Column #504 Ghosts, goblins and the ADO

Sunday, November 1, 2015
Column 504
Ghosts, goblins and the ADO  

Last night was Halloween! Or Punky Night, if you live in Somerset, England.

As we in America tossed Tootsie Rolls into sacks thrust at us by sticky little children cleverly disguised as sticky little children in sheets, across the pond in Somerset, the Brits were handing out goodies to kids wandering door-to-door as… blimey, who the hell knows? They could have been dressed up as cucumber sandwiches for all I know.

Sorry. That was unfair.  This column isn’t even about Halloween.  Actually, I haven’t decided yet what I’m writing about.  I do that sometimes.

What I’m definitely not writing about (well, maybe I am, a little) is those blighters at the American Darts Organization. They are aggravated, to put it mildly, that I have declared my candidacy for president of their monarchy.  They say I can’t run.  Maybe they also say I can’t wear blue shirts.  I don’t know.  They haven’t told me, yet.

Just for yucks, consider this. As of today’s date, there are 1,316 formally declared candidates for president of the United States.  Doubt me?  Go here:  Presidential Candidates.

But according to the ADO bylaws the number of people “qualified” to run for executive office can be counted on a couple of hands.

Who can or can’t run to head the ADO is just another on a long list of ADO-related curiosities, right up there with the Case of the Mysterious Missing Financials, the Case of the Missing Double Eagle, and the Case of How Long Will it be Before the Board Stops Hiding its Plan to Pay Steve Brown to be Office Manager.

The current president, David Hascup, says he is running for reelection (presumably on his record and plans for the future – at least that’s the usual game plan for incumbent office holders). Yet he has published no accounting of his accomplishments during the past 20 months.  He has presented no plan for the future.

So, the horror story continues. Every day is Halloween at the ADO.  They are the anti-Robin Hood.  They take money from the many and give to the few.

Last Saturday night, I attended a scary little tournament. The reason it was scary wasn’t because it lacked ADO sanction.  That made it wonderful.  In fact, it was possibly the most fun tournament I have ever attended.  It was definitely the most unusual.

For the third or fourth year running, the Glow in the Dark Steel Tip Luck of the Draw was held at Sandy Rizzo’s Down the Hatch pub in Pinellas Park, Florida (8010 49th Street North).

Rizzo’s owned the joint since the late 1980s and with 16 boards – 10 bristle and six electronic – it’s among the most popular darts establishments in the Tampa Bay area, possibly the most popular.  You can’t miss the place – it’s painted a sort of sea mist green and is fronted by six arches and parking lot with space for about a half a car.  It’s just up the road from the Pinellas County jail, sandwiched along a couple-mile section of bail bonds businesses, adult novelty stores, and strip clubs.  It’s in a safe, ritzy area of multi-million dollar homes.  You should bring your kids for a visit.

Some years ago, I threw for a team in the Hatch’s in-house league. At the same time, I also threw for a travelling team in the Bay Area Dart League.  It had been a while though so it was terrific Saturday night to renew acquaintances with one of my teammates, Lionel Eubanks – among the best shooters in Florida.  My old occasional practice partner, Ronnie Lott, was unable to make the shoot – he caught a flight out of town earlier in the day, apparently because he was afraid I’d put the whoop-ass on him.  (Ronnie has really nice hair.)  Another old teammate, Ritchie Dentine, didn’t make it.  Neither did Gina Miller – twice a teammate, in Tampa and in Virginia Beach.

It was good to see others, such as Rizzo (with whom I didn’t have a chance to speak) and her brother-in-law, Joe Virden (who with his partner, a big guy named Joker, knocked my partner “Jersey” Mark Wagenhoffer and me into the loser’s bracket). Gene Alexander, Tony Genne (aka Galactus Dartus), Steven Glass and John Beard attended, along with some 75 more (some who drove in from across the state).  Even Kerwin Lloyd planned to make the trip from Lakeland but had to work late.  He’s a beekeeper so I am not sure what “working late” entails.  Probably he didn’t show for the same reason as Ronnie Lott.  (Just kidding Kerwin!)

What was astonishing, at least to me, was to run into Lisa Hunt…

Years ago, in 2006 at a tournament in Song-tan, South Korea, I met a woman named Lil Vaughn. Years passed and I never saw her again, and never expected I would, until I walked into a shoot in Roswell, New Mexico. And there she was!  The darts world is small.

It was much the same with Hunt. We met at the Iditarod Open in Nome, Alaska in 2007.  At the time, so I was told, I was only the second person from the “Lower 49” to attend the tournament (the other was Wade Wilcox).  The tournament has since ended.  But amidst the dark and the glow the other night, there appeared Lisa – in Pinellas Park, Florida.  She’s now a Hatch regular. Yep, the world of darts is small indeed.  Lisa now owns the Eskimo Massage Parlor in St. Petersburg.

As the photo at the top of this column shows, the Glow in the Dark is exactly that. The room is blacked out, the windows are covered.  The only illumination is from black lights which make the specially painted boards, scoreboards and chalk, and other decorations (spider webs, stars, planets) glow like 1960’s psychedelic Jimi Hendrix posters.

There were giant fluorescent spiders, a guy with multicolored spiked hair a la Peter Wright, players with body paint and glowing neck and wristbands. There may have been naked Hooters girls dancing on tables but I am not sure, which is another way of saying there was lots of beer.

So yep, you threw in the dark at boards on which only where the florescent colors were painted could you clearly see where a dart landed. If you flopped one into a black pie it literally disappeared.  Well, not literally (I must be careful about my choice of words in case Ted Northrup is reading – he’s an “expert” on everything).

Anna Stocum, Shannon Charniak, David Tillery and Lee Wiess organized the event. What a damn great job they did.  For a $10 entry fee, you got to throw darts, basically blind, against others, also basically blind, while dodging giant spiders.  It was the kind of tournament that comes with built-in excuses for throwing crap darts, perfect for me.

For another $3 you could get TWO hotdogs and a bag of chips.  Where can you find a better deal than this?  At Coney Island, a Nathan’s chili cheese dog will run you five bucks (or if your name is Matt Stonie, you can eat 62 of them for free, and then puke on your shoes).

At the end of the night, it was John Beard and Vicki Boulanger who played Steven Glass and Robert Mitchell in the final. The team that vanquished me (Joe Virden and Joker) finished third.  So these guys split all the money – something like $1,000.

Everyone else left empty-handed (but thanks to the organizers and the generosity of the ADO all will receive free copies of the next issue of the Double Eagle, in 2034).

The Glow in the Dart a great tournament.  Don’t miss it next year!  Bring a spider.

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.

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