Column #HR94 “We celebrate the 4th because we got rid of the likes of you!”

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Column 94
“We celebrate the 4th because we got rid of the likes of you!”

The cry rang throughout the land…

“The British are coming! The British are coming!”

Most can identify the loudmouth as Paul Revere immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.”

Paul’s horse?

“Brown Beauty.”

The Continental Congress voted to toss out the Brits on July 2, 1776. The Declaration of Independence was signed two days later on July 4th. This year American celebrates her 237th birthday.

Her? Of course we’re a “her.” And we’re always right and never forget.

The nation celebrates with fireworks, hot dogs, beer, baseball and lots of patriotic music by the likes of John Philip Souza. Good stuff all.

During the Golden Age of American Darts the cry “The British are coming” also echoed, maybe not throughout the land but certainly throughout the darting community. It signalled the arrival of the marauding mercenary British dart players of both genders – there were only two then. They arrived in droves to loot the local populace of money, pride and for males many times their women. Crafty bastards those Brits.

It was the era “BT” – before Taylor – when the likes of Lowe, Bristow, George, Anderson, Wilson, Whitcomb and Lazarenko laid waste to the Colonists. They did so at The Golden Gate Classic, LA Open and the North American. America wasn’t unarmed. We had the likes of Umberger, Ney, Virachkul, Heard, Daniels, Kelly, Kramer, McGinnis, Dean, Valletto and of course the ODC. We were just overwhelmed (the ODC because of his column).

When the Declaration of Independence was signed the most popular flag of the new nation was the Gadsden. It featured a coiled snake with the words underneath, “Don’t Tread On Me.” The message was abundantly clear.

“Jack with me Union Jack and suffer the consequences.”

On the PDC trail there’s one Peter Wright. Nickname? “Snakebite.” He will coil, strike and bite with astonishing suddenness. His bite is sometimes fatal. Wright is known for his red-green-yellow-purple hair – all at once – and his darts should be feared.

At the UK Open Wright jumped to an 8-1 lead before putting Adrian Lewis out 10-6. Wright would lose in the semis to eventual winner Phil Taylor but then so did everyone else. At the next PDC Players stop in Crawley, Wright took home the £10,000 prize with a 6-1 pasting of a “in form” Wes Newton. Day 2 at Crawley was all Michael van Gerwen as he won his 6th Players Championship of the year with a 6-1 win over UK Open finalist Andy Hamilton. For van Gerwen this was his 12th win of the year – with earnings of over £100,000 in just tour events alone. van Gerwen could be uttering the words of Father Guido Sarducci,

“Jaas… this sport bean good to me!”

A Paul Revere-type on the Isle of Gibraltar? If so, “Shirley” he was crying out,

“The British are coming! The British are coming!”

They came, they saw and they conquered at the £100,000 Gibraltar Darts Trophy event. For the uninitiated – or those that just don’t give a rats posterior – this event is part of the European Tour where locals get to fight like hell to make the main draw.

Then on Day One the four locals get the “stuffing” kicked out of them by touring pros.

Phil Taylor opened with a 6-2 trouncing of local Gino Vos in a match where Taylor averaged 115.31 with four 11-darters. Not too Chablis. Welcome to the PDC.

The first round was pretty much “business as usual” with the exception of a 9-dart finish by Ross Smith against Adrian Lewis. Smith got level at 5 but lost the decider when Lewis tossed a 13-darter for the 6-5 win. In the round of 16 Lewis got a nice 6-4 win over Jamie Caven which might have been a indicator that Lewis was back on track after a miserable stretch of events.

In the round of 8 Lewis would squeak out a 6-5 win derailing van Gerwen’s hope for a third European title this year. Lewis held a 3-nil lead but then missed two match darts as van Gerwen forced a decider. With the throw Lewis used only 13 darts for the 6-5 win.

Lewis then faced rookie Jamie Lewis in the semi finals. As has been the case during Lewis’s decline he missed doubles. With the match level Lewis missed double tops, d10 and d5 forcing him to exit stage right as a 6-5 loser. Jamie Lewis used only 13 darts for the “W” to earn is place in the finals.

Meanwhile, Taylor cruised into the finals 6-2 over Dave Chisnall.

The final was all Taylor 6-1. In Taylor’s six wins on the weekend he lost only 7 games. Jamie Lewis collected his biggest payday of his career (£10,000) as Taylor added a nifty £20,000 to his bank account. Like he needs it. This was Taylor first European Tour win since last June in Berlin.

It would have been refreshing if Taylor had quoted Mark Twain after his win by saying,

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Instead he probably said,

“I’m over the moon with this win. It means a lot to me.”

During the “Golden Age” there always seemed to be a 4th of July tournament somewhere. One year West Palm Beach played host at the PGA West Golf Course. Following a day of arduous play a refreshing beverage was not only called for but in order.

The Old Dart Coach found himself “shoulder-to-shoulder” with the late Barry Twomlow. As mentioned in a prior column, Twomlow taught the world to play darts but more importantly how to have fun. Always trying to score a point with Barry the ODC gave it the old college try…

“So Barry. Tomorrow, as you may know, is the 4th of July which is a big holiday here in America. Possibly a big event in England too. Do you celebrate the 4th of July in England?”

“We do. Each year it’s one of our biggest holidays.”

“You celebrate the 4th of July in England? You celebrate having your butts tossed out of America?”

“No. We celebrate the 4th because we got rid of the likes of you!”

Can’t argue with logic. 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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