Column HR#112 The Search for the Ultimate Greek Salad

Sunday, May 4, 2014
Column HR112
The Search for the Ultimate Greek Salad

Growing up in Oakland, California there’s no logical explanation for becoming “le amour” of a Greek salad or addicted to darts. But that’s what happened to the Old Dart Coach.

Perhaps it was just in the cards…

As a college freshman a member of the ODC’s fraternity would draw wood  anticipating his toast, peanut butter, mayonnaise, and dill pickle study break sandwich. “Probably a matter of taste” for which there is no accounting.

This love affair with the Greek salad materialized during one of the ODC’s  trips to London for the Winmau World Master. It started in trendy Knightsbridge with a visit to Harrod’s to purchase a very expensive dinner shirt to go with  black slacks and a velvet evening jacket for the Gala Dinner.  Then, from the men’s department the ODC headed to the Green Man Pub to toss down  flagons of lager followed by the descend to the Grand Dining Hall where epicurean delights abound…

The American Grill caught his fancy.  Off the menu jumped the Greek salad, saying “order me… order me.” He did. And the love affair began…

For 364 days he extolled the thrilling experience of the Ultimate Greek Salad at Harrods to those that would listen and most that wouldn’t. For non-foodies a Greek salad is romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, kalamata olives, feta cheese and olive oil.

The year wasn’t 1994 – that was when Sandy Reitan won the Masters, the only Yank – male, female or declined to state – ever to reign as World Masters Champion. Some claim this was due not to darting talent but draws that screamed “we remember the tea in the harbor deal.”  No, the year was 1988 – when Bob Anderson won his second Masters title on the trot defeating Mr. John Lowe.

At the  Gala Dinner the ODC, in fancy dinner shirt and velvet jacket, was put to shame when Mr. Lowe showed up in a most expensive looking and eye-catching blue suit. While the ODC was chatting with Mr. Lowe, (and enjoying a pre-meal beverage) a gentleman and his young son approached the duo…

“Excuse me Mr. Lowe but my son and I are big fans of yours.”

Mr. Lowe, being the gentleman he is, squatted down eye level with the young boy.

“Mr. Lowe I’m very sorry you lost. I cried,” said the boy.

“Son, when you miss doubles you don’t deserve to win,” said Mr. Lowe imparting one of life’s lessons.

The ODC interrupted with, “Well you f’ing didn’t win, did you ?” (which proves that a dinner shirt from Harrods and valet jacket from Wil, Tailor to the Stars, doesn’t a gentleman make.)

The search this last month has taken the ODC to Southeast Asia. In the Philippines the ODC discovered nary a Greek salad but lots of burrito’s. The conclusion? Mexico had a greater impact on the Philippines than the Spanish who ruled from 1521-1898.

While in Angeles, Philippines the ODC learned that a “washed up” Phil Taylor beat Michael van Gerwen twice in a four day span – first in the Premier league 6-4 and then in the German Dart Masters (not to be confused with Dutch Masters, which is a cheap cigar). Along the way Taylor eliminated Dave Chisnall (6-3) and tossed a “Snyder” 6-0 on Michael Smith, who got him in the World Championship, averaging 109.98.

One might ask if the ODC ever searches for the Ultimate Greek Salad in Las Vegas? Yes. Each Thursday he meets with other sports journalists and retired professional athletics at the Main Street Station – there’s no Greek salad on the menu. Prior to this Southeast Asia trip the ODC got some advice from this assemblage, and a big time boxing guy…

“Watch out for the Ladymen. You can never tell.”

“Not a problem.”

“You can tell?”

“Sure. Easy. The Ladymen have big penises.”

In Thailand the ODC returned to the dart wars after a two year absence – playing for Yates Pub in the Pattaya “A” League. His Thursday Vegas lunch group warnings rang  like a bell as Yates Pub was next door to Stringfellows, a noted “women of the second category Go-Go.” As the ODC walked past he thought of the title song from Urban Cowboy, recorded by Johnnie Lee, as the “women of the second category beckoned.”

He won his singles and doubles hitting the winning double on both occasions. Two days later the ODC, playing for Irish Rovers, went 1-1. WATCH OUT PDC – like a “washed up” Phil Taylor the ODC has risen.

One year the ODC was accompanied to London by the late Bill Nichol Sr. and a really young Timmy Nichol. The three shared a room selected by Mr. Roger Nickson from a photo on a postcard… red carpeted steps surrounded by majestic Greek columns led to a marbled lobby.

Sadly, the hotel had none of those features (this might well have been the first case of “Photoshop.” The hotel’s only saving grace was that each morning a small plastic tray containing a cup of orange juice, a tea bag and a breakfast roll was left outside each door. Young Timmy, when returning to the room in the early morning hours, would acquire a goodly supply. Clever boy that Timmy.

The ODC led the charge into the American Grill. He was shocked to see no listing for a Greek salad on the menu. He beckoned the serving wench.

“Love,” he asked, “may I have a word with you?”

A few words of explanation here. This was the period where the ODC called all females “Love.”  Fellow darters and casual passers by labeled him “the north end of a horse going south.”   He thought he was being very clever although it did get him in some trouble at a hotel in Toronto. Having checked out after doing a dart show for promoter Ed Oliver he had forgotten to have the parking ticket validated. Returning to the front desk he finally got the attention of the “female” desk person whose hair was wound tighter than a Timex at a masturbation contest.

“Love, I have…” was as far as the ODC got before being interrupted with “I’m not your love!”

“No, and with that attitude I don’t like your f’ing chances.”

The serving wench at the American Grill was more accommodating…

The ODC explained, “I come every year all the way from San Francisco, California to the World Masters Dart Championship. The highlight of the trip is the visit to Harrod’s and the American Grill to order the Greek salad. I don’t see it on the menu.”

“Oh, you’re the one.”

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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