Column #HR186 Welcome to the Golden Age of Darts

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Column HR186
Welcome to the Golden Age of Darts

Those from the Golden Age of Darts will remember the when Ricky Nelson sang his baby heart out with “Garden Party.” The song tells the woeful tale of Nelson playing a concert at Madison Square Garden when he no longer portrayed the clean-cut Ivy League teen.

“They didn’t recognize me… I didn’t look the same.”

The Ricky of the Ozzie and Harriet TV show was gone. Instead he had gotten all growed up and haired over.

Golden Age darters could empathize with the late singer as they met the same reception when they showed up for the recent Las Vegas Open. The one exception was the Old Dart Coach who, as Sherry Waltz (formerly known, when a darting lady, as “Cranberry”) commented…

“You look exactly the same.”

That’s good or bad, depending on what one’s opinion was of the ODC “back in the day.”

The ODC attended to sell books. Thanks to Janice Turner who allowed him some space in THE DART SHOP stall he sold a few. With just a couple more sales he would have covered the cost of the five beers he consumed.

The ODC concluded that when a new person goes to a darts tournament and gets lonely their second stop is the darts shop. There they can chat, almost always finding a friendly ear.  Jan Turner does that to a tee. Their first stop? Why, the bar.

Ricky Nelson aside, there was singing on both sides of the big pond. The song? Quite possibly “Oh Happy Day,” which was recorded by the Edwin Hawkins Singers from Oakland, California. The famous Pointers Sisters were part of the group along with their brother Arron. Brother Arron Pointer was a really good football player who rang the ODC’s bell more than once. Now of course, when his bell gets rung no one answers.

At the Las Vegas Open Darren Young and Sandy Hudson could have joined the Hawkins singers as they took the 2017 ADO National Cricket Championships. They may not have been Frank and Nancy crooning “Something Stupid” but winners can do anything they darn well please.

The tournament’s singles had a new wrinkle as the top 32 men and 16 women played best of seven with the final best of nine. The ODC, always the investigative reporter (some call him a snoop), axed “Why?” The answer he got was that by playing best of seven it prepared North American darters to compete with the world.

Horse doodle. Walking a mile doesn’t make one ready to run the mile in the Olympics. Here’s a suggestion. Eliminate cricket. No one but the retards in North America play it. Add 301, double in double out.

Oh yes, the ladies top 16 playing best of seven lasted longer than the ODC’s first marriage.

Harkening back to the days of writing for Bulls Eye News, the ODC was asked if he sold a book to former BEN owner Jay Tomlinson?

“NO! Heck, he didn’t like to read my stuff when he had to – why the heck would he want to pay for the honor?”

The singing from across the pond probably came from former World Champion John Part and all-around good guy “Rocket” Ronnie Baxter. They probably weren’t singing either Brooks & Dunn’s “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” or the drunken English dart fan favorite “Walking in a Taylor Wonderland.” Part and Baxter both went through the PDC Qualifying School to earn their tour cards..

There was some controversy (pronounced “CON TRAV IS SEE”) about the fact that a former world champion, John Part, had to qualify. While it’s the same old tune, the PDC still should remember how they got where they are – and those that allowed them to get there.

Here’s a suggestion for the PDC, which they will ignore out-of-hand: Start each World Championship with matches on stage between former PDC world champions that have retired.

The only North American to get “kind of” a tour card was David Fatum. David can play in Coral UK Open Qualifiers, European Tour UK Qualifiers, and the Challenge Tour. He can enter Players Championships if the field of 128 isn’t filled by one of the 128 tour card holders. Good for David.

With 450 players in the PDC qualifying school, entries at the Las Vegas Open were bound to be effected to some extent. The Las Vegas Open carried the all-important  WSARA rankling – Who Gives a Rats Arse. Only non-North American England’s Tricia Wright garnered any points, losing in the final 5-4 to Paula Murphy. The men’s singles was won by Chattanooga’s “Chainsaw” Joe Cheney over Joe Huffman 6-3.

One big surprise from the PDC Qualifying School was that Hong Kong’s Ting Chi Royden Lam qualified for a full PDC tour card. Royden, as he is called, becomes the first player from Asia to qualify for a tour card. His forte to this point has been in soft point darts. He did represent Hong Kong in the PDC World Cup. Good for him. He may have been singing “幾個十年.”

The really big news is that Phil Taylor announced this would be his last year on the PDC trail. No doubt some PDC players breathed a sigh of relief. Taylor is still a factor at any tournament he enters. He’s leaving at a time when he’s still one of the best rather than the best. He’s the best of his era whose records will never be equaled. His last Masters didn’t go as well as he would have wished. He lost in the semifinals to Gary Anderson 11-9 in a match that he could have won.

On the other side of the Masters draw “Marvelous” Michael van Gerwen hammered Adrian Lewis 11-5 in a match that wasn’t that close. van Gerwen then dispatched Gary Anderson in the final 11-7 in a match that he controlled from the start.

The TV was done by ITV with coverage that was way below that of SKY. The “expert commentator” uttered the following…

“It’s not about the money”.

It’s doubtful  that van Gerwen refused the £60,000 he won.

It is the money stupid, not the measuring of respective reproductive organs. That’s left to the amateurs.

As the ODC makes final preparations for HALT 2017 (Howie’s Asia Love Tour) he just got another reason to bypass Starbucks. Starbucks CEO and resident moron, Howard Schultz, announced that his company was prepared to hire 10,000 refugees. With 90 million-plus US residents out of the labor force why not hire American residents?

That thought was echoed on Facebook by “#suckit” – “Upon hearing about your decision to hire 10,000 refugees instead of Americans I will no longer spend any money at Starbucks.”

After all these years, Golden Age Darters realize that darts is actually religion with its own hierarchy. During the Golden Age in Western Canada there was The Caliph of Calgary, who is also known as The Squire of Scottsdale. He offers the following…

“Telling a women to calm down is like trying to baptize a cat.”

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.
Howie Reed

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