plan “A” but a plan “B,” “C,, et al.

There is a good chance that Ngu has plans in place for the future. Oh yes, and he has good people around him. It’s the ODC’s opinion, he has opinions on everything, that machine darts today are like a baby taking its first steps rather than Usain Bolt running the 100 meters in 9.69. With planning, foresight, knowledgeable employees and the capabilities of today’s machines the financial possibilities from machine darts for all are unlimited.

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM UK STYLE

When 177 players Toed the Oche in the first full round of the £200,000 Speedy Services UK Open at the Reebok in Bolton the conventional wisdom, such as it was, had Phil Taylor odds on to win with “the usual suspects” listed right behind. Through the first few rounds that wisdom was spot on. Some like defending champion James Wade struggled but otherwise it looked like “same old-same-old.” Wade was trailing Stephen Bunting, one of the 64 amateurs to qualify. Bunting missed four match darts allowing Wade to take the 4-3 victory.

The third round did have a nifty 9-darter by Gary Anderson (180-180-141) stealing the spotlight and £10,000. Taylor had to go all out to beat a rejuvenated Roland Scholten. Scholten has about recovered from shoulder surgery.

Following the match Scholten was asked about the match which he led at one point. “In the end I am me and Phil Taylor is Phil Taylor.”

The Speedy Service UK Open – that’s the last sponsor plug for this column – is played with a unique format. Early rounds are played simultaneously on six boards and matches drawn after each round to the semis. Board #1 is the “featured board” with less TV-attractive groupings played on boards 2-6. World Champion Adrian Lewis had been whining, to anyone that would listen, in rounds 1-3 that he had not been on the “featured board.”

WATCH OUT WHAT YOU WISH FOR

Lewis got his wish in round 4 drawing Wes Newton on board #1. Lewis took a 6-5 lead and then folded like a hanging suit bag losing 9-7. Joining Lewis on the “go home” list were Gary Anderson to fellow Scot Robert Thornton 9-7 and Mervyn King 7-9 to Dutchman Michael van Gerwen. This was a merely “dead Bill” for conventional wisdom as Phil Taylor and Barney marched on, Taylor via a 9-1 win over Colin Osborne with Barney collecting a 9-7 “W” over “The Pie Man” Andy Smith.

The last two years Denis Ovens has made it to the semis of the UK Open. He kept his hopes alive in the 4th round coming from 0-4 and 1-5 down to beat Brendan Dolan 9-8. Dolan had match darts but missed. TV “commentators” called Ovens “lucky.” This prompted the ODC to send Ovens the following email. “Boy are you lucky. You hit 9 doubles before your opponent.”

Going from 16 to 8 Phil Taylor displayed the skill that makes him “the best.” “Rocket” Ronnie Baxter opened a 2-0 lead in a match where the final score of 9-4 doesn’t tell the story. Baxter had 6-180’s along with a 156-check. Taylor? He averaged 110.72. In one leg both players opened with 6 –180’s. No “pity pat” darts were allowed. This was a slug fest. The TV guys kept saying, “You never know what Ronnie Baxter you’re going to get. Lately it’s not been good.” Taylor disagrees. “Ronnie’s back to his best and he pushed me hard.”

Barney got by “Snake Bite” Wright when Wright, leading 8-7, busted 138 with Barney 4 darts away from a double. Barney got the 9-8 win with a 12-darter in the final but missed 31 darts at doubles which should have been a “wash out moment.” The match of the round was Denis Ovens over Paul “The Fraud” Nicholson. Nicholson led 8-5 only to miss 10 match darts. In the final leg Ovens turned up the heat for the 9-8 win. In a post match interview some “rookie mike guy” said, “Denis you’ve been lucky? Nicholson missed a lot of doubles.”

“ Yes he did. He didn’t miss any in the final leg because he didn’t get to one.”

