Column #HR208 Don’t build any statues of Phil Taylor!

Monday, August 21, 2017
Column HR208
Don’t build any statues of Phil Taylor!

Too often the Old Dart Coach, along with others of his “ilk,” takes to public forums to ridicule people that play darts. Remember, the ODC has been there and done that. He’s also seen “6 chickens build a grain elevator in Iowa.”

The ODC’s palette, Dr. “WB” Batten, says “America and England are two countries separated by a common language.” The good doctor has a valid point…

We spell words differently. For example, we spell it “tires” and they spell it “tyres.” In England a “fag” is a cigarette. In America? It’s a “coffin nail.”

Had you going there for a minute didn’t I?

We look at things from a different perspective. We sell “used cars” and they sell “experienced Auto’s.” Some words are pronounced differently but have the same meaning. Then there are words that are pronounced the same with a different meaning…

Today’s word is “integrity.”

According to Webster’s the definition of “integrity” is: “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”

It’s apparent that at least 2,000 Brits have a different definition.

A bulletin arrived at the Casa de ODC from the PDC…

Darts has been given the stamp of approval by the British public after topping an independent poll as the UK sport with the highest integrity. The UK Sports Integrity Index by Portland Communications polled over 2,000 members of the general public in June, 2017 to measure the perceived level of integrity of the top 12 professional sports in the UK.

Before you toss out a “WTF” a closer look at the poll is required.

The poll looked at how people judged sports to be affected by four key issues: 1) match, point or race fixing; 2) players, racers or athletes use of performance enhancing drugs; 3) financial corruption; and 4) cover-up stories and scandals.

Anyone that has ever been associated with darts is now murmuring, “Holy Peter, James, John, Andrew, Bartholomew, James the Lessor, Jude, Mathew, Philip, Simon, Thomas and Mary!” (Mary is tossed in to keep the NAGS happy.)

Granted, professional darts is not a hotbed of scandal or match fixing – that has been uncovered from time to time – but dart players are dart players. They are not in line for Sainthood nor are they pristine as the driven snow.

This poll says not that much about darts but more about other sports in the UK.

The PDC was making its tour of New Zealand where again the locals were invited in. Once invited, they would hopefully be dispatched with hardly a “fare-thee-well” or a “thank you for coming” and a “see ya next year.”

“Well, golly gee, look what happened.”

It was the long “What the heck is going on here?” The Auckland Darts Masters finals had nary a “name” PDC player remaining. Yep, they got whipped – sent packing while mumbling “WTF.”

“Marvelous” Michael van Gerwen didn’t make the trip but it was still a quality field. A pair of Aussies eliminated two big names in Round 1. Kyle Anderson took out Gary Anderson while Corey Cadby waved bye-bye to Peter Wright both by scores of 6-4.

Round 2 saw Kyle Anderson take out fellow Aussie, slumping Simon Whitlock 10-9. Cadby had an easy time with Michael Smith 10-5. Anderson and to a lesser degree Cadby have been two players visible on the “watch these guys” radar. Cadby is the reigning World Youth Champion – pronounced “YUT.” Cadby averaged 100-plus beating Smith. Cadby won the Perth Darts Masters last August.

The bear like, bearded Kyle Anderson was the talk of darts at last year’s World Championship. He warmed up for the Auckland event by winning his first PDC title at Players Championship #17 in Barnsley just prior to Auckland. He added a 9-darter in that event.

Anderson skated to an easy 11-4 win over James Wade in his semi. Corey Cadby would face the “legend” Phil Taylor who he had beaten once before. Taylor was celebrating his 57th birthday. Cadby spoiled the party. Cadby led 3-0 with Taylor leveling at 5-all. With Cadby leading 10-7 after two missed darts Taylor got to within two. When Taylor missed a 114-check Cadby nailed 103 with a d18 for the win.

In the final Cadby jumped to a 4-1 lead. Anderson would level at 4 with a 160-check. From that point on it was a see-saw, nail biting, wing-ding of a match – with Anderson wining 11-10.

At the next stop in Melbourne, Taylor would get a measure of revenge against Cadby in the round of 8 winning 10-9. Down 7-9, Taylor would win three on the trot for the 10-9 win. Taylor would win the Melbourne event with an 11-8 win over Peter “Second Place” Wright.

After Taylor beat Cadby he said, “He’s a cracking little player, and after last week I needed to get my own back.” In any language it’s difficult to understand what “I needed to get my own back” means. It’s as if Taylor is ordained wins. His talk was far different than his demeanor when he lost to Cadby.

In the last column the ODC described Taylor’s behavior “loutish.” The definition of “lout” is   “A crude or oafish person; boor.”

Against Cadby in Auckland it was admittedly very hot in the venue and on stage. Cadby was using a towel to dry himself. At one point, while trailing, the “loutish” Taylor grabbed the towel tossing it off stage. A fan tossed it back. Taylor then used the towel to whip his face.

Taylor’s actions hit social media bringing a response of, “He’s a dick!” That encouraged a number of similar comments along with enough “thumbs ups” to save a Gladiator’s life in the old Roman Colosseum.

A Taylor defender answered, “Taylor has done so much for darts.” That brought the ODC off the couch. Philip Douglas Taylor did not set out with the mindset of “Let’s see what I can do to help darts.” He, like all professional players, set out with the goal to make money. Darts and money seemed a better option than making toilets.

Any Taylor residual effect on darts was an “unexpected consequence.” Darts also did a heck of a lot for Phil Taylor. It made him rich, probably kept him out of jail – and allowed behavior that would have sent any other player to the “sin bin.” Do not equate Phil Taylor with Mother Teresa. She dressed better.

Don’t build any statues of Taylor for his dominance of darts in his era. Don’t worship him as if he’s a part of the deity. He’s not.

The role of savior for darts goes to only one man: Barry Hearn.

Without his knowledge and business acumen professional darters would still be playing for “pints” with maybe a good Indian meal afterwards.

Make no mistake – Barry Hearn saved the sport. Also give a big “attaboy” to those that had the good sense to get Hearn on board.

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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