Column HR#114 World Cup Reminiscings

Tuesday, June 16, 2014
Column HR114
World Cup Reminiscings

 

The words “World Cup” to sports fans conjure up dreams of capturing the Holy Grail.  The difference?  The World Cup is real.  Eyes are on the land of  “The Girl from Ipanema” as nations collide for soccer’s Holy Grail… the World Cup.

Tall and Tan and young and lovely

The girl from Ipanema goes walking

And when she passes, each one she passes

Goes “A-a-a-h” 

The breathless smoky sounds of Astrud Gilberto blended effortlessly with the guitar of Joao Gilberto and the mellow saxophone of Stan Getz to produce an everlasting image.  Oh yes, the “barley cover your whatever’s bikini” didn’t hurt either.  World Cup prediction?  USA and England are gone before the knockout round.

With less fanfare (an understatement) the Professional Darts Corporation held their fourth “PDC World Cup” at the Sporthalle in Hamburg, Germany.  There’s no Ipanema in Hamburg but there’s the Reeperbahn which is described as “die sündigste Meile” or “the sinful mile.”  With 32 all male teams it’s a good bet that some players took a stroll.

There’s also a WDF World Cup – which used to be a big deal.  The PDC version offers  £200,000 in prize money and TV coverage.  The WDF version offers nada, zip, zero.  The ODC becomes teary-eyed when he thinks of World Cups past having attended them in Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, and America.

In 1979,  in Las Vegas the not yet ODC saw a particularly lovely lass from Brazil.  Being the suave debonair – pronounced “De Boner” – bachelor he immediately set about a conquest.

“Hola.  Tu muy bonita.”  To his California Spanish this meant, “Hello you are very beautiful.”

When that drew nothing but a blank stare he tried, “Cerveza?”

Again nothing.  Finally a lady tapped him on the shoulder to explain, “They speak Portuguese in Brazil.”  Moron alert.

The 1979 World Cup saw America’s only male singles champion when the late Nicky Virachkul beat Kerry Morgan of Wales.  Stacy Bromberg (2009), Kathy Maloney (1993), Eva Grigsby (1989) and Sandy Reitan (1983) would also all win gold for the USA.  How about them gals?

Bromberg was denied a chance to defend her title.  She was banned by the “weasel-dwarf” whose a front man for the WDF.  Oh yes, the mighty ADO sat on their dead “weasel” asses.

1979  might have also been the year when a Russian, Serge (pronounced SIR GAY), brought a couple of lovely young ladies who were available for companionship.  The local Sahara girls were not amused.  The market sets the price.

The PDC World Cup was made up of teams playing singles and doubles with 16 seeds.  There was a betting bracket contest to select the willing team run by a charming lady whose named is withheld so she doesn’t have to explain why the ODC called her “charming.”  The ODC can proudly announce that he finished second a mere 2 points behind the winner.  Where did he go wrong ?  “Career choice” is not an option…

He took the #11 seed Canada (John Part & Shaun Narain) to beat Japan.  Canada led 4-2 when Narin missed tops on the end of a 135-check.  The sons of the Rising Sun hit double 5 after Part and Narin each missed three at tops for the win.  Tied at 4, the Canadian’s missed 7 darts for the match as Hashimoto took out 60 with tops.  The ODC  just completely blew the great play of Northern Ireland as they made it to the semi finals before losing to eventual champions, the Netherlands, 2-1.

Americas Darin Young and Larry Butler, a #16 seed, had little trouble dispatching Hungary 5-1 while averaging 94.15.  Next they got  #1 seed, England, who had hammered Thailand.  Larry Butler faced Phil Taylor in the first singles.  Tied at a leg each, Butler had one dart at tops to finish a 110-out but it landed just outside the wire giving Taylor a 2-1 lead in a match he’d win 4-1.

Darin Young came through like a champ as he used 12 and 14 darts, and a Adrian Lewis missed double, to open a 2-nil lead.  Lewis got one leg back when he backed 180 with a 104-finish on top.  Young broke throw to make it 3-1 and then ignored a 174 by Lewis to leave 16 (following Young’s first missed double) when he hit d10 for the match.

The doubles went to England 4-1 in a match that included a little of everything including some sloppy darts.  To open, Lewis tossed 171 to leave 24 which Taylor missed with three darts.  To grab the leg Butler need 71, failing to set up tops.  Lewis hit d6 for the leg.   In leg 2 Taylor missed a double as Young erased 60 with tops for the leg to level.  At 2-1 up England’s scoring power came into play to the point where Taylor could bust 96 – but Lewis’ d9 won the leg.  Methodically, Taylor hit d16 for the match.

According to the internet (would it lie?) it’s impossible to say “kick ass” in any language but American.  So the Netherlands team of Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld used their wooden shoes to “kick the ass” of  Adrian Lewis and Phil Taylor in the finals.  It was van Gerwen 4-0 over Taylor followed by Barney laying the “Snyder” on Lewis.  Van Gerwen sealed it with a 4-2 win over Lewis.  Lewis tossed 174 to leave 32 to tie but didn’t get a shot.  YES the ODC picked Netherlands to win.

Facebook is becoming more and more a billboard for dart talk.  During the playing of the World Cup one person posted that Paul Lim (Singapore) “walked off stage without shaking his opponents hand.”   Lim had  lost to South Africa’s Devon Peterson 4-0.  During the match Lim had missed 9 doubles (5 of them in one leg).

Consider that some players losing 4-0 and missing 9 doubles would have done the following: Tossed their darts at the wall, used their fist on the same wall finding a stud bearing weight breaking a knuckle, kicked over a table, found a three year-old birthday boy riding his new bike and knocked him to the ground, kicked a toy poodle just out of grooming walked by a dowager, told a blind guy the light was green when it was red, and let fly a string of “expletive deleteds” that would make the late Richard Pryor proud.

Without viewing the tape the ODC issued the following statement:

“Paul Lim is the standard by which all players should be judged.  He’s a true gentleman on or off the oche.  If Panda Express is America’s answer to authentic Chinese Cuisine then Paul Lim is Asia’s answer to American’s true gentleman of the boards, Jerry Umberger.  If he did walk off without the handshake no one feels worse about it than Paul Lim.  For what he’s given to the game he’s earned a “Mulligan.”

In 1991, the WDF World Cup was held in Zanvoort, Netherlands.  The ODC shared a cottage – two small bedrooms, kitchen, and a living room with a TV – which allowed watching German “free” porn – with the late BJ Clark and two good old boys from Georgia.  Wandering to the dart hall before the Friday night blind draw the ODC ran into his pal, the late Barry Twomlow.  A lager was in order.  Not the ODC’s first.  He had already coached the server that “real beer” had no head.  This after explaining he was from Canada.

Barry opined on the way to the serving place. “They put too much head on the beers.”  The ODC’s reply, “Not a problem.”

“Yes my dear, we’ll have two Canadian beers.”

“NO head?” she replied.

“Spot on,” said the ODC maybe carrying the Canadian bit a little far.

As the evening worn on the ODC and Twomlow were joined by others until there were about 300 enjoying a Friday cocktail.

Finally, it reached a point where the tournament director announced over the PA:”

Would the cocktail party mind taking a break so we can proceed with the blind draw?”

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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