If the road from 16 to 8 was exciting the same can’t be said for the quarter-finals. Dave “Chizzy” Chisnall had been the “Wise Guys” pick after his Players win leading up to the UK Open. Chisnall opened a 5-nil lead over Barney winning 10-5. He averaged 99.79, then prepared for a semi meeting with Robert Thornton who eliminated Wes Newton 10-8. Both Phil Taylor and Denis Ovens advanced with workman-like performances.

The semis and finals were held on Sunday with TV guys licking their collective lips in anticipation of a Taylor-Chisnal final. Chisnall had eliminated Taylor in last year’s world championships. Slight problem. While Phil Taylor steamrolled Denis Ovens 10-2 Chisnall wasn’t so lucky. Chisnall and Robert Thornton held throw thorough the first 4 legs. Thornton would get the first service break with an 11-darter using a pair of back-to-back 180’s. Up 5-2 Thornton missed 10 at a double with Chisnall narrowing the gap to 5-3. The missed doubles didn’t seem to have any effect on Thornton as he ran off 4 legs in a row. Chisnall would get a leg for 9-4 down only to lose 10-4. Ovens and Chisnall would collect £10,000 for their efforts.

The final started out like the barn burner as advertised. Leg 1: Taylor 134,140,140 with an 87-out for an 11-darter. Second leg: Taylor wins in 12. Then Taylor misses 9 darts at a double as Thornton takes out double 1. Thornton levels at 2 with an 11-darter. At 2 each Taylor answers a 174-open with 2-180’s and a double for a 3-2 lead. Thornton levels at 3 and then goes on a rampage taking 6 on the trot. In three of the legs Taylor missed a combined 12 leg-winning darts. With Thornton up 9-3 Taylor finally held throw which only delayed the inevitable. Taylor held again for 10-5 down when Thornton lowered the hammer with back-to-back 140s and a 121 check on the bull.

MORE CONVENTION WISDOM GONE AMUCK

In a conversation between the ODC and the Lord of Pattaya, the latter spouted the “CW” that machine darts are easy.
“If PDC players went to (the DARTSLIVE World Championship) they would win every time. All you have to do is throw the bull.”

It didn’t work that way in stage three of the DARTSLIVE World Championship played in Hong Kong. World Champion Adrian Lewis, touring Japan for Target Darts, stopped off for an easy payday. He got drilled by eventual event winner, Japan’s Keota Ono.

TAKE THIS TV GUYS

Ronnie Baxter took the recent Players Championship event at Birmingham beating Adrian Lewis 6-3 in the final. The results prompted the ODC to send the following email,
“YES!!!!!!!”

The Rocket man answered the following day…

“Went balls up today though, got beat in board final playing like a wally. Round before last 3 game outs were 131, 150 and 140 – then can’t even hit 60 and 50 outs. Need to tame the nature of the beast, any ideas?”

Of course the ODC had an answer, “Just pretend you were playing me in N’Awlins. Problem solved.”

Back in the day the ODC had Baxter on the ropes, down 1-nil, with the ODC at a double. Baxter squeezed by 3-1. In two legs the ODC only missed three at a double, all in leg 2. The loss was a crushing defeat for the ODC. He did find the silver lining by high tailing it first to the OTB on Bourbon Street with his pal Randy Goodpasture. Then onto the Acme Oyster House off Bourbon Street for a few dozen oysters and many Buds.

FINALLY

The conventional wisdom of the day was that Budweiser would rule the world for ever. Bucking conventional wisdom Miller Brewing came out with Miller Genuine and cupid struck the ODC. That’s not to suggest that conventional wisdom can’t be right on occasions. Convention wisdom will tell you that this effort will end with, “Stay thirsty my friends and pop many a Miller Genuine.” Conventional wisdom spot on.

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Howie Reed
The one and only Howie Reed (the Old Dart Coach) goes back decades with the legends of our sport - he knows where the skeletons are buried. Just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers! His widely popular column, Toeing the Oche, is a must-read.

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