Column #HR164 Truth and Consequences

Monday, April 11, 2016
Column HR164
Truth and Consequences  

From the early 1940s to 1988, either on radio or TV, was a quiz show called Truth or Consequences. Contestants were asked “zany” questions which they invariably failed to answer. So they paid the consequences.  The host and creator was the late Ralph Edwards, followed by Bob Baker among others. Many loved it when Barker got knocked on his pompous ass by Happy Gilmore – played by Adam Sadler – in the 1996 movie, strangely enough called Happy Gilmore. Hollywood at its creative best.

Then there’s Truth or Consequences, New Mexico which in 2012 had a population of 6,411. The headline of this column has nothing to do with either.

In today’s politically correct world if you tell the “Truth” you will pay the “Consequences.”

Political “leaders,” (the term is used loosely), are so PC that when Muslims kill 203 people (Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino and Ford Hood) they call the killers everything but what they are. F’in Muslim killers.

Not a politically correct dart humorist, “The Oz from Aus” penned the following:

“I went to see a Muslim tribute band last night at a mosque in Melbourne. They were called Bomb Jovi and I thought they were brilliant. They performed songs like Losing my Head Over You, Rocket Launcher Man, and You’re Sixteen, You’re Beautiful, and you’re Mine. Their last song, Living on a Prayer Mat, almost brought the house down! Then this Muslim bloke started bragging about how he had the entire Koran on DVD. I was interested, so I asked him, ‘Can you burn me a copy?’ Well that was when the trouble started. Those assholes have no sense of humour!”

The “You’re Sixteen…” line, Shirley, was a tribute to a goat, camel or sheep.

In sport, the PC crowd has taken over to the point that athletics have become more bland than a discussion of darts cricket strategy. “Hit triples,” is the best strategy.  PC is not big in darts although certainly there’s enough “touchy-feely crap” to go around. Some tell it like they perceive it. “Perception is reality.”  David Fatum and  Greg Evans are two – neither speak from self-interest, which itself rare in darts.

It’s a given truth that when Nike Golf (which almost didn’t exist) signed up Tiger Woods, who followed basketball’s Michael Jordan into the Nike family, Nike became a major player.  The argument can be made that in the Golden Age of Darts Nicky Virachkul, Connie Daniels and Dick McGinnis carried the Accudart brand, with Jerry Umberger, Ricky “The Hammer” Ney and John Kramer for Bottelsen, Kathy Karpowich for Fansteel, and Sandy Reitan for Unicorn.

In England, Unicorn had both John Lowe and the late Barry Twomlow, with others. Eric Bristow, as the “Crafty Cockney,” was Harrows Darts.

All these alliances had one thing in common: both parties benefitted. In today’s darts environment Phil Taylor got just south of $5 million to move from Unicorn to Target. Sponsorships work because players want to  “Be like Phil.”

For years, the ODC used a “John Lowe” type dart made by the late Bill Nichol, Sr. Did he all of a sudden play like John Lowe. Nope. He played like Jim Lowe, a one-hit wonder with the 1956 hit song, Green Door.  Later Mr. Lowe, the singer, would be overshadowed by the release of the first big porn movie, Behind the Green Door, starring Marilyn Chambers, Johnny Keys and Oakland Raider footballer “Big” Ben Davidson. Just a coincidence that the ODC went to junior college with the Mitchell brothers who produced the movie. But nothing overshadowed Mr. Lowe the dart player, even with ODC using a similar dart.

The ODC had the pleasure of playing league darts with some truly good players. Ron Beach, Gerald Verrier, Tom Carroll and Jack Radigan to name a few.  It’s funny – when tournaments came around these guys were always booked to partner with others. Had they told the truth they would have paid the consequences.

During league play one evening in Fairfield, California, the ODC couldn’t buy a double. After using every swear word known to man and women, the ODC said to Ron Beach, “Here, you throw these f’in darts and teach them how to hit doubles.” He failed.

Today’s market for the sale of darts-related products are new players. New players play soft tip.  The “big” names of North American steel darts are as unknown to them as an understanding of  the working of the female mind.

Back to David Fatum and Greg Evans. Both men are honest to a fault, never shy about voicing their opinions. Fatum is a really good player living in Phoenix. There are times when he’s been described on the oche as a “jerk.” All really good players have that gene swimming in their pool and some bad players also.  The ODC to name one.

Fatum posted (slightly edited) the following on sponsorship, “How to get sponsored? A true 3-times world champion has no sponsorship deal. We devalue ourselves as players when all we want is a shirt. There will never be room for a professional game. Free supplies and shirts is not sponsorship.”

The guess is that the 3-times world champion he’s referring to is John Part, who is segueing into a career in the commentary booth where he will be a champion. Mr. Fatum does though make an error in supposing that steel darts in America might ever be professional.

Greg Evans always gets to the heart of the matter (again, slightly edited). “I equate it to people wearing flag shirts – Don’t Tread on Me flags, army, navy, air force, marines, coast guard… and people wearing fatigues with medals and patches they never earned… or people pushing pathetic Go Fund Me appeals because they ‘try really hard.’ Just be happy with your participation trophy and show your kids and friends.”

The truth is that no dart shirt, flight or dart will make you a better player. Once you’ve learned the basics “it’s up to you.” Want get better? Use the advice a young person on the streets of New York got when he asked a local…

“How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”

“Practice, practice, practice.”

One recent day, the ODC was joined for the afternoon cocktail hour by two Swedes. They were enjoying a chat and a few refreshing beverages at Harry’s Bar on Soi Diana.  Mr. “S,” looking across the ODC, said to Mr. “L”…

“You’ve been drinking all day.”

After a sip of his Heineken – that’s what Swedes drink – Mr. “L” replied…

“That is of no consequence to you.”

Truth with no Consequence.

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.