Column #HR280 Danger in success

Monday, April 13, 2020
Column HR280
Danger in success

From Day One the Old Dart Coach has exalted what the Professional Dart Corporation has done for darts.

During a recent phone conversation, a longtime force in darts said, “I never would have believed what has happened and where the sport is today.”  He was spot on.

Twenty years ago, if anyone was to suggest that a dart player would earn £1,675,000 (or $2,064,169 in real money) the guys in white coats carrying butterfly nets would have tracked him down with offers of a full ride at an institution not of his choosing.

Current PDC rankings list 32 players with earnings of more than £162,500 ($200,322).  Forty-nine have earned more than £100,500 ($123,275).  Even considering that this is a two-year rolling total it’s still great.

By any criteria the PDC is a remarkable success.  But while there’s always danger in failure there can also be danger in success.

The increasing irrelevance of the BDO, ADO and WDF is the result of some great successes enabled in large part because for many years they had no organized competition.  But over time those organizations stopped listening to anyone not “in the circle” resulting in stagnation peppered with a large dose of self-aggrandizement to support already inflated collections of bloated egos. Taking their advice was like taking diet advice from a subject on My 600 Pound Life.

The PDC hierarchy could potentially isolate