Column #HR254 NEWS ALERT times deux!

Monday, April 1, 2019
Column HR254
NEWS ALERT times deux!

As all in the world darting universe are aware, the Old Dart Coach is always described as “calm, cool and collected.” It’s possible that Rudyard Kipling was writing about him when he penned, “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…”  Two items of some note here: 1) the name Rudyard is not pronounced “Rudy Yard” and 2) if your name is Marie Antoinette this description would not apply.

NEWS ALERT: Raymond van Barneveld, after suffering his second 7-1 defeat in 24 hours during Premier League play, said Zonder Meer!!! (No more!!!), deciding to retire immediately.  Barney, playing in his home country, left his Army in stunned silence and disbelief. The duo embarrassment was compounded as the final loss was to countryman Michael van Gerwen. 

We now return you to Toeing the Oche…

The great Jerry Umberger, once called “Umby” by a really good writer Ms. Janet Searcy-Wintermuith (it was Jerry who christened Houston Hartwell Reed II “The Coach”). That was at a time when the aforementioned “HHR II” using skill, guile and his cult-like people skills coached the gold-winning team at the Pacific Cup to a bronze. On that he has been built a career, becoming an international star, author and bon vivant of little renown.

The ODC, with a voice for silent movies, a face for radio and the writing skills of an aardvark, is highly critical of those that ply those trades.  He’s completely at ease with his actions under the license issued by George Bernard Shaw in 1903 when he wrote, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

Darts at the PDC level has evolved from a game to a sport – a game being an “activity providing entertainment or amusement; a pastime: party games; word games” as opposed to a sport which is “physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.” With the metamorphosis from game to sport has come pressure, rock star fame and money.

The internet is a great invention that facilitates communication and knowledge. Negatively, it’s a platform that many use to spout endless intellectually-ignorant drivel under the guise of opinion. Everyone has opinions and like backsides some should be ignored.

Darts seem to bring out the worst. The ODC is tired of them all.

“How tired?”

“Lili Von Shtupp tired.”

(Editor’s note: Lili Von Shtupp was the Madeline Kahn character in the movie Blazing Saddles. She was really tired.)

One such individual, using disgustingly foul language, seems hell bent to Hana to slag everything and everyone to justify his miserable existence. “I don’t pretend to be a journalist, it’s just me giving my opinions, highlighting people’s hypocrisy, stupidly etc.” It’s understandable – ducking the journalist tag while shinning the light on his own shortcomings. In short, he writes about himself.

PDC Darts as a sport demands new techniques. Using a coach is highly advisable.  Darts has for years had managers whose task it is/was to keep the player earning.  The late Tommy Cox was an example of the manager allowing the player to earn a living.  A combination manager/coach was the late John Markovic who along with Dr. “WB” Batten had two world champions: Keith Deller and Bob Anderson.

This ODC’s current rant was prompted by a posting which commented on two-time world champion Adrian “Big Baby” Lewis extricating himself from manager/coach Keith Deller. “Why would a two-time world champion need to take advice from a guy who won less than he did in his career?” Being a world champion or winning titles does not necessarily mean that someone has coaching ability.  Many very good natural ability players have no “eye dear” how to teach the game.

The coach must detect nuances that effect a player’s ability to perform at top level. It’s another question whether todays “rock star” players are coachable.  With Lewis, like Pogo, the answer was simple: he was and is the problem as his nickname “Big Baby” implies.

The Imbecile of the Internet then offered his advice to ITV and Sky TV.  “They need to **** out Mardle Mason and all those who never won a major. Replace them with players who actually won something – at least their opinion would be valuable. That’s why Bristow was superb on comms.”  This individual has no understanding of the role of a TV darts commentator.

The best commentator ever was Sid Waddell who lost to the ODC once in the “reporters” Embassy – which defined his dart prowess.  The position of commentator calls for a little dart experience, a little knowledge, a little language skill and a whole lot of personality.  It has “Sweet Fanny Adams” to do with titles.  Mardle, Part, and Harrington check all the boxes (school’s still out on Webster). Eric Bristow was successful because he was Eric Bristow with a personality bigger than all outdoors.

NEWS ALERT: We again interrupt Toeing the Oche with the news that Raymond van Barneveld has decided to unretire one day after retiring.  “For months my life has been a rollercoaster of emotions. My personal problems got the better of me. Yesterday all those emotions came together, and I couldn’t handle that. I felt ashamed on stage in front of my family, my friends and the Barney Army. I felt I let everyone down and that pain was very hard to deal with. In the heat of the moment I only wanted to never feel that again, but I realize that I should not speak out like that when I feel such raw emotion.”

We now return you to Toeing the Oche…

The current King of the Oche, Michael van Gerwen, started his march through the European Tour with a win in Leverkusen last week. The £140,000 event added £25,000 to the Marvelous One’s ever expanding bank account.  En route to his 8-6 “nail bitter” over Rob Cross he had an unique 9-darter in his semi 7-5 win over Mensur Suljović.  The leg started with the usual T80 which was followed with a T74 leaving 147.  Then, the fun began as van Gerwen went treble 19, red bull and double tops, proving yet again there is more than one way to skin a cat or toss a 9-darter.

While calm, cool and collected the ODC paid his yearly visit to the doctor.  As the age advances so do the question…

“Do you have anxieties?”

“Well, no, but I do get PO’d.”

“That’s anxieties.”

“Who knew?”

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.