Column #HR221 “Excuse me, but how to you get to Carnegie Hall?”

Thursday, March 1, 2018
Column HR221
“Excuse me, but how do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

The Sultan of Sittingbourne, Mr. David Whitcombe, can wear many hats. Now retired from the Sisal Wars he still shows the wry sense of humor that was so often on display those many years ago. His humor was on classic display in the lead up to his 1986 Embassy World Darts Championship finals match against Eric Bristow (he would lose 6-0, a fact he might like to misremember).

The night before the final someone pulled the fire alarm in the early hours of the morning. With the lobby of the Hilton in Bracknell, England, full of sleepy patrons, some still full of aiming fluid, Whitcombe was asked…

“What are you going to do?”

“Have a glass of milk and go to bed.”

He reappears often in this space as the Sage of Sittingbourne and, now, the Sultan as he rules all he surveys. Actually, he rules all he is allowed to survey by the lovely Delph.

The Sultan reacted to the news that the “nonprofit” Darts Regulations Authority (DRA) Disciplinary Committee – had fined Mr. Adrian Lewis £3,000 for acting like “Adrian Lewis.” He queried, “The DRA claims to be nonprofit, but how can they exist without fining players? Not that players shouldn’t be answerable to rule breaks, but it must pose the question: what happens to the fines collected from players if not to pay the expenses of those that fine them?”

The Sultan of Sittingbourne wants answers! So justo ahora the Old Dart Coach was called into action. With trembling fingers dancing over the computer keyboard the ODC fired off an email to the PDC Media Department. A gentleman there, probably muttering “Not him again,” suggested that an email instead to the DRA might provide some answers…

It’s now 3 weeks later with not only no answer but also no recognition that the ODC even made a request. Yes, his already overinflated ego took yet another arrow.

It’s as if the DRA is parroting the role of Alfonso Bedoya from the movie The Treasure Madre. When Bedoya was asked by the authorities to “Show your badge!” he replied…

“Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and chinga tu madre.”

Insert “answers” for “badges.” The DRA non-answer is plain “in your face” as taking out 114 with dbull-14-dbull which Michael van Gerwen did recently in a Players Championship final.

In today’s culture if the DRA had gotten up feeling its feminine side dominate they might have played the regal Marie-Antoinette card by saying, Qu’ils mangent de la brioche. The world translates that to mean “Let them eat cake.” The actual translation is “Let them eat brioche.”

You say brioche I say “cake.” Some may remember that Queen Marie got drunk on power, as Queens used to do. When the serfs rose up during the French Revolution she was convicted of high treason and executed by guillotine in 1793.

As the French critic Jean-Baptiste Alphonse said, Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. To translate: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

The DRA has as its goal to be the ruling body for darts, amateur and professional. They are reverting to the ways of the WDF, ADO and BDO when they rule much like Queen Marie Marie-Antoinette.

American journalist Sydney J. Harris is one of many who is credited with the sage observation, “History repeats itself, but in such cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is done.”

A person with a great knowledge of the PDC and the fine levied against Mr. Lewis tossed in his thoughts worth a few farthings. “It’s quite normal inasmuch as his penalty would have been more had he not made the apology. He (Lewis) couldn’t give monkeys f**t about apologizing to his opponent for whatever happened. The PDC were only interested in an apology to the sponsors of the event no matter how token.”

The Dart Players of New York, Los Angeles and the CDC have instituted “long format matches.” This an attempt to possibly give North American players a better chance of cracking the PDC by going through their Championship Players events. The reigning world champion, Robb Cross, got into the World Championships because of his play in Players Championships.

Cross is having a rocky start especially in the Premier League where until back-to-back wins over Wright and Barney he’d been snydered. Last season he logged £115,250 from Players events alone. Last year’s World Champion “Marvelous” has owned Players events this year, winning 6 events worth a cool £60,000.

With ADO points becoming less meaningful more top players are turning to long format steel point events to improve their skills. They use machine darts for money. Both the Dart Players of New York and Los Angeles provide that long format experience.

The DPLA held their first 2018 events with Mesa Arizona’s Chuck Puleo starting the year like he ended the last. With a quality field that included western darting star Chris “Great” White, David “The King” Fatum, Sean “Even Money” Downs and Chris “The Other” Lim, Puleo ruled them all as he took down Fatum (8-6) and White (8-6) for the pair of wins.

Puleo is a rare darter with both a BA and MBA, doesn’t drink and eschews the use of social media. I’m ANTI-SOCIAL MEDIA, too much drama and self-promotion. I prefer to let my darts do the talking. I understand the importance of social media for sponsorship, but unless the right deal comes along, I will not be entering that jungle anytime soon.

Old time darters on earth and in heaven are asking, “How the hell did this guy get into darts?”

The answer is simple. Like an out of work musician wandering lost around New York City he stopped a man on the street…

“Excuse me, but how to you get to Carnegie Hall?”

“Practice, practice, practice.”

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.