Column #HR76 “Amongst” the hopeful are many with “back class”

Friday, September 21, 2012
Column HR76
“Amongst” the hopeful are many with “back class”

The Old Dart Coach was a big fan of Ricky Nelson who sang Traveling Man and Garden Party. If the ODC had a philosophy, which stretches credulity to the breaking point, he would borrow a few words from Garden Party.

Those words?

“You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself.”

Editor and head honcho of this website, Dartoid, has a philosophy. Nelson’s words pretty much describe it to a “T.” Unlike other vehicles that cover darts Dartoid’s World doesn’t attempt to curry favor with the Lords of the sport by placing their soup coolers on the collective backsides of same.

The last Toeing the Oche elicited the most email response of any previous effort. Was the response an avalanche, a tsunami or even a small torrent? Not quite. Some may describe it as they do the ODC – a “drip.” Now you may axe, “How many emails did you receive?” So axe.

“Three.”

Yep that’s it. Three, tres or, in French, ménage à trois.

That number could be whittled to two as one email contained only one word. “Nice!” Okay, two words, since the exclamation point sign should count as one. Another reader was not happy.

“These terms (“jump the shark” and “third rail”) are not common amongst Europeans and I am sorry to say I do not see what half of this page has to do with darts.”

One can understand a person not being familiar with the terms “jumping the shark” or “third rail.” They’re specialized terms (perhaps like “amongst”) of which the general public probably isn’t knowledgeable. Actually the entire column was about darts. Like any sport darts is more than singles, doubles and copious pints of lager. If sex ain’t there then it ain’t sport.

Then an astute reader wrote:

“Apparently this is suicide season, nobody told me. I liked your article, regardless of what anyone else says. I’ve always known that you never have had a problem telling it like it is. Bravo Senor.”

Obliviously – yes obliviously – such a comment suggests that the ODC and Dartoid himself were committing suicide by actually reporting the truth about Jelle Klaasen’s indiscretions. Humans engage in sport to engage other humans. The combinations available are endless, especially when playing in Scotland or New Zealand.

While Big Brother, the PDC, Toed the Oche in Sindelfinger Germany for the German Dart Masters, its bastard son, the NAPT, did the same in Atlantic City. NAPT? That would be the North American Players Tournament par trois. Round one was held in Chicago with round two of the NAPT held in London, Ontario. The money leader of the PDCOOMOTNAPT – the Professional Darts Corporation Order of Merit North American Players Tournament – gets into the PDC World Championship so leading the PDCOOMOTNAPT is a BFD. It’s a two year rolling average but as this is the first year it’s a one year not rolling average. The top two may or may not make up the PDC World Cup Teams from America and Canada February 1-3 in Hamburg, Germany. Now that’s a RBFD. “HS !!!!!!” he typed.

Larry “The Bald Eagle” Butler entered round 3 ranked 15th after exiting the event in Ontario 6-5 to Steven Warnock in the round of 64. In Atlantic City Butler soared like an eagle depositing his opponents like the majestic bird recycles a field mouse from 2,000 feet. RYSM? Nope. Consider Butler dumped, very unceremoniously, Gary Mawson and Jim Widmayer 6-1 with Tom Sawyer doing a little better going out 6-2. Johnny Kucsynski in the round of 64 got closest to hanging a “L” on Butler losing only 6-4. The final between Butler and PDCOOMOTNAPT leader Darin “Daddy Wags” Young was as close to a whitewash as you can get. Yes dear reader it was 6-1. Young could and probably would plead “nolo contendre” which means “I do not wish to argue.”

Young with three runner up finishes to John Part, Andre Carmen, and Butler still leads the PDCOOMOTNAPT with $4,800 and a $1,900 dollar lead over Butler who is level with John Part. Both Part and Butler have banked $2,300 dollars. Andre Carmen is 4th with $2,200. Not entered in Atlantic City, Part could have added to his money total had he not gone out of the German Dart Masters before collecting a pay check. A PDC rule allows a North American player that enters a “regular” PDC event on the same date as a NAPT event to add 75% of his winnings toward the North American Order of Merit. Part did that but 75% of nothing is nothing.

Below is the unofficial top 8 for the year. “Unofficial” because the official keeper of such stuff has not yet gotten “aroundtoit.”

