Column #HR166 The Old Dart Coach shocks the world!

Tuesday, May 5, 2016
Column HR166
The Old Dart Coach shocks the world!

The darting world was shaken – not stirred – to its very core recently with events that will no doubt shape the future of the game for years to come.  It made a nuclear bomb blast seem like a polite belch at a church social. As the tungsten clouds thundered their approval, a screeching was heard unlike anything since birds of a feather flocked together to echo cries of joy when feathered flights became a thing of the past.

It was the Second Coming, the 12th Imam; it was the maraschino cherry on the top of a hot fudge sundae. The Old Dart Coach returned to the darting wars bringing joy to the millions that have prayed for his return.

The Irish Rovers Sports Bar in the heart of Pattaya, Bangkok’s LK Metro won the bidding for this momentous event. For those not familiar with LK Metro it’s the center of  Terpsichorean interpretations performed by mostly young, but not always, females with only a passing knowledge and rarely an execution of rhythm.  (Editor’s note: Terpsichore is from the Greek meaning “delight in dancing.” “De-light” from English to mean “without clothes.”)

The Professional Darts Corporation in an attempt to blunt the effect of “his” return staged yet another Premier League event in Birmingham. The jam-packed crowd at the Barclaycard Arena, even with outlandish costumes and the usual singing, was no match for the enthusiasm inside the Irish Rovers. Both venues could advertise international fields of darting celebrities in the finest tradition of the game.

The star in England was Peter “Snake Bite” Wright as he handed  Phil Taylor his first defeat in the Premier League since week one. Playing twice, Wright beat Taylor 7-4 and then got a kiss-your-sister draw with Gary Anderson. This space has always maintained that averages mean little in the great scheme of things. When down 1-4 Taylor was averaging 109 and Wright in the high 90s. Taylor averaged 106 for the match and lost.

The ODC warmed up for his return with an arduous two-hour practice session at the Billabong Bar, where earlier in the week the cover for his upcoming book was shot with Mr. Stefan Lord. One thing a true pro never forgets is the preparation that got him where he was before he left. A good two hours of aiming fluid, golden in color, a nice cigar, Tiger Balm – no Ben Gay for the ODC – applied in liberal amounts to protect not yet strengthened arm muscles and mental concentration to the task ahead.

The first singles was a real challenge as he was drawn against a very lovely young Thai lady – clad in stylish and rather tight denim, and who was just a step or two away from hitting the international darting circuit. It was a titanic struggle with neither player giving an inch or conceding a turn. In the end, it came down to the double with the Thai lady prevailing.

Interviewed afterward, the ODC was optimistic about his return and the first match. “At this level, it’s always a challenge. I’m just getting used to my darts and the venue, but I learned a  lot from this match. As the late Sid Waddell said, ‘It’s  funny old game.’ I was in there all the way, just barely missing the double. There were a lot of  positives to be taken from  tonight.”

It is understandable how the ODC can be disappointed – as missing 34 darts at double 1 and losing in 64 darts could get a person down.  It should be noted that just a few days later the ODC would hit a double 1 playing against Wankie Tankie leading his team to victory. Wankie Tankie was a difficult venue as it was but 10 feet wide and 30 feet long. The pub itself was sandwiched between the Lovely Hands  massage parlor and a business which had four ladyboys out front chatting up strollers down Soi Post Office.  The business had no sign but did show on the face of the building a large heart, a pair of lips and an arrow, all in red neon, pointing upstairs.

Then on the third night, it was time for the Irish Rovers Derby. The “A” team against the “B” team.  Many felt that the ODC had been sandbagging to join the B team. The A’s were led by Swedish international Annette Richardson. Ms. Richardson had  just returned from Malaysia were she teamed with Ann Drtr  to win second in the “Home and Away Tournament.”

The ODC played the second best player busting 116 for the game. Wanting 116 the ODC hit the triple 20, then a fat 7 leaving 49. “No problem,” thinks he. But also, the Dart God didn’t shine as the third dart landed in triple 17.  In the battle for supremacy of the Irish Rovers it came down to the beer leg which is one leg 1001. With the “A’s”  hovering on a double the good guys needed 93. As the “B’s” player prepared to stepped to the line the ODC counseled, “Get me to a double and I’ll hit it.”

Forget Babe Ruth calling his homerun shot in game 3 of the 1932 World Series against the Chicago Cubs or even General Douglas MacArthur telling the people of the Philippines, “I shall return”  – they pale in comparison, as the ODC stepped to the oche wanting 52. With just two darts delivered with alacrity the “B’s” beat the “A’s” to reign supreme in the Irish Rovers Derby. He was the man of the hour. The King was back.

The story doesn’t have a happy ending. The ODC was terrible the next evening. On that evening in the Irish Rovers it was only 7 foot 9 1/4 from the penthouse to the outhouse.

Floyd Patterson fought Sweden’s Ingemar Johansson on June 26, 1959. Patterson got knocked down seven times in three rounds. After the fight, Patterson slunk out of Chicago wearing a fake beard as he was so ashamed of his effort. The ODC couldn’t find a beard as he slunk away to his hotel.

Here in Pattaya, there are lots of Swedes. Some who are unkind to the Swedish say they’re like German’s but lacking the German sense of humor.  The ODC disagrees. Annette Richardson, Swedish international, shared a top-of-the-line Swedish Joke which has Swedes rolling in the gången.

A grasshopper walks into a bar in Stockholm. The bartenders says, “We have a drink named after you.”

“You have a drink named Stefan?”

Same bar, a mushroom walks in only to be told by the bartender, “You’ll have to leave.”

“Why not? I’m a fungi.”

And the piece of resistance. A group of Swedes are dining out. Their meal served, wine poured… a goodly amount of time passes. The waiter approaches the table and inquires, “Are you finished?”

In unison they yell, “NO, WE’RE SWEDISH!

Stay thirsty my friends.

The following two tabs change content below.
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.