Column #HR72 A July 4th THANK YOU to the Brits

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Column HR72
A July 4th THANK YOU to the Brits

Been around long enough to have memories? Been around long enough to have actually done something? Then you’ll wax nostalgic when a holiday approaches. That’s the case with the Old Dart Coach as America gets ready to celebrate Independence Day. Whoops forgot. For those of you who went to progressive schools that would be July 4th. To further enlighten the “progressives” that’s when the Colonies (that would be the USA) with the help of a bunch of French got rid of the Brits and their hired guns, the Germans. It was called the Revolutionary War. Check it out in on the Internet.

For those who worship at the altar of the Dart God we offer special thanks to our cousins in the UK. For the record those former warm beer drinking, tea sipping, watercress sandwich munching folks have a unique place in history. Not just the history of the USA but throughout the world. Yes they had colonies whose sole purpose was to supply stuff for the Motha Country. What is usually overlooked is that whenever they left a country – usually not their choice – they always left behind a form of government that worked, a love of rum, darts, and bad teeth. Bacardi, the largest selling spirit in the world, along with darts players and dentists everywhere should bow to say thanks to the Brits each and every day.

Darters remember with fond memories the late Barry Twomlow of whom it was said, “He taught the world how to play darts.”

Maybe not the entire world but the part that counts. For young “zipper snappers” who never had the chance to meet and share a pint with Barry T there’s a void in their lives. The ODC was privileged to call him “Pal.” They shared more than a few pints in venues from Las Vegas to Tokyo and all the stops along the way. Barry was a large man in size but even bigger in stature. He was a giant whose shoes will never be filled. The ODC never gave up trying to give him the “mickey.” Those efforts usually met with little or no success.

One 4th of July Barry T and the ODC were sharing a cool pint during a break at a stateside tournament. Twomlow had probably cashed a check, as he usually did, while the ODC’s contribution to the festivities was to pay entry fees and sign the back of the card after losing.

“Say Barry, do they celebrate the 4th of July in England?” the ODC asked between sips of a frothy pint.

“Yes. It’s a big holiday in England. We celebrate it every year.”

“You celebrate the 4th of July – the day we celebrate for tossing your asses out of America?”

“Yes. It’s a great holiday in England. It’s the day we commemorate getting rid of the likes of you.”

So England… thank you for making the 4th of July possible. Without you it wouldn’t be our biggest holiday. We thank you England for the likes of Barry T and you can thank us for cold beer and dentists. We got the best of that trade.

FROM AN ACORN GROWS

In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde in the year 1374 the following is found: “as a ook cometh of a litel Spyr.”

We Yanks know that “as from an acorn the mighty oak grows.” The Brits planted a few religious folks in a country far away and it grew to become the USA. Once the PDC struck gold with Barry Hearn – even a blind hog occasionally finds an acorn – they planted seedlings of tournaments in America. They have yet to grow into mighty oaks but then Rome wasn’t built in a day. From those seedlings have come Major League Darts and the New World Dart Series and their $30,000 singles event in Dayton, Ohio on October 12-14. Not giant oaks yet but one can never tell. There is no disgrace in trying and failing. The disgrace is in never trying. “Can’t ain’t never done nothing.”

The PDC acorns planted in Europe are growing big and strong. Their second European tour event is in the books. The ODC wondered when European players were going to realize that they had virtually no chance of winning. The format’s stacked to the advantage of the regular tour members, as it maybe should be. After all it is their TV money. He emailed his theory to a “person” within the PDC. The answer?

“From the acorn grows the mighty oak.”

Some may not be aware that before the Old Dart Coach was the ODC he was just another dart player. Then in 1984 he was named the Captain of the 1984 ADO Pacific Cup team. Members of that team were the late Nicky Virachkul, Jerry Umberger, Jo-Ann Anderson, and Kathy Karpowich. The captains of other teams at the Hawaiian event had national dart shirts but not the ODC. The American team took care of that by buying a t-shirt with the words “COACH” printed on the back. This team of greats were like the Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls. How could they lose? The ODC figured out a way.

At one point the America team was having a trouble hitting doubles. The ODC in a stroke of genius sent out for a plain brown paper bag. On the outside of the bag he lettered, “Sacks of Outs.” “You’re having trouble with outs,” he told a team that looked at him like he had lost the part of his mind not already damaged beyond repair. “Here’s a sack of outs for your use.”

Once the team got the “sacks of outs” they went through the field like corn through a seagull. Then in the penultimate game the USA needed double 12 for the title. But alas there was no double 12 in the “sack of outs.” Stupid ODC. For the record, two years later in Auckland Kathy Karpowich hit double 12 for the first Pacific Cup win for the USA. ‘Twas on the ODC’s birthday. How about then apples? The name Coach stuck and as years went on the “Old” was added. Next to come is “Really.”

IT AIN’T ROCKET SCIENCE

The ODC recently gave Rocket Ronnie Baxter some “coaching” as reported in the last Toeing the Oche. Worked pretty good. At European Tour Event 2 Baxter made it to the top 16 using the advice of…

“Make believe you’re playing me in N’awlins.”

Then Baxter won?

Nope. He lost 16 going to 8 by a score of 6-4 to Kim Huybrechts. How could this happen?

It’s just a theory but Baxter probably saw Huybrechts with his “lady” on his arm. “That can’t be the ODC,” thinks Baxter, “Huybrechts has a 10 on his arm. Never happen to the ODC. Maybe a 8 or 8 ½ but never a 10.” ‘Tiz true. The ODC admits that on occasion he has had a 9 or 10 on his arm which was usually the result of a blind draw one off.

Phil Taylor would win the event 6-2 over the hottest player on tour, Dave Chisnall, collecting £15,000.

At the next tour stop Rocket Ronnie was on fire. He joined Dave Chisnall in mowing the field down like a John Deere at harvest time through a Nebraska wheat field. Baxter took out Vincent van der Voort, Simon Whitlock, and World Champion Adrian Lewis all via 6-5 scores. Chisnall would prevail in the final 6-4. Post match interviews had Baxter maybe saying,

“I owed it all to the Old Dart Coach. He is to darts what Jose Mourinho is to footbol.”

IT’S A FUNNY OLE GAME

Sid Waddell is a treasure that England shares with the darting world. Waddell has been absent on TV darts coverage as he battles cancer. He is currently “nearing the end of his second course of chemo.” He’ll be back behind the mike for Blackpool which Yanks can watch on Justin TV. He likes to say of darts…

“It’s a funny ole game.”

Day 2 at the K2 Centre in Crawley put the exclamation point on Waddell’s statement. Both Baxter and Chisnall went out in round two. Go figure. World Champion Adrian Lewis continued his slide losing in the same round to an “on the comeback” Roland Scholten 6-4. Sure is a funny old game.

So happy July 4th to all. May all your scoring be triples and your doubles true. Raise a Miller Genuine to that Grand Old Flag and remember, as the second most interesting man in the world says, “Stay thirsty my friends.”

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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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