1 – Darin Young (USA) $4,200
2/3 – John Part (Canada) $2,300
2/3 – Larry Butler (USA) $2,300
4 – Andre Carman (Canada) $2,200
5/6 – Ross Snook (Canada) $1,600
5/6 – Jeff Smith (Canada) $1,600
7 – Gary Mawson (USA/Canada) $1,400
8 – Dan Olsen (Canada) $1,000

“Amongst” other terms that might cause the e-mailer from Europe trouble is “back class.” It’s a term from horse racing used in handicapping. In a particular race sometimes there’s a horse that hasn’t done much lately but has run well previously. The ODC likes to use that approach when looking at dart players. The 8 gentleman ranked after year one of the North American Ranking all have “back class” so their leading the pack should come as no surprise.

On the “Big Guy Tour” a “back class” example is Adrian Lewis. Many would agree that since he won his second world championship last fall he’s been less than scintillating. He’s had his moments though not been able to close the deal. At almost every event the talking heads, who get it right more than they do wrong, pick Lewis to win. They understand and respect “back class.” When the Big Guys gathered for the German Darts Master Adrian Lewis shined like a “new penny.” Okay, a really “big” new penny.

Lewis was as close to perfect as you can get dropping only three legs going 18-3 in his first three matches. Then Tony West fell 6-3, followed in the semi finals by world #3 James Wade 6-1 and then his sometime practice partner from Stoke, Ian White, 6-3 in the final. Lewis went 36-10 which qualifies for a “Holy Smoke, Martha, them be some kind of darts!”

For his efforts Lewis banked £15,000 from the total prize purse of £82,100.

Working to get into the “back class” category is Michael van Gerwen. He took his third PDC tour title of the year in Barnsley defeating Ian “Another Runner Up” White 6-1. Simon Whitlock won his first ranking title in two years when he coped the Sunday event in Barnsley. He’d had runner ups in the McCoy’s Premier League Darts and Cash Converters World Cup finals this year but no W’s.

Next up is the European Championship September 20-23 at the RWE Sporthalle in Muelheim Germany where Phil Taylor joins the fun. Taylor has won five consecutive European Championships and will be the favorite to do so again. Those folks picking Taylor to cop the major portion of the £200,000 prize money might take a look at “back class.” Adrian Lewis has it and is in great form.

When Barry Hearn took over the professional side of darts it went from a group of traveling gypsies to a group of mostly professional sportsman. How did he accomplish that feat? Mr. Hearn is endowed with a big helping of “back class.” “Back class” can also be defined as sometimes falling short at an endeavor but never giving up. Unlike many involved in darts, including the ODC, Hearn does more than run his yapper. Most good dart players are great at pointing out what the game needs, and then doing nothing.

Larry Butler is not one of those.

On October 12-15 the results of Butler actually doing something again, along with his wife Sharon and a cadre of others, will be on full display as the New World Dart Series sets up business in Dayton, Ohio. It’s a $30,000 event that is open only to North American Players. Only 192 men and 64 women will toe the oche in a preliminary round that will narrow the field for a round robin play. It’ll be a test of the best and those that want to be the best in a “real” professional format.

Some of the same people traveling to Dayton will also drop in at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas for the Soft Darts World Championship Stage 7 event Sept. 29. This will be the first time a DARTSLIVE event has been held outside Southeast Asia. For a paltry $50 entry fee players have the chance to take home the $12,000 first place money while all top 64 players will at least earn their entry fee back.

The event is limited to 256 players or wanna be players. Two stars of that circuit are Paul and Harith Lim. Saw a set of Lim Bubblehead dolls on Facebook so maybe they’ll be available also. If Hawkeye, aka the Hawk from the Blue Lagoon, was still setting up shop at darts tournaments he’d have Lim Bubblehead Dolls along with designer perfume, stuffed animals, and maybe even a Veg-o-matic. Them was the days. In fact the DARTSLIVE Stage 7 event will be pretty much a East-West deal with Asia expected to emerge triumphant. But watch out for them North Americans – they have “back class.”

In the spirit of Southeast Asia…

A man walks into a bar with a Chinese bartender.

“What you want?” asks the bartender.

“How about a Stoli?”

“Once upon a time…”

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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