Column #HR81 Happy Juice Musings

Thursday, December 6, 2012
Column HR81
Happy Juice Musings

‘Tiz the holiday season so it’s a given that the Old Dart Coach is into the happy juice. He started when the first Christmas wrappings appeared at the 99-cent store in July. This year, rum and orange juice have been added to his holiday menu of joyous liquid elixirs. Accordingly, and as so often occurs, happy fluid brings on musings… usually involving ladies.

In the Golden Age of American darts the glitter came from the ladies. There were good male players but the American ladies were shining stars. They were the world’s best. Kathy Karpowich, Kathy Maloney, and Sandy Reitan reigned and with a large group of ladies just a half-step behind. There was quantity and quality. KK from the east, Sandy Reitan from the west and smack bad in the middle, almost, was Kathy Maloney who played out of Cleveland.

The ODC, writing for Bull’s Eye News wrote, “You got to go to the Cleveland, the only city in the world where their lake caught on fire.” One could have said – and been accurate – that it was “the water.”

The Cleveland Extravaganza had its moments. Once, down to the final four in the blind draw – they suddenly had five. The late Nicky Virachkul was left out of the singles draw. By round three Virachkul figured something was wrong. Receipt in hand he went to the control desk.

“We lost your card. We’ll give you your entry fee back.”

“I want first place money. I’m going to win.”

He threatened to sue. He got the first place money.

The late Peggy Philips was sitting and chatting during the later stages of the Friday night blind draw. An official from the control table rushed up…

“We lost your card but don’t worry we’ll get you in.”

Nice of them considering that, according to Philips after the person left, “I didn’t enter.”

She finished top four.

One year, the Three Amigos – Kramer, Hopkins and Reed – decided to by-pass the Friday night blind draw – JK and Katy mostly because they didn’t want to draw someone like Reed and Reed because it interrupted his Friday evening cocktail hour(s). On the ride in from the airport via the Holiday Inn courtesy van it was discovered that the Cleveland Indians baseball team was at home…

“Let’s go to the ball game tonight.”

That became the plan of action. The van driver was then asked, “How long does it take to get from the Holiday Inn to the ball park – can you take us?”

Decision made.

Meeting at 5 pm, JK asked the same courtesy van driver, “What’s time does the game start?”

“They played this afternoon. I though you just wanted to see the ballpark.”

Nobody plays Friday afternoon baseball – must be something else “in the water.”

The YDC – he’d yet to become old – found a vendor in the darting hall that was selling stuff. The “not yet” ODC found miniature windup rubber penises that hopped along on their own baby feet. He bought a pair and then a set off for the bar.

Surprise, surprise – he encountered JK and a couple of other darters. When the ODC unveiled his prize purchase the consensus was that dick races were in order. Others made the trip to the dart hall for their very own hopping penises. Thus was born the only known Cleveland Extravaganza Hopping Penises Race, run to cries…

“My dick’s faster than yours.”

Not a great pickup line.

This rum and orange musing was brought on by the news that Kathy Maloney, now living in Florida, has decided to pick up her tungstens for a return to the darting wars. Kathy will step to the line again on December 8 in Pompano Beach.

Maloney, Reitan, and Karpowich all shared one common trait. They were mentally tougher than a $1.00 steak at an “All U Can Eat Joint.” You don’t get to the top without it. Regaining that mental toughness will be Maloney’s greatest test along with overcoming the “been there-done that” syndrome. The second time around is always more difficult. But don’t bet against her.

When the “Tremendous Trio” left the scene Stacy Bromberg entered. She’s been on top for more than 20 years and still going strong. Would Ms. Bromberg have been a fourth to the trio of greats? Endurably.

Recently Bromberg traveled to China to play in the IDF’s World Cup in Shanghai. The Yanks did good. Ray Carver, Scott Kirchner, and Randy van Deursen won singles events worth $10,000 each. Stacy? She won two singles and finished second in the third singles to Anastasia “The Russian Fox” Dobromyslova. Collected a cool $11,600. Not too Chablis. Oh yes, it was machine darts. To paraphrase either Yosemite Sam or Yukon Cornelius, “There’s gold in them-thar machines.”

