Column #HR167 Boaty McBoatface

Monday, May 16, 2016
Column HR167
Boaty McBoatface

The Turf Club of the Melbourne Race Course. 1994. Teams from the Pacific met for the semiannual Pacific Cup. Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Canada,  Japan and allegedly Thailand were there with the goal of wrestling the CUP away for America.

There was a slight problem as the teams prepared for the opening ceremony. No Thailand. Oh, the Thailand captain and WDF representative, the Old Dart Coach, were there but the team was MIA. As happens in the land of smiles (LOS), sponsor money had disappeared when going from one hand to another to another with the final resting in a pocket. “Thailand Magic”.

The ODC marched in with the flag of Thailand followed by no one. Not a usual occurrence during this period. The opening ceremony was short and sweet with the minimum of useless chatter. The goodly throng recessed to the dining area for food and beverage. For reasons that are unexplainable someone thought it would be a good idea for a little karaoke. Yes, a little karaoke goes a long way.

Going alphabetically, the last to “sing” was Thailand. Malaysia’s guys and gals were great as the other countries were AOK. But Thailand? His performance made Roseann Barr’s 1990 rendition of the National Anthem at a San Diego Padre’s game sound like Celine Deion doing “My Heart Will Go ON” at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas.

The ODC learned that aiming fluid and golden elixir could not provide the same environment as a closed shower stall. The ODC had seen Barry Manilow end a show at London’s Royal Albert Hall singing, “We’ll meet again.” He always thought, “I can sing like Manilow.” It came out more like a bad Tiny Tim.

We’ll meet again

Don’t know where

Don’t know when

But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day

Keep smiling through

Just like you always do

‘Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.

We’ll meet again

Don’t know where

Don’t know when

But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.

The Tungsten Telegraph is reporting that a “funny thing happened recently in Las Vegas, where every day is sunny,  when a member of the PDC ‘hierarchy’ was seen around town singing the very same song.” Was it “stupid juice” or was it the PDC  sending out a subtle hint?

Could  the PDC Desert Classic or some edition thereof  be going to return to Las Vegas next year? When contacted, the PDC issued no “official” statement but did imply, “We never comment or speculate but we have always said that someday we would like to return to Las Vegas.” That comment brings back to mind the old Judy Collins tune, “Someday Soon.”

The PDC has been very clever in promoting TV darts as a vehicle for gaming. It has been unquestionably successful beyond most players wildest dreams. With that success comes the inherent danger, as all gaming does involving humans. Fixed results. In America maybe the most famous “fix” was the 1919 “Black Socks” scandal. The Chicago White Sox “allegedly” threw  the World Series (5-3) to the Cincinnati Reds. The “fix” was arranged by Gangster Arnold Rothstein who would die in 1924 of ingested lead poising.

The PDC is “extra”  careful to guard against any question of predetermined match outcome as any suspicion would cause financial disaster. With that, the battle between “Marvelous Marvin” van Gerwen and Phil Taylor in Rotterdam on the final night of the regular Premier League season was a genuine sporting classic. The winner would take home an additional £25,000 as a league bonus for finishing first.

In day’s past it could be argued that van Gerwen and Taylor would agree to split the £25,000 and do an “exhibition.” Years ago, yes. Now? No way Jose.

Before a crowd of orange-clad Dutch in full voice, van Gerwen had a chance to break throw in the first leg but missed with five as Taylor tapped out with 2 x 20. Van Gerwen did break in the 3rd leg to go up 2-1. Taylor broke in the 4th when van Gerwen “jacked around with 90” as Taylor approached with T40 to leave 42, which he erased in two. Taylor then held for the 3-2 lead when van Gerwen missed one at 38.

Van Gerwen levelled at three with great leg of  T45, 80 (robin hooded the third T20), T, T45 to leave 36 which he erased with his third dart. The duo then held their serves to level at four. Van Gerwen had been having trouble finishing the deal. His doubles were shaky as neither player seemed to dominate. Taylor’s darts sometimes wandered about.

If there can be said to be a game changer it came in was the 9th leg. Against the darts, Taylor wanted 116 to finish as van Gerwen toed the oche, needing 164. “Wham bam thank ya ma’am, leave the money on the dresser.” 60-54-BULL. Referee Georgie Noble, Jr. could have yelled “Leg, Game, Set, Match” but no one would have heard him as the orange-clad crowed erupted like the  Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökul did a few years ago.

Taylor would have some measure of pleasure when in the next leg van Gerwen missed darts to go up 6-4. After Taylor missed a couple at 20, amid an ever-increasing chorus of boos, he finally hit it when van Gerwen mucked about with 56, failing to close. As Taylor hit the double the crowd booed as lustily as the Padre crowd did Rosanne Barr. Taylor had fun encouraging the crowd on with a genuine Phil Taylor smile. Van Gerwen broke for 6-5, then had the chance to drive the crowd into a complete frenzy in the last leg with T74, T80 before missing the next treble 20 and the opportunity for a 9-darter. He finished in 12. Not to Chablis.

Great stuff that sets up next week’s Premier League finals when, possibly, Taylor and van Gerwen will meet again.

During the ODC’s stay in Thailand there was nothing but sunny days. In fact, the hottest in 64 years. He learned that “you must hydrate” so from this point forward the ODC will be known as an English-American. He therefore delivers a little English humor…

Recently a Council in England wanted to name a “polar research ship” and opened the naming up to the public. The winner with76% of the vote was “Boaty McBoatface.” Other suggestions included, “It’s Bloody Cold Here,” “Ice Ice Baby,” and “Big Metal Floating Thingy-thing.”

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.