Column #HR99 World Cup Team: BEWARE!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Column HR99
World Cup Team: BEWARE!

Author John Steinbeck opined, the “best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.” The same is true of guys who write darts columns.

The Old Dart Coach always viewed International darts competitions as great sporting events. He fell in lust after the 1979 World Cup at the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. He and pal Ron Beach, who went on to a brilliant darting career, got in line at 7:00 a.m. to get a good seats for the finals. Those seats were 50 yards from the stage. Closer seats were for the “chosen few” which they weren’t – just two guys from the Northern California Darts League.

Nicky Virachkul defeated Welshman Kerry Morgan to take home the singles gold. The ODC and Mr. Beach scored their own gold when they hijacked a shipment of beer stalled at the escalator, destined for a beer depleted hall. It was a union deal. Each bought a case on the spot, took the escalator up, thereby immediately becoming the most popular duo in the hall. They were special now. Of course, they shared with the two English ladies that saved their seats (and those who paid). IOU’s not accepted. They may have been new to darts but they weren’t stupid.

Two years later in Nelson, New Zealand the ODC and his pal Mike Enright volunteered to assist the team of Jerry Umberger, Danny Pucillo, Wade McDonald and Nicky Virachkul as “un-appointed team managers.” The appointed team manager was tied up being “important.” In two years Enright would be the “official” team manager.

The ODC’s trip was spoiled somewhat by the fact that he got food or alcohol poisoning and had to spend Saturday either in bed or talking into the porcelain microphone. On Sunday, feeling better, he jumped out of bed looking for liquid.

He found a small corner store and purchased a small carton of milk and three cans of ice cold ginger ale. Dry as the great Gobi desert, the ODC guzzled the thirst quenching liquid in seconds. In just a few more seconds he realized that “what goes down must come up.” He deposited the contents of his stomach in a handy gutter. Then? Church bells rang. He was in front of a church looking directly into the rather angry face of a lady with her two young girls dressed in their Sunday best. “Don’t look at the horrid man girls.”

Years later, the ODC became acquainted with the mayor of Nelson, New Zealand. At the Pacific Cup in Auckland the mayor presented the ODC with a paper “Key to the City” along with the words “the lady was probably right but Matt says you’re a good guy.”

For the record, the American team of Kathy Karpowich, Kathy Hopkins, Tony Payne and Lenny Heard won that Pacific Cup for their first international win. 2K hit double 12 for the win – the same double she had missed two years prior at the Pacific Cup in Hawaii. The Splendid One came through.
Brisbane, Australia was the closest the Americans ever came to winning the World Cup. The ODC mismanaged a great ladies team of Katy Hopkins and Sandy Reitan (the latter being the defending World Cup Ladies singles champion).

The highlight of the event was the American Men’s four-person team kicking the “tea and crumpets” out of England 9-0. The Yanks with Tony Payne, the late Danny Valleto, John Kramer and Ricky “The Hammer” Ney bested John Lowe, Eric Bristow, David Lee and Cliff Lazarenko. The world stopped, the earth shook and the ODC used the one finger salute as an assessment of the Aussie fans that packed the Old Town Hall rooting for the POMS.

In fact the term “event highlight” is somewhat of a misnomer. The staff of Toeing the Oche placed the men’s gigantic win 5th or 6th on the list of “top happenings.”

The match that shook the dart world finished behind the “Pier 9 Brawl” at the hotel’s Hollywood bar (not started by either JK or the ODC). The telling punch was delivered by the BDO President in defense of the aforementioned Yanks who did nothing more than respond to a drunken Kiwi’s statement that, “This is a nuclear free zone and you f’ing Yanks are bringing nuclear subs.”

One of the Yanks answered with “f’ off” and the brawl was on. The Grand PooBah of the ADO wanted both the ODC and JK sent home. JK replaced by one of his ass kissing syncopates who just happened to be in Brisbane. The ODC by anyone. The BDO President rose to the rescue. Heck of a guy.

How different it would have been without JK. Who would have visited England’s warm-up room after each leg won with “How you like that?” or words to that effect. Oh yes, in the hotel lobby the night before when Eric Bristow was already celebrating the next day’s win it was JK that suggested he “eliminate waste up a rope.”

The preceding was just the set up for a planned in-depth pre-reporting story on this year’s WDF World Cup slated for Sr. John’s Newfoundland October 1-5. Toeing the Oche tried.

First, the research staff went to the ADO web site. There they found a photo of the team. No names or story. The site did announce a call for candidates for Area Manager. To be eligible a person must be “incumbent/past Executive Officers, Area Managers, Regional Directors, and local Association Representatives, or National Youth Managers.” Good to see that the ADO still doesn’t want unqualified persons involved. There was also a LARGE advertisement for the Las Vegas Open in January which just happens to be run by a former ADO Executive (now with the WDF) and maybe a current one. There’s no list of current ADO officers on the web site.

No problem for our crack research staff. They would just go to the “Dart Players Magazine.” Nary a word. Nada, Zip, Zero. So Toeing the Oche will have to send our team off with a hardy “fight fiercely” and a word of caution: BEWARE – the ADO and WDF will do whatever possible to “screw you up.” They look at the bigger picture. We care. Kick ass.

In regard to the “best-laid plans,” a member of England’s ladies duo in Brisbane was Ms. Sharon Kemp. Linda Batten, a ODC pal, of England would win the Ladies Singles event. Ms. Kemp had caught the eye of the “not yet old” Dart Coach. He would stop looking when he found out she had a fella in England called “Scarface.”

Rule #21: “Never eye a gal whose boyfriend is called ‘Scarface.'”

Ms. Kemp, now living in Australia, is one of the most delightful Facebook post folks. Her latest: “If anyone tells you that you drink too much… stop talking to them. You don’t need that type of negativity in your life.”

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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