Phil Taylor knows all too well how difficult it is to stay on top. With his loyal “Philistines” singing their baby hearts out about “Walking in a Taylor Wonderland” Taylor has battled on. The voices of doom have grown louder recently. It didn’t look good for the Players Championship Finals especially if one looked at the run up. Taylor went to Barnsley for a Players Championship event as a tune up. He lost in both finals to Dave Chisnall (6-3) and Michael “Taylor Kryptonite” van Gerwen (6-5).

For the Players Championship finals he drew into a “death group.” It included James Wade, World Champion Adrian Lewis, Simon “The Aussie Assassin” Whitlock, former world champion – the in-form Raymond van Barneveld, Dave Chisnall, van Gerwen, and for good measure Gary Anderson. A mountain that even Sir Edmund Hillary would have considered a challenge.

A brief TIME OUT here as the ODC must climb on the soapbox yet again. His cause? Eliminate anyone that types or says “OMG!” or uses the terms “incredible” or “unbelievable.” The remedy? A swift “knuckle sandwich” delivered with alacrity. With that in mind…

Simon “The Aussie Assassin” Whitlock delivered an “OMG!” performance that was so “incredible” as to be “unbelievable.”

“Shirley I jest?”

“ Nay, Nay.”

Whitlock averaged 109.54 in taking out Ronnie Baxter 10-1 – which is the best ever for a TV event. Along the way he had a pair of 11-darters. Up 7-1, Whitlock finished 122 on the bull, 170, and then the clincher of 65 with bull-3-double 6. Baxter brought a knife to the fight but Whitlock brought a Uzi.

“OMG! Incredible! Unbelievable!”

Phil Taylor played Andy Hamilton in the round of 8. Taylor to throw first…

Misses three at a double – down 0-1.

Hamilton misses bull for 121 finish which Taylor answers with a 170 and a double. Taylor moves ahead 3-1. From that point Taylor misses six doubles while Hamilton tosses a 12-darter and a 116 finish on the way to taking six on the trot. Down 7-3, Taylor again misses but Hamilton returns the favor giving Taylor a second chance that he converts.

Down 8-4 in the race to 10, Taylor finishes 105 to narrow the gap. Hamilton gets a 180 and an 84-out to move one leg from the win at 9-5. Taylor throws a 180 and finishes 102 to make it 9-6. That becomes 9-7 with an 88 Taylor close.

Then – “Taylor opens with a 180 and adds a 140, while Hamilton replies with a maximum – his seventh – to leave 60. But when Taylor misses the bull for a 122- finish, Hamilton misses a dart at tops, and Taylor lands double eight to save the game.”

At 9-9, “Taylor is first to a finish, leaving 102, with Hamilton landing a 177 to leave 46 – only for the world number one to take out 102 on double 16 to force a decider!”

“Taylor, with the throw, is again first to a finish by leaving 71 after 12 darts, and he completes an incredible comeback with treble 13 and double 16!”

Taylor would have no trouble eliminating Simon Whitlock 11-2 as Kim Huybrechts broke Justin Pipe 11-6.

Interviewed after his semi-final match Belgium’s Huybrechts (Belgium) was asked, “You’ve got to play again in your first television finals in a few hours, what will you do’ till then?”

“I don’t know, I’ve never been in this position before.”

Taylor and Huybrechts were tied at 6 when the Belgium just flat ran out of gas. Taylor scooped up the £60,000 first prize after as 11-6 win.

Next up is the £1 million Ladbrokes World Championships kicking off December 14 and running through January 1 with a Christmas break. This year, besides bundles of cash, the players will be competing for the Sid Waddell trophy. A great tribute to a great man.

The World Championships can be viewed on Justin TV via your computer. North American fans can catch John Part when he tackles Joe Cullen on Friday December 15th. The show, starting at 11:00 am West Coast Time, will feature not only Part but also Phil Taylor. The USA’s Darin Young first toes the oche on Wednesday the 19th, probably about 3:00 pm in the west.

Ah yes, holiday darts from the Motha Country. An early present for all!

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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