Column #HR87 Whining, excuses and ‘splainin’

Monday, March 11, 2013
Column HR87
Whining, excuses and ‘splainin’

There’s a fine line between whining, making excuses and explaining. The ODC doesn’t whine or make excuses – he explains. Back in the day he would explain…

Albuquerque? The lighting is so bad that miner’s helmets with lights should be included with your entry fee.

Lake Tahoe? Thin air.

Portland? Sprained ankle.

Pattaya? A sore wrist injured in a fall off the sidewalk while checking out some of the local talent.

Then there was always the lack of aiming fluid and/or group tightener. Never too much.

Whining? Making excuses? No he was just ‘splainin’ – like Desi to Lucy. The difference? It’s in eyes of the beer holder. That suggests that popping a nice cold one may help reading what follows…

Whining, excuses and ‘splainin’ reach a new level when it comes to discovering the reason a champion falls from the mountain top. Here darters and golfers have a lot in common, with some differences.

Darters have been stereotyped as having bar mentalities… blue collar, shot and a beer, unshaven-long haired lugs – or lugeses as the case may be – with the ability to fix anything mechanical while dining on happy meals and being bum fuddled by the white collar world.

Golfers? They are white wine-drinking, quiche-eating, NPR-listening types with barely the ability to put gas in their cars but who move about the white collar world with ease.

There’s Tiger Woods. His fall? He blames numerous injuries (real and imagined), his swing and bad luck. Heck anyone with half a brain knows his fall started with a 6-iron. The 6-iron that ex-wife Swedish beauty Elin Nordegren used to conk his coconut one Thanksgiving night.

To digress for a moment… the ODC just finished watching the Swedish movie version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” In the climactic scene Lisbeth uses a 6-iron to beat the beetle juice out of the bad guy. That begs the question, What is it with Swedish girls and 6 irons?

Golfers Sergio Garcia and Rory Mcllroy can blame women’s tennis. Both dated world #1’s. Garcia dated Martina Hinges and Mcllroy dated Caroline Wozniacki. Baseball player Robbie Alomar could be tossed into the mix as he probably plays golf. He dated French #1 Mary Pierce, she of the bodacious ta tas. His batting average went from .323 to .260 while they were doing the horizontal tango.

Darter Eric Bristow got “dartitis” – which is the inability to release a smooth dart and hit a meaningful double. When he faltered there was Phil Taylor to step in. John Part is a three time world champion. When he faltered there was Phil Taylor to fill in.

Part may be on the way back. He took a giant step when he annexed the UK Masters last Sunday at the Butlins Minehead Resort. This was Part’s first win since a Players Championship event in Canada in August 2011. With the 6-4 win over unknown Stuart Kellett comes £20,000. To reach the final Part took out Adrian Lewis 6-2. Part’s comeback road may have become a freeway.

That brings us to two-time world champion Adrian Lewis. His play in the Premier league was horrid as was his World Cup experience. He looked to be in a slide. That changed in week 5 of the Premier League when he got his first win over Michael van Gerwen. Lewis followed that up with the 6-2 loss in the UK Masters to John Part.

Lewis has gone through bad stretches before. This bumpy road started at the 2013 PDC World Championships. He blew two match darts against van Gerwen. Afterwards Lewis said that he had “blocked the bed with his first dart.” Replays show he had enough room in the double for 6 pints. Whining, excuse or ‘splainin’ – as there’s no female tennis player involved it could be any of the above.

Should Lewis fall, waiting in the wings is van Gerwen. That’s if Phil Taylor decides to abdicate. van Gerwen is the current flavor of the PDC year. At the first stop of the PDC Champions Tour, van Gerwen won both Saturday and Sunday for the sweep and £12,000. Only three players have ever completed a weekend double: Barney, Taylor and Lewis. The win moved van Gerwen to # 3 in the world.

To stay on top players have to learn to cope with a “new” real world. The sport needs the same. With the exception of the PDC, the entire dart world is in need of a major overall. The Lords of Darting are living in the 1900s. They reject anything that doesn’t come from their own unfertile minds. Disagree with them and get sentenced to a lifetime of writing columns.

The ADO was been doing the same thing for the last 40 years with the same results. They’ve collected dues “for the good of the sport” which is in reverse. Insanity? Maybe, if you believe what Albert Einstein said about “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

The World Dart Federation is led by a pack of weasels. They had the dart world by the cojones – had all the big names, a true international tournament and no sponsors. Why? Because it didn’t benefit their own personal agendas. Many tried to break through and were rejected with prejudice. The WDF is a really bad joke fed by unqualified egos.

The “real” world requires the ability to adapt to change. The PDC’s early ventures, run by darters, had mixed results. TV didn’t take off. Then they brought in the suits. The results are apparent. As one pro recounted, “We ought to pray 5 times a day facing Barry Hearne’s house.”

The PDC’s gets it. Their first attempt with a Premier League was a failure. The first PDC World Cup was less than expected. Did they keep doing the same thing and expect different results? No. They changed formats. The rest is history. Darting innovation can’t be left to darters. Bring in the suits.

It’s a pretty good bet that the PDC will soon hit the North American airwaves. The News Corporation is launching a new sports channel called Fox Sports1 (FS1). The man in charge is David Hill who first put the PDC on SKY. FS1 and SKY are both owned by News Corporation. Come August look for the PDC on FS1.

Just days after the FS1 announcement, the PDC and SKY agreed a new contract. “Earlier this year we committed to undertaking a review of prize money across all of our tournaments, and we’re delighted to be able to continue pushing prize money past £6 million annually,” said PDC Chairman Barry Hearn.

Can’t wait to hear of the new ADO program for youth darts. Yoots, as My Cousin Vinny pronounced it, don’t foreword the sport of darts in American. Will anything done by ADO or other North Americans bring darts to the telly? In the words of Dixon, “You’re joking.”

Kudos go to those North Americans who have tried to get the sport television exposure. But mostly they had a lot of “want to” where they lacked “how to.” They lacked a working knowledge of the white collar world in general and TV in particular.

If a break through does come it will be with machine darts. They have the players, the organization and the money. In fact, at least one person with a background in TV and advertising has proposed a plan to a machine darts operation. The reaction? The sound of silence.

Whining, excuses or ‘splainin’? It’s all in the eyes of the beer holder. So, as the ODC’s old pal The Kid use to say…

“Cowboy, everybody must believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.”

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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