Column #HR265 The British are coming! (Paul Revere was a loudmouth!)

Friday, June 28, 2019
Column HR265
The British are coming! (Paul Revere was a loudmouth!)

In just days, the PDC invasion of Las Vegas will be in full swing. The Old Dart Coach’s pals and palettes will be there in all their once remembered glory. On the 4th of July (which may be America’s 243rd birthday depending on the ODC’s math, which is questionable) old timers will be wearing either old darts shirts or just grand old red, white and blue.

DK (Dave Kelly) and the ODC have their outfits picked out.

The fact is that while independence was declared on July 2, 1776, it wasn’t until July 4th that Congress approved the final text – and it wasn’t signed (by 56 delegates, not all of whom were present on the day) until August 2nd. Why then, one might reasonably ask, do we celebrate on the 4th of July and not on July 2nd or even August 2nd?

Indeed, in his writings, “John Adams even noted that July 2nd would be remembered in the annals of American history and would be marked with fireworks and celebrations.”

The answer: the final document was dated July 4th – the date of the final text – and just never changed to the actual date of declaration.

In the days leading up to the North American Championships and U.S. Darts Masters starting July 2 at Mandalay Bay, social media has been alive with opinions about “what’s wrong with the ADO.”   Darts in America was even a subject of an unattributed story in the UK’s Guardian Weekly.

The article stated that, “the ADO has 100,000 players and 700 dedicated (players) with total dart players in the USA at 17 million.” The 17 million figure comes from the National Sporting Goods Association. The number is as phony as Elizabeth Warren being an Indian (feather, not dot).

Then we’re told that “the PDC itself is featured on ESPN.”  That of course is untrue.  ESPN does show Cornhole (an ancient Greek sport) so maybe darts is next. The final “pork pie lie” is that US leagues also generally play cricket, which is true but not so much these days with steel darts.

Back to social media, one person posted, “It’s the old timers that wrecked steel darts.” As a certified “OT” the ODC had to answer…

“If you really want to know when the ADO went south look back to the late 1980s.  At a dart tournament in Schaumburg, Illinois, three or four of the ADO executives took a short morning trip to meet with a soft-tip group (American Darters Association – ADA) in Wisconsin run by a former ADO VP, the late Glenn Remick. Remick had brokered a sponsorship with Anheuser-Busch. He made his pitch that his ADA players join the ADO. The ADO executive answered with the equivalent of ‘Go pound salt!’” They reasoned, ‘Why do we need you?’ The rest is history. What was the ADO executives’ motive?  Prue conjecture, although many opinions are correct.”

With entries still open when this was written, the North American Championships have more than 150 entries for each of the four qualifiers. The total North American prize fund is $60,000. That’s real money.  The entries are an increase over the previous year.  This indicates the increased popularity of the event. Heck, it pays more than most ADO tournaments and there’s no cricket. Each stage winner will pocket $2,000 and the runner-up $1,000. The 8 that make the stage are assured at least $1,250 with the winner taking home $10,000. If you make it to the top 128 in any qualifier you get $100, which is the entry fee for each event.

It gets better for the top 8 Norte Americanos as playing in the U.S Masters assures them of $1,250 even if they lose first round against the PDC professionals. The U.S. Masters winner gets $20,000.  Winner-winner chicken dinner.

Included on the entry list is someone who qualifiers as an old timer – and who is one hell of a dart player. Last July, Larry Butler suffered a heart attack shortly after competition in the PDC World Cup. Recovery has been difficult but that hasn’t deterred Butler.  Facing adversity and overcoming is in his DNA. His competitive spirit has never been questioned. Joining him will be his best friend, fellow Dayton resident Timmy “The Stache” Nicoll. One of America’s top players for several years, in late June Nicoll was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Recently released from the hospital, he begins his toughest fight on July 17 when he begins chemotherapy.  Expect to see a lot of “staches” in the crowd at Mandalay Bay.

With more than 150 entries there are more well-known names than this column has space for.  Notable though are former three-time world champion John Part joined by fellow “hockey puck fans” father-and-son duo Dan Lauby and Danny Lauby. Toss in Chuck Puleo, last year’s winner Jeff Smith, Dawson Murschell and America’s aces Jim Widmayer, Roger Carter and Chris “The Great” White.

Yeah, the ODC knows that White is Canadian. The ODC traded the rights to White for not posting nasty comments on Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. That plus the fact that White lives in the Peoples Republic of California which is also known as “Más alto de California.”

The top 8 have a high hill to climb when they face last year’s winner Gary Anderson, current world champ Michael van Gerwen, Rob Cross, Daryl “The Chin” Gurney, Peter “Snake Bite” Wright, Gerwyn Price, Michael Smith and upcoming star Nathan Aspinall. All but Anderson and Cross have taken a pass on the 2019 Czech Darts Open the penultimate week before the Las Vegas invasion.

There’s always one upset against the professionals. Well, sometimes. Most would point to Aspinall as the weak link in the PDC chain. The ODC’s leans toward either Daryl Gurney, Peter Wright or Michael Smith. All have at times shown the “ICGAS” attitude. Anderson and van Gerwen will approach Las Vegas as a well-paid exhibition while for Aspinall this is a big deal with him coming loaded for North American hides.

A couple final notes…

The 4th of July means red, white and blue. That’s an order, not an option – got that Seaman Deane?

In one of her books mystery writer Tami Hoag has a woman saying, “Men, you can’t live with ’em and you can’t open a pickle jar without them.”  The pickle reference is for pal Timmy Nicoll as he beats the hell out of cancer, just like he does the treble 20.

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.