Column #456 The ‘Toid is in a Slump!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Column 456
The ‘Toid is in a Slump!

Another year has ended.  Another New Year has begun…

…and the ‘Toid is in a slump…

With all the excitement of the world steel and soft-tip championships, recent visits to darts bars in Manila, Santa Barbara, Cape Cod, Bethesda, Dallas-Ft. Worth and St. Augustine – one would think I could write for pages…

Sixteen-times world champion was shocked silly and sent packing from the PDC world championship by world youth champion Michael Smith.  There’s a story there.  Darin Young showed his class in a losing battle against Mervyn King.  There’s a story there.  The Filipinos set the soft-tip world on fire, yet again (congratulations Lourence Ilagan), but unfortunately Eduardo Santos was unable to represent his country at Ladbrokes (lucky for Colin Osborne, and probably others). Yep, more stories.

John Kuczynski (speaking of class acts) raised $30,000 more for Toys-for-Tots – bringing his six-year fundraising total to well over $100,000.  Another story.  New author Anne Kramer and Sharon Butler continued to keep Facebook in business – as did proud father, Rocky Wilcox – who let the world know via Facebook 3,602 times (just yesterday) that his son Steven qualified to compete in the 2014 Youth World Masters (great job Steven and good luck). Only Scott Wollaston posted more frequently – to let the world know he met a lady.

The past few months I have been preoccupied on two fronts…

I have been working with Kelly “Rags” Ragland – the best darts website developer out there (ask Kuczynski and George Silberzahn) – to upgrade the Dartoid’s World site.  This is the result.  Contact Rags to have him help you.

I have also been back at the practice board in preparation for the Las Vegas Open/Fleetwood Memorial later this month.  I will be partnering with the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed, in open doubles.  The ODC and I will step to the line at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 25th, and can probably be found at the bar by 10:15.

Although I didn’t find much time to write, I did find time to make (actually steal) some New Year’s Resolutions.  I am pretty sure I can stick with all of them and, really, isn’t that the point?  You may want to try them too.

  • Forget past mistakes and press on to make greater mistakes.
  • Don’t waste time learning.
  • Take every disappointment as a reason to give up.
  • Don’t let anything get in the way of eating a 16-inch pizza.
  • Take time to think about working out every day..
  • Stop being concerned about what could go wrong and just focus on butts.
  • Maybe gain ten pounds.
  • Read more takeout menus.
  • Don’t spend too much time wearing pants.

Then I went digging.  I needed a column.  I knew that once upon a time I wrote something that seemed appropriate for the first day of a New Year.  I found it – my 82nd column published January 1, 2000.  Except for another decade and a half not much has changed…

My plans for welcoming the New Millennium were set twenty-six years ago in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In fact, when the beer ran out and as the sun began to cast its glow across the snow on the first morning of 1974, my roommates and I took the opportunity to plan our entire lives. We then scarfed down some cold pizza and threw up.

Bob Muir was going to make millions after he graduated, passed his CPA exam and became a Partner with Price Waterhouse. Tim Mace wasn’t particularly planning on graduating – the way he had it figured a diploma wasn’t a prerequisite for becoming a touring tennis pro. Ken Ver Duin (“VD” we called him) was going to marry his high school sweetheart, Patty, and dip into his trust fund to buy a house on a lake, a fast car and have a family. Paul “Poncho” Villavicencio was going to move back to his native Venezuela, marry a pretty girl, and return some day as a member of the foreign service.

And me – I was going to follow in the footsteps of my hero at the time, Richard Nixon, and run for Congress. Then, once we had all made our mark on the world, we were going to reunite for one last New Year’s Eve blowout. Tonight. December 31, 1999. The mother of all parties.

Sadly, as with so many things in life, our plans just didn’t work out.

My relationship with Bob has been strained ever since the day I sent him the video “Deep Throat” for a wedding present. He says his wife doesn’t appreciate my sense of humor.  Go figure. It doesn’t matter though – Bob is now a partner with Price Waterhouse Coopers in Houston. He’s got millions.

Ken married Patty, bought the house, several fancy cars and had a big family. When he isn’t fishing he manages his trust.

Tim’s life has been a mystery since 1976 when he got kicked off the tennis team for skipping practice to drive to Notre Dame to watch Adrian Dantley play basketball. The last I heard, he was stringing tennis racquets at a country club somewhere in the Miami suburbs.

Poncho ended up hitched to some beauty queen from Wisconsin and has a dream job with Oscar-Meyer. Basically, he sells hot dogs.

And me – well, I just didn’t know that girl was fourteen years old.

Seriously, my problem was that I couldn’t raise the two million dollars required to get elected. So now, I write a column that no one reads about a sport that gets no respect.

Actually, I am quite content with the course my life has taken. I’ve got a great wife. A great kid. Great dogs. A house. A couple of cars. Four dart boards. Six sets of darts. There’s beer in the refrigerator. Well, there was a few hours ago. Somebody broke into the house and stole it. Bastards.

Still, as I sit here at my laptop and as the final minutes of the 20th Century slide into history, I can’t help but reflect. That’s what you’re supposed to do on New Year’s Eve. That, get blotto and moon strangers. Make resolutions. And predictions.

My old buddies and I traveled different paths but I am happy with where mine has taken me. I’d be bored in Congress, though probably not as bored as Bob is with his wife. I don’t enjoy hooking innocent fish. Tennis makes me sweat. And while I have to admit that I do love hot dogs, I find that Oscar-Meyer has just a tad too many snouts, lips and hair follicles squeezed into their particular brand of intestines. So I wouldn’t trade places with Poncho either.

As I contemplate the coming year, there are however, some people’s shoes I wouldn’t mind stepping into for a day or so.

I would absolutely slip on Phil Taylor’s for a tournament or two just to pick up some cash, but not forever – life as a Brit can be pretty boring on July 4th. I’d squeeze into Wade Wilcox’s size fives for a moment so I could confirm the rumor that it’s the kickin’ beat of Randy Newman’s “Short People” he grooves to on his headphones while he shoots. I’d give Ray Carver’s footwear a go – I mean, really, the guy dated Jess Nichol. He’s got something figured out. And at least for one night I’d buckle into good ‘ole Bucky Backalec’s sandals so I could experience the joy of actually seeing a quark and talking to God.

Next there are the resolutions and predictions.

I resolve to spend more time with my wife – to achieve this I will reduce my nights out throwing darts from five to four, or maybe I’ll just take her to the bar with me.

I resolve to drink less Budweiser by switching to Coors.

I resolve to chalk more often. Oh screw that.

I resolve to be sensitive and politically correct in all that I write and do. To accomplish this I will jettison the words “whore,” “bullshit” and “scum, sucking bastard” from my vocabulary. Oh, screw that too.

Finally, just as my roommates and I did a quarter of a century ago, I must look into the crystal ball. Unfortunately, the big apple ball in Times Square is but moments from dropping. I therefore, just do not have the time required to fully consider what my life and my darts will be like in the year 2525. Besides, Zager and Evans already wrote a whole song about this. Scum sucking bastards.

So what I will do is take one dart in my hand. I will step to the line just to the other side of the room in which I am writing. The possibilities for a bright, or not so bright, future range from 60 to a big fat zip. Are you with me? Here we go…

Okay. I’m at the line. I’m ready.

The ball is dropping… we’re seconds from the New Millennium (or 2014 as the case may be). A brand new slate. League’s startin’ up again in a few days. The future’s gonna be mine, baby.

I set.

I stroke.

Release…

Oh shit.

Yep, things definitely don’t bode well for Howie and me.  See you at the bar in Vegas.

From the Field,

Dartoid

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Dartoid
Author of the column that since 1995 has been featured by Bull’s Eye News, the American Darts Organization’s (ADO) Double Eagle and numerous other darts publications and websites around the globe.