Column #HR93 “What a difference a day makes.” 24 little hours… and an era passes.

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Column HR93
“What a difference a day makes.” 24 little hours… and an era passes.

Prophetic or pathetic, work on this effort began with quotations (and nicknames) as the centerpiece…

From “The Bard” Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet): “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell so sweet.”

From the “Gay Old Bag” Gertrude Stein (and speaking of roses): “A rose is a rose.” She also wrote of Oakland: “There is not there… there.”

From the National Weather Service – a warning for Las Vegas: “It will be hot.” No shit Dick Tracy. Desert? June? Hot? Really?

But then the ODC’s phone rang…

“You said the UK Open started today! I can’t get it on my computer! Why?”

The ODC leaped into action. With the patience of Job he explained that sometimes Justin TV is a little slow getting up to speed. “Let me give it a try.”

No darts on the computer. WTF? “Call me back.”

The ODC found a Facebook post: “It’s 108 degrees in Vegas (didn’t need the National Weather Service) but I don’t care because I’m watching the UK Open inside.”

A quick question to the Facebook person… and the reply: “Justin TV doesn’t stream darts anymore. You have to subscribe to the PDC LIVETV.”

The phone again… “Well?” asked the caller.

“Here’s the deal. Justin TV’s no longer allowed to stream PDC darts. You can subscribe to PDC LIVE TV for $7.77 per month or $77.70 per year.”

“WTF?”

“The PDC is trying to maximize revenue. Look at it this way – maybe in a month or so with Fox Sport coming online August 8 and the tie-in between them and SKY TV, PDC darts will be on TV in North America.”

“Yea… F’em!” Silence.

Hmm. “They just might be “penny wise and pound foolish.” (Another quote – the words of Robert Burton (1577-1640).

Then an unsolicited email…

“Unbelievable PDC decision… sounds like egos and stupidity are taking over again. Seen them before have we not?”

Yep. The ODC had an Internet company interested in providing PDC darts on stream. He asked one of the PDC’s North American “representatives” for contact information – and he’s still waiting for an answer. No wonder machine darts are kicking ass in the USA.

To relieve the pressure of this PDC black cloud the ODC adjourned to his favorite local, The Sporting Chance. He was well prepared with a fresh haircut (“None off the top please – I’m working on my comb over.”), showered and shaved and armed with three Victoria Secret Multi Ben Mascara Pencils he hoped to trade for some TLC.

The flashing-eyed Latin charmer, Sandra, drew a pint of Mensa fluid. By the third pint the ODC was ready to make his move, “Say Sandra how’d you like three Victoria Secret Multi Ben Mascara Pencils for a little cuddle?”

Ring up: “No sale.”

Some days are like that.

Prior to the UK Speedy Hire UK Open Peter ‘Snake Bite’ Wright said (here comes another quote), “His time is over.”

His? Michael van Gerwen (whose lack of a nickname was to be part of the focus of this column). The ODC calls van Gerwen “Mercurial Michael” leaving “Marvelous” and “Magnificent” on the table for those more oblivious and less creative.

From Phil Taylor (yep, another quote) “I’m coming for van Gerwen. I haven’t been taking care of business. Now I am.”

van Gerwen had won 10 on the trot and was the overwhelming favorite to make it 11. The UK Open is called the “FA Cup of Darts” which means “F All” to North Americas.

“Rocket” Ronnie Baxter has built a successful darting career by ignoring the coaching insights of the ODC. In the UK Open he would fall in the quarters to Raymond van Barneveld 10-9. Down 0-3, Baxter stormed back to lead 7-4. Barney would then lead 9-8 when Baxter, behind a T80, would toss just 8 more to level 9 only to miss one at 16 for the match.

“I’m delighted to win such a great game,” said Barney. “Ronnie was awesome, he played some fantastic darts and it was probably one of the best performances of his career.”

Taylor had the chance to replace words with action against van Gerwen in the quarters. Taylor, after losing the first leg, built leads of 3-1 and 5-3 only to miss three at double 11 to fall into a tie at 6. “Power On ” then as Taylor built a 9-6 lead. van Gerwen got it to 9-7 with a 13-darter. It could have been 9-8 but “Mercurial Michael” wasted 140, 140 and 125 by missing three at d18. Taylor used three to erase van Gerwen with d4. Quality? Taylor averaged 106.56 to van Gerwen’s 101.67.

Old “Snake Bite” eliminated a fading Adrian Lewis 10-6 to set up a semi against Taylor who opened a can of “WA” winning 10-5 while averaging 106.84.

On the other side of the draw Raymond van Barneveld shared the oche with Andy Hamilton. Barney would lead 1-0 only to fall behind 1-3. A nice rally got Barney even at 4, then into a 5-4 lead with a 13-darter. Hamilton, aided by a couple of missed doubles and a 132-check, ran off 4 on the trot for an 8-5 lead. Barney pulled even at 8 despite double trouble. The match leveled again at 9. Barney missed 6 darts at a double while Hamilton missed only 2 so it’s Hamilton who moved into the final 10-9.

The final should have invoked the “mercy rule.” Andy Hamilton took leg one in 14 darts and was even up at 2 only to get drilled 11-4. It was vintage Taylor with an average of 107.04, checks of 106, 121, 167 and 11 of 19 finishing darts – and, oh yes, he broke Hamilton’s throw on 5 occasions. To Taylor another major and £40,000.

The latest nickname in the ODC’s world is “Not Yet” as applied to good friend and manager/agent David Brook. Lately Mr. Brook appears at the top of each column as Island Lager Sports Bureau. As if the ODC’s world hadn’t been shaken, not stirred, enough the following message arrived…

“As someone who will be familiar with the writings of Lewis Carroll you will recall these words (from “Through the Looking Glass – 1871)…”

The time has come, the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes, and ships, and sealing-wax
Of cabbages and kings

And so it was announced that the Island Lager Bar in Patong Beach, Thailand was closing after 13 years of operation. For far longer the sport of darts has had no better friend than Mr. David “NY” Brook. Introduced to the American darting community in the late 1980s when he accompanied his friend John Lowe to the North American, it was Mr. Brook’s generous infusion of dollars that allowed his club, The Royal Hawaiian All Star Drinking Team, to donate money each year to many charities including the Special Olympics.

If the late Barry Twomlow taught the world how to play darts – and he did – then David Brook taught the world of darts how to have fun. At the Island Lager you were always welcome with the philosophy being, “You may arrive as a stranger… but you will always leave as a friend.”

The Island Lager’s Wall of Fame contained photos of the great, the near great and just fun folks. In the world of darts there are pubs throughout the world that feel like home. With the closing of the Island Lager one of those is gone. For the ODC, he’s lost one of the two places in the world where he could sing his baby heart out while dancing to YMCA.

An era has passed.

On the bright side Mr. Brook will have more time to edit the ODC’s book, find a publisher and generate an international book signing tour. The ODC suspects he may soon receive an email reading, “NOT YET!”

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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