Column #HR203 The British are coming! The British are coming!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Column HR203
The British are coming! The British are coming!

With the 4th of July in the rear view window some would take the Old Dart Coach to task for publishing this column after the fact. Let ’em.

July 4th marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence. That document freed the 13 Colonies of America from the oppressive yoke of England’s King George III. They (the English) would get even by inventing darts and sending it to America.

How ironic that shortly after July 4, 2017 (July 11-15) the English will again invade America – not the 13 Colonies but Las Vegas, Nevada. This invasion will be the Festival of Darts. They will take charge and give orders. It’s their show.

On July 1st, our neighbors to the north celebrated Canada Day, or for you frogs out there “Fête du Canada.” On that date in 1887 Canada freed itself from England and her Monarch Queen Victoria. They did this with the enactment of the Constitution Act. Queen Victoria, who would serve until 1901, became Queen when she was only 18. Maybe the first “Teen Queen” in history…

The ODC owes a debt of gratitude to the darters of Canada and especially to one Ed Oliver. They resurrected what the ODC laughingly calls a “my career” when he was deemed “persona non-grata” in the USA. The USA held “make believe parties” that he wasn’t invited to.

OH CANADA… EH!

When the ODC is wrong it’s not even a close call. When the PDC announced its visit to Las Vegas the ODC chortled. There would be 4 North American qualifiers with 8 players advancing to the North American Championship, and the US Dart Masters. When the same people predicted a big turnout the ODC guffawed about the chances for success. Not a full throated guffaw but one that was hail and hardy just the same.

“If they get 100 entries at (about) $400 each they should be doing the Snoopy dance. Won’t happen.”

It’s therefore appropriate that as part of the ODC’s 4th of July Gala Sumptuous Celebration meal – which was Popeye’s, as it was Tuesday – was a desert of humble pie. A BIG humble pie, not the little “$1 one bite and done pie” sold at the 99 Cent Store. Nope, a whopping big pie with just a dab of “Coo” Whip on top.

When entries closed on June 29th the PDC headline announced, “Bumper Entry For PDC’s Las Vegas Return.” For a brief moment the ODC wondered what a “bumper entry” was so he read on to learn that there are “over 160 entries.” He continued to read since his inquiring but feeble mind then wondered if “over 160 entries” suggested there must be something behind the story. Like the NFL he took the announcement “under further review.”

With an investigating zeal that would have made Inspector Jacques Clouseau proud (he has a rather low standard) the ODC uncovered the rest of the story. You may wonder why the ODC mentions Inspector Clouseau (besides the fact that he was a well decorated detective…

Clouseau had the answer to a single man’s life:

Nicole: “Do you live alone, Inspector?”

Inspector Jacques Clouseau: “Yes, I do.”

Nicole: “Do you ever get lonely?”

Inspector Jacques Clouseau: “No. Not since the Internet.”

The entry list for the four qualifiers has an average of 167.5 players each. That breaks down to 164 entries in the first two, then 167 in the third, and finally 175 in the final. How can that be when the PDC mandated that a player had to enter all four qualifiers at the same time? Actually that was a “ruse.” It was actually possible to enter one qualifier, pay $100 dollars and get two tickets to all the events. Had those two tickets been purchased separately it would have cost $300. (Darters know more about angles than a college trigonometry professor.)

The $86,100 in the pot for North American players is a big plus. With entries those players have chucked in that means that about $65,000 will be in the bank from entries for the “North American” competition. The PDC is guaranteeing $61,200 for the Qualifiers and $25,000 for the North American Championships – for a total of $86,100 up for grabs. The PDC probably wanted a bigger “bumper entry” list.

With those numbers will this be a “one and done” for the PDC and Las Vegas, Nevada, USA?

For those competing in the North American Qualifiers there may be some who will try not to win but instead finish high in each hoping to maximize their income. There’s a rule that if you win a Qualifier then you don’t play on. Imagine that a player finishes second twice, third once, and then wins. A win only gives the player $2,000. But two seconds, a third, and a win pays $4,750. Sweet.

There may be a raffle of Rick Ney signature darts (choice of steel or convertible) during the North American portion of the PDC week. Walt Bottelsen produced 10 sets of limited edition Rick Ney Signature Darts. Bottelsen donated them to the Rick Ney Family Memorial Fund so 100% of the proceeds will go to Rick’s family. The “Ney Memorial Group” is awaiting a decision from the PDC on holding the raffle.

The Old Dart Coach’s book, One Night While Out Drinking with The Fat Swede, will be available at the PDC store during the playing of the North American Qualifiers. Thanks to the PDC store the ODC will not have to cruise the casino asking…

“Psst. Wanna buy a book? Sure I can deliver it in plain brown paper bag.”

Absolutely love the comment of a lady darter from the Golden Ages…

“We had lovely White Trash Day. Taco Bell for breakfast, WWE wrestling, then closed the day with dinner at Jack in the Box.”

Got to love it. Little Debbie’s name withheld at her request.

Mr. Brook, of the Thailand Brook, reminded the ODC of a July 4th he (that would be the ODC) once spent with a dear friend…

The ODC likes to recount one Independence Day he enjoyed with the late Barry Twomlow. Sharing a pint of lager (or more) the ODC mused…

“It’s the 4th of July – a big holiday here in the United States as we celebrate our freedom from England. Is it a big holiday in England?”

“One of our biggest.”

“It is? Why?”

“We celebrate getting rid of the likes of you.”

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.