Column #HR210 Those were the days

Tuesday, October 1, 2017
Column HR210
Those were the days

Recently, one of the Old Darts Coach’s pals posted, “I wish I could go back to the America I grew up in…”

To be expected, some wanted to turn a simple statement into a political rant. For darters from the Golden Age, the late 1970s to 2000, there had to be a loud and resounding “Amen” or…

“A women” or simply an “A person”… along with “I’ll have another.”

Thomas Wolf wrote, “You Can’t Go Home Again,” which is silly. You can, it just won’t be the same. Things change. Maybe the Golden Age of Darts wasn’t as golden as remembered. Not likely. Tournaments abounded, some even masqueraded as “no host cocktail parties.” A capital idea that.

In the summer months the best players in the world arrived on North America’s shores. They played in Washington, at the Golden Gate, the Peachtree in Georgia, and in Santa Monica (which morphed into the Los Angeles Open) – all culminating in the North American, first in Southern California and finally in Las Vegas.

It’s possible (with a little imagination aided by lots of joy juice) for one to hear Archie and Edith Bunker singing, “Those Were the Days.” They were.

It’s demonstrably unintelligent for those who love the darts of yesterday to blame either soft point or the PDC for the general state of darts today. The rule is evolve or be left in the dust of history. Steel darts is feasting on dust. Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” Financial media huckster Dave Ramsey has co-opted old Ben’s wisdom.

Internationally there was the Winmau World Masters, the British Open and the World Darts Federation’s Pacific and World Cups. The WDF and the BDO were the adhesive that had a strangle hold on darts. The British Open and World Masters are now shadows of “The Way it Was.”

Can it be that it was all so simple then

Or has time rewritten every line

If we had the chance to do it all again

Tell me, would we?

Could we?”

Damn straight, Skippy.

In the British Open Yank “Chainsaw” Joe Chaney made the top 128 with Tom Sawyer reaching the top 64 before losing to Martin Adams, a three times Masters Champion. The World Masters followed. Chainsaw Joe got a little revenge for Sawyer when he took out Adams in the first round.

Australian lass Corrine Hammond was the star of the week winning the British Open, beating world ranked #7 Anastasia Dobromyslova and then losing in the Masters in the final to England’s Lorraine Winstanley. Good on ya, Shelia.

The WDF will meet October 3-7 in Kobe, Japan, for WDF World Cup XXI. Currently there are 69 member nation but only 31 are showing up to play – by far the lowest number in some time. Even if it weren’t, the fact that England, Wales, Poland, Ireland and Scotland have taken a “Pasadena” is the story.

It’s unseemly for England and its acolytes not to attend the World Cup. It’s no secret that the BDO ran the WDF with an “Iron Fist” while giving the finger to other countries. “What’s good for the BDO is good for darts” was the rule. An example of that was the dartboard sponsorship deal (WINMAU) that provided the minimum for the WDF but from which the BDO reaped a bountiful harvest. When representing Thailand the ODC questioned how the WDF Executive Board could make a competing dartboard company (NODOR) wait two years for a presentation, then give them 10 minutes, and then saying “no thanks” and never sharing the proposal with members.

The ODC was tossed out of the WDF as the representative of Thailand for his questioning the “establishment” – a fact which makes the ODC proud. The WDF, like the ADO, does absolutely nothing for their members but shovel loads of “alfalfa after it has gone thru a male bovine.” The demise of the BDO will be followed by the demise of the WDF for the simple reason: “i pesci rotti dalla testa.”

In 2009, the late Stacy Bromberg won the World Cup Singles following in the footsteps of Kathy Maloney (1993), Eva Grigsby (1989) and Sandy Reitan (1983). The America women took the overall titles in 1987, 1993 and 1997. The men never did – although they had a shot in Brisbane in 1985. The “Ohio Choker” missed a double more than once to win.

Stacy Bromberg was prevented from defending her title in 2011 when the WDF, with the acquiescence of the ADO, declared her ineligible because “she took part in a PDC event.” This year Scott MacKenzie is playing for Hong Kong after appearing in multiple PDC televised events. Rotten. Lousy. Bastards.

The cost of sending four men and four women to the Far East was probably prohibitive for those countries missing. In the 20 previous Cups, England has been the overall title champion 14 times with Wales and the Netherlands 3 times each.

Gone from the entries for the men are 13 of 16 and all top 4 from the British Open, including men’s champ Ross Montgomery of Scotland. The British Open’s lady champion Corrine Hammond and runner-up Anastasia Dobromyslova remain. Dobromyslova lives in England but will represent Russia. From the Men’s World Masters, champ Krzysztof Ratajski of Poland and 6 others from the top 8 will be missing.

On the American side both men and women have good draws to reach the top 16 at which time “any given day” will should take over. On the men’s side with so many “name” international players missing it’s impossible to pick a winner. Cali West has the best path to the top 8 as the only ranked player in her way is #25 Vickie Pruim of Sweden. Lisa Ayers has both #7 Anastasia Dobromyslova and Patricia Farrell (Canada) in her group. Nice draw. Paula Murphy has #2 Aileen de Graaf (Netherlands) to advance while Carole Herriot’s got #4 – the red-hot Corrine Hammond (Australia) to reach 32.

As “Fools Walk in Where Angels Fear to Tread,” the ODC will make his selections…

Men’s overall winner: Netherlands or Germany 5-1 as favorites with Canada and USA at 10-1.

On the women’s side it will be the team with 2 “really” good players and 2 good ones. The ODC favors Australia at 3-1 with USA a 10-1 bet. Both Canada and the USA will win at least one Gold Medal.

If we could go back, there to meet us would be John Sebastian singing…

Welcome back

Welcome back, welcome back

Welcome back, welcome back

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.