Column #HR136 Get well soon, Katie Hopkins!

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Column HR136
Get well soon, Katie Hopkins!

As the Old Dart Coach was on his yearly tour of Thailand and Philippines – this year called “The best Go-Go’s that play YMCA” and subtitled “Look’n for Love in All the Wrong Places” –  his dear friend Kate Hopkins underwent heart bypass surgery in Sacramento.  Updates from her husband, Donald – who everyone but his Mom and the ODC call Hoppy – inform that she is doing well and looking forward to three months rehab.  Looking forward to “three months rehab” – consider the alternative.

It’s no wonder she needed a bypass, as although only four foot nothing – and that standing on three New York City phone books – she has the heart of a giant.  Besides being a dear friend, she also was one hell of a darts player.  Twice she represented America internationally.  In the 1986 Pacific Cup with  Kathy Karpowich, Tony “I’m a” Payne, and Lenny Heard they won the first overall gold.  Kate is known to some as the doubles partner of Sandy Reitan, for playing mixed with John Kramer, and trips with JK and Dick McGinnis.  She survived darts despite being a pal and sometime traveling partner of the ODC.

Here is some stories about Kate, from the yet unpublished ODC book, One Night I Was Out Drinking With the Fat Swede

At the wedding of Sandy and Andy, the ODC noticed when talking with her that she was looking at him eye level.  Looking down, he noticed that (Kate) not only was wearing a skirt but also platform shoes that elevated her.  The ODC, always the gentleman, remarked…

“You’re floating like a Hover Craft.”

From thereon, Kate would be “HC”.

Kate used to work horses at the racetrack, sharing a love of horse racing with the ODC that included betting.  In 1985, the duo was in Cleveland at Kentucky Derby time.  They both liked a horse named “Tanks Prospect.”  They bet him.  He ran 7th.  After the race, it was discovered that the horse had trouble breathing.  A hole had opened in his throat.  So when he ran in the Preakness (the duo were then in N’awlins) it made no sense to bet a horse with a hole in its throat.  At the OTB, they bet on a horse that ran last.  Tanks Prospect?  Second.  The following week they were in Dallas during the Indy 500.  Someone was taking bets.  The ODC asked Kate…

“Who should be bet on?”

“None of them.  We’ll end up killing them.”

Kate and the ODC played pairs only twice, once at an all-girl Tournament in Concord, California.  There were extenuating circumstances…

A dozen of the ladies from Southern California made the drive north, basing their assault at the Rancho de Reed in Martinez.  They arrived in the wee hours of the morning – of course, this called for adult beverages.  About 4:30 a.m., only the ODC and Kate were still discussing strategy, as the others had gone to bed.

One lady, Anne Maheux (pronounced “may-hew”) did only two things that weekend –  sleep and play darts.  In fact, she got enough sleep for Kate and the ODC combined.  As the ODC hadn’t met her and didn’t know her name, possibly due to over training, he called her Sleepy.  She’s still around – and known as Anne “Sleepy” Kramer.

Oh, by-the-way, Kate and the ODC lost first round – at the all-girls tournament!

The old Golden Gate Classic (now history) was unique in that they didn’t have a Friday night Blind Draw.  That opened the door to Joe Klingensmith at Chris’s Club in Vallejo.  His blind draw put visitors in one hat and locals in another for the draw.  “I don’t do blind draws” Kate (the #2 player in America at the time) was convinced to play by the ODC.   She reluctantly entered as a visitor.  When the local pool came up one player short the “I don’t play blind draws ’cause I don’t want to draw someone like myself” ODC, entered.

The ODC and Kate were drawn as partners and faced a first round match against a local who was wheelchair bound.  When playing, he would use hand crutches, hobble to the oche, throw his darts with crutches in one hand, and then retrieve them.  The dart room at Chris’s had about 15 boards with picnic tables and benches for socializing.

With the match tied and maybe 30 or 40 people watching, the ODC noticed that when the handicapped player hit a big score one of his crutches was over the oche.  Being a sportsman, the ODC immediately called “CRUTCH FAULT!” – which the match official ignored, but the crowd didn’t, one of them saying…

“He called a crutch fault on a cripple.”  Many said other things.

When Kate and the ODC lost, Kate, being a gentlewomen, shook hands, gave the ODC the look of death, and headed to the “L-shaped” bar.  As she sat at the empty bottom of the “L” and when the ODC approached and started to say something he was abruptly told, “Don’t say a word.”    They were shortly joined by the Grand English Dame of Darts, the late Lil Coombs, her playing partner Dave McElvaney, World Masters Champion Sonja Rolphs, and a lady who would soon to be a propionate ADO official.

“I’ll have a shot of Cuervo Gold,” was Kate’s answer to the bartender when asked, ‘What’ll you have?”  Ms. Coombs and Rolphs, who had never tasted tequila thought that sounded like a good idea, as they were also drowning their sorrows.  The lady “soon to be an ADO executive” joined in as did David Mac.  The ODC, showing some sense for a change, opted for Schnapps.  When the group had drunk the bar out of 1800, and the owner made a visit to the liquor store for reinforcement, the ODC made his exit.  As he left the “soon to be ADO official” was crawling around the bar on all fours being ridden cowboy-style by Rolphs.

At last report, Kate is on the mend with her bigger-than-life heart now working full speed ahead. Her recovery will probably not be as long as those that took part in “The Night of Tequila.”

The ODC’s book has not been published (the publisher said, “Your books sucks!).  For the sum of just $10 and a promise never to reveal the contents to anyone, you can, however, have your very own copy emailed by contacting either the ODC or Dartroid’s World.  This special offer is available only because the ODC finds that his tour of Go-Go’s is costing more than expected.

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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