Column #HR223 Champions

Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Column HR223
Champions

In life and sport – which some equate – there are some undeniable truths. Beer is better ice cold, common sense seldom is, conventional wisdom is usually neither and according to Roger Miller “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd.” With that predicate accepted we continue. In life and sport there are those that rise above others. In sport we call them champions. In life they’re called mothers.

For years, Wheaties put photos of champions -although not mothers – on boxes of breakfast cereal and called themselves “The Breakfast of Champions.” The subliminal message was “Eat Wheaties and become a champion.” Becoming a mother takes a little more effort. The Old Dart Coach ate Wheaties every morning with little positive effect.

Over the years, in two sports, the ODC’s success rate was less than his pal – former 11-year Major Leaguer Duke Sims who hit 239.4 with 100 homers. Granted the ODC did hit .349 for the Mighty Diablo Valley College Vikings.

There are people that have “IT” in sport and life. They rise above the pack to become champions. In golf there were players that hit shots better than Jack, Arnie, Tiger and Phil but they never became household names. In baseball it was Ted, Willy and Joe. Michael Jordan is in a class of his own even though some could jump higher, shoot better and won more championships. In darts there’s Mr. Lowe, Eric and Phil to name but three.

Philip Douglas Taylor is one of those athletics with “IT.”

Taylor was in Tokyo to compete in the 2018 edition of Super Darts where first place paid a lovely $94,563.74 USD with the runner up getting $18,912.50.The ODC quoted Taylor as maybe saying, “This is the most important event of my life. All the players are great. I’m telling you the truth.” He did say, “I’ll have to play my very best just to survive my first match again Alex Reyes. No, I’ve not looked at the bracket.”

Anyone that thought Taylor would enter this competition unprepared did not understand what sets Taylor, and other champions, apart. It’s pride that dictates the motivation to come prepared. Champions enter a knife fight with an AK-47. Taylor took care of Alex Reyes 3-1, then Harith “No Relation” Lim 3-1 before hanging a “snyder” (3-0) on Japan’s Shuichi Enokum to reach the finals. All three of his victims came with the credentials that would label them great in the soft point world.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the draw Chris “He’s My Dad” Lim took out 2017 Super Darts Champion Keita “I’m Not Yoko” Ono 3-1. Chris won two of those legs with double 18 after his first two darts at the double failed to connect. The format up to the finals was 701-cricket-cricket-701-choice. Chris would lose in the quarters 3-1 to 2017 Blue Champion Haruki Muramatsu – which would eliminate the chances of a father-son semifinal as Paul “The Legend” Lim was marching to the semifinals.

“The Legend” did it with convincing wins over Japans Shingo Enomata (3-1) and Frances Jacques Labre (3-2). He would lose the first leg in each match before taking control although he escaped against Labre when the Frog threw some strange looking wayward darts. Against Muramatsu, Lim would fall behind 1-0 and 2-1 before leveling at 2 with a bull dictating a 5th leg. Lim would win the bull in the decider, choosing cricket.

Only a moron-stupid-idiot would criticize a player’s cricket strategy when the “conventional wisdom” works 90% of the time. The ODC, who qualifies in all three categories, is of the opinion that cricket is the only game of darts that has a defense. If someone is kicking your brains out throwing a number close the darn thing. The current conventional wisdom is to rack up points at all cost. Lim didn’t.

Lim was in control needing only 2-bulls and a 15 for the match as Muramatsu required 4 bulls to flip the leg and match. Lim’s first dart nailed the bull. His next dart missed the fat 15. In all the years the ODC has known Mr. Lim he has never seen Lim ratted or show emotion during a match. The missed 15 did it. Twice Lim would step away from the oche shaking his head in disbelief.

The chances are he was thinking “傻逼” while muttering “shǎbī.”

If Lim were a fan of Shakespeare and in particular Richard III, Act V, Scene IV he might have been thinking, “For want of a fifteen the leg was lost, for want of a leg the match was lost.”

Lim’s third dart hit the bull which gave Muramatsu 3-darts in hand for 4-bulls. Piece of cake. Game over as Muramatsu had taken out the Lim family in Super Darts 2018.

The final between Phil Taylor and Haruki Muramatsu went all 7 legs with Muramatsu winning 4-3. As the ODC wrote, “The idea that Taylor was going to ride off in the sunset, kiss the decrepitly gorgeous school marm and then work to solve work hunger was fantasy. He left the PDC answering the call of green pastures crying out “MONEY!”

He can, if he chooses, hit the DARTSLIVE “Majors” and have a spot of fun and make money. Chances are he may be in Las Vegas in May and in Singapore come June. As Ron & The Rude Boys sang, “My God how the money rolls in.”

For those that watched Super Darts 2018 on YouTube – that’s no longer available – they had to be taken by the dulcets tone of the English speaking announcer that knew nothing about darts while never missing an opportunity to display his condition. If he were a mule he wouldn’t know “gee” from “ha.” For a company like Sega to hire someone so devoid of knowledge in their first effort to hit the English speaking market is a mystery. Here’s one of his jewels.

“The players are warming up good so this promises to be a great match.”

Don’t blame the announcer as he was just getting a paycheck. Blame those that hire or utilize announcers for streaming darts that bring nothing to the table. Sega Sammy, the owners of DARTSLIVE and many other successful ventures, is a first class operation that hired a pretty empty voice that was an empty vessel of dart knowledge. When darts was last on ESPN Jay Tomlinson, for Bulls Eye Marketing, had the good sense to utilize Hall of Fame sport announcer Chris Berman assisted by the Old Dart Coach. In year two when the ODC acted like a horses’ ass the late Barry Twomlow became the expert.

It’s a fair question to ask, “How can the ODC with a face for radio and a voice for silent movies be critical of a darts commentator/announcer?”

It’s his column.

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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