Column #512 The Inaugural Darts for Charity Series – FLINT LIVES MATTER!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Column 512
The Inaugural Darts for Charity Series – FLINT LIVES MATTER! 

The bad rap dart players are often branded with is just as often well deserved. Some of us dress like slobs, act out over missed shots, drink too much, ogle women, bad mouth each other in public forums.  I am as guilty as anybody.  Perhaps worse (although I do not drink or ogle women).

What dart players just as often don’t get credit for – and the credit is well deserved –  is their good deeds, their generosity in times of need and for charitable causes that merit and so desperately rely on the support of the many.  Dart players can always be counted on to open their arms and wallets when the need is great.

John Kuczynski has been there year after year and raised tons of money for Toys for Tots. Over the past decade, Stacy Bromberg has generated just as much for Make-A-Wish.  Rob Heckman stopped his life after the 2014 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami to lead an international fundraising effort for players and their families swept up in that unprecedented tragedy.

There’s Gregg Fountaine’s Darts for Dogs, Gary Yourman’s Darts for Dreams (which to date has raised nearly $200,000), Tammy and Bob Hudzik’s Darts for Kids, and Derek Jones’ fundraisers for the Shriners. In Noel, Missouri each year at the Chicken Coop Open (for 30 years) a charity auction has generated huge sums.

There are SO many. To those I have not mentioned or am just not aware of, my apology.

Now, there is a movement to institutionalize darts philanthropy. To widely promote it.  To help people and to concurrently demonstrate to the wider public how genuine and generous darts people are.

Details are just being worked out with plans to hold an inaugural series of events across the country to benefit citizens of Flint, Michigan, who have been so severely impacted by the water contamination crisis there, a crisis that need never have happened.

FULL DISCLOSURE!  I was raised in Flint.  I consider it home.  My wife is from Flint.  My daughter was born in Flint.  I attended Whittier Junior High and was co-captain of my high school swimming team at Flint Central.  I shot pool and raced slot cars at the YMCA on East Second Street.  I hung out at Kewpee (now Halo Burger) on Saginaw.  Ate at Angelo’s Coney Island on Davison.  Loved Koegel’s hot dogs.  I saw the Temptations at Whiting Auditorium (Bill Cosby too) and Three Dog Night at the IMA.  I worked summers fixing televisions and air conditioners at Howard Johnson on Center Road.  For years, like most kids, I competed in the CANUSA Games with Hamilton, Ontario (and just a few years ago, I returned to Hamilton for the Games’ 50th Anniversary to throw darts for the Flint team).  It was a happy, innocent life.  NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS could I have imagined that all these years later the entire city would be poisoned from faucets spewing toxic water.        

Surely there is no need to go into exhaustive detail on the situation in Flint, a proud, hard working city – with a solid darts community. It’s been at the top of national news for weeks and will remain there for a long time.  It’s a monumental disaster caused by pure human negligence, covered up by politicians.  At risk of serious health problems from extremely elevated levels of lead is an entire 100,000+ population, including as many as 15,000 children.   It’s still early days, but the contamination may also be linked to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that has already claimed ten lives.

Of the crisis President Obama has said, “What is inexplicable and inexcusable is once people figured out that there was a problem there, and that there was lead in the water, the notion that immediately families weren’t notified, things weren’t shut down.  That shouldn’t happen anywhere.”

Candidate and former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is quoted, “The people of Flint deserve to know the truth about how this happened and… they deserve a solution, fast.  Thousands of children… have been exposed to lead, which could irreversibly harm their health and brain functioning.”

Former candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has commented, “It is horrific and it is related to the fact that we’ve created this complex, no-responsibility regulatory system, where the federal government, the state government, a regional government, local and county governments are all pointing fingers at one another.”

The political finger-pointing and lawsuits will go on for years.

It is the people of Flint who need help now.  The magnitude of the crisis is no less than for the tsunami or Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  In two major ways it is worse 1) it never needed to happen and 2) once it did people should have been warned.  Today it is an epic catastrophe for which some people should be sent to jail, beginning with Governor Rick Snyder.

In response to the crisis, assistance is pouring in – from the United Auto Workers, AmeriCorps, Cher, Detroit Lions’ defensive end Ziggy Ansah, Terrance Knighton and the Washington Redskins, Pearl Jam, Jimmy Fallon, Mark Wahlberg, Sean Combs, Beyoncé, Eminem, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Walmart, The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, FedEx, Aretha Franklin, Detroid Pistons’ owner Tom Gores, and many others.

And now comes the darts community…

The coordinated Darts for Charity events, most likely to be held in May, are anticipated to be just the first go at an organized annual week-long Darts for Charity Series to be conducted by a new charitable 501(c)(3) organization. The aim is to attain IRS designation prior to the second annual Darts for Charity Series in May 2017.  Each year, donations will benefit a different charity.

Donations for the first series of events to benefit Flint, Michigan residents will be run through a reputable local charity, yet to be determined (discussions are underway locally, with very careful attention being paid to the ratings of charitable oversight boards such as Charity Navigator).

As of this date, no additional information is available.

For the time being, please give consideration to how in your area an event (a simple luck of the draw perhaps) might be held to assist in this inaugural Darts for Charity Series to help those in need in Flint, Michigan.

FLINT LIVES MATTER!

Watch this space and social media for further detail in the days and weeks ahead.

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.