Column #532 Rest in Peace Stacy Bromberg – by the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed

Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Column 532
Rest in Peace Stacy Bromberg – by the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed

For most of the night I have tried to put words to paper to remember my friend, Stacy Bromberg. I can’t. I just can’t. Not yet. But I will.

But where I have failed the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed, has succeeded. Please read and share Howie’s tribute below.

Stacy was a wonderful person, a true friend to all, the best of the best. I miss her so much.

Dartoid

Rest in Peace Stacy Bromberg – by the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed

It’s always sad when a member of the darting fraternity passes away. Darts is a fraternity – those who play the game are bound together by a cultist love of the sport, although on occasion not always to each other. There is no initiation fee or secret handshake to join the club. Seldom is anyone excluded.

It’s even sadder when the person who dies is a great human being – one whose contribution to the world will far outnumber their contributions within the darting universe (even though those will probably never be equaled).

Stacy Bromberg was that person.

Everyone in darts has a Stacy story, or two or ten. To the darting public Stacy was about winning. To to her many friends Stacy was caring, helpful, thoughtful.

It was an early July afternoon in the late 1980s at the pool of the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix, Arizona – the day before the old Roadrunner Classic. A young Stacy Bromberg wearing a bikini, very smartly, was in the pool splashing with Rocket Ronnie Baxter. There also was the Old Dart Coach (yes, he was in a bathing suit too despite the fact that his sighting would have summoned whale watchers had they existed in the desert) and three or four  others. One of the females darters sitting poolside was asked…

“Who’s that in the bikini?”

The response? “That’s Stacy Bromberg. She’s a new player. Thinks she’s the greatest.”

The answer carried just a touch of condensation for a upstart darter, new on the scene. In the beginning Stacy said, “I’ll be the best.” In the years to follow Stacy proved that she was the greatest of her era. As the late baseball player Dizzy Dean said, “If you can do it you ain’t bragging.”

Stacy Bromberg wasn’t bragging. For a record 16 times – 13 in a row – Stacy was a member of  the  USA National Team, 15 times she was the National Points winner. She competed eight times in the World Cup wining four gold medals including one as the 2009 Women’s World Cup Singles Champion. In 2009, the PDC and Unicorn sponsored a Women’s World Championship. Of course, Stacy won that. In 2003, she won the PDC Women’s Desert Classic by defeating Deta Headman in the final.

Headman, England’s Queen of Darts, writes, “Absolutely gutted to hear of my mate Stacy Bromberg’s passing – she has been fighting a very long battle against cancer and it has finally beaten her.”

I would respectfully disagree with Deta. Cancer didn’t “beat” Stacy Bromberg. The clock just ran out. She never stopped battling. Time has a way of doing that.

More from Ms. Headman, “A great lady who will be sorely missed by us darters if not by all the officials( lol!). Loved her straight talking and no nonsense approach.”

Deta brings up a subject that the “Lords” of dart should view with shame…

Of course, those SOBs have no shame. They – the ADO and World Dart Federation – stole from Stacy Bromberg what she earned through hard work, determination, and an unequalled competitive passion. Qualities that none of them possess. A special place in hell, where hopefully they’ll rot in their own slime, is reserved for the ADO board members who had no compunction betraying Stacy for their own special ego driven interests.

Chris Lim reflects, “I woke up to the worst news today. A close, close friend has passed away… Stacy Bromberg. You were there at my house playing with me and Michael in our pool when we were little.” That was Stacy – away from the dart board, a playful child again. But on the oche she had the fire and fighting spirit that set her apart from all other women of her era.

A young Russell Lopez, son of Russ, remembers, “You meant the world to so many people. You were the best woman’s dart player ever! I have known you since I was a little five-year-old kid. I have some great memories playing with you and against you. Every time we would see you at a dart tournament you would come and give me a kiss on the cheek. Not only were you a great dart player – you were even better person.”

Like any great player on the way up Stacy rubbed some  people the wrong way. Her living was darts and to be the best she had to play with the best. She was not adverse to jumping from one darting partner to another for a better chance of winning. Winners do that.

Was Stacy Bromberg the greatest women’s dart player ever? That’s a question that can never be successfully answered. As Stacy was coming up the current American players were phasing out their successful careers. It was the end of the American Women’s Golden Era – of Sandy Reitan, Kathy Karpowich, and Kathy Maloney, along with a handful of others just a dart behind. Lorrie Braithwaite was just hitting her stride before Stacy took over. On the world scene any list that didn’t include those names along with Maureen Flowers, Deta Headman, Mandy Solomon, Linda Batten, and Yoko Koyama would be suspect.

Some in the darting community will forget Stacy Bromberg as the days wend into months and the months into years. That’s the way it is in sports…

What should never be forgotten is Stacy Bromberg’s kindness to any and all that were touched by her heart, a heart that was much bigger than her talent – which is saying a lot. The many children of the Make-A-Wish Foundation who saw their dreams come true because of Stacy Bromberg were there to great her with open arms when she arrived in heaven.

A letter arrived once from someone that the ODC knew many years ago. The person came from Kenya where he was forced to leave his country for political reasons. He explained that he was living in Texas and would like a set of darts, but had no money. Having only one set, the ODC contacted Stacy, explained the situation,, and then asked if her sponsor could supply a cheap set. The darts arrived shortly thereafter. The ODC contacted Stacy to ask how much he owed. “Nothing,” came the answer.

Last October, was what would be Stacy’s last birthday party. The party was held at a local bar in Las Vegas. It was, to use an English term, “chock-a-block” full. The ODC was the only darter there. As he engaged various guests in conversation he was regaled with stories, not of dart player Stacy but of Las Vegas Stacy. With few if any exceptions, stories were told of how Stacy Bromberg had played a special part in their lives – of how she did this or that to help someone she barely knew but who needed help.

Stacy Bromberg wasn’t born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She battled foes, dart officials, and cancer. She never weakened and never gave up. That is her message. She typified the last words of basketball Coach Jim Valvano when as he was dying with cancer said…

“Don’t give up. Do ever give up.”

Stacy Bromberg didn’t give up, she just ran out of time.

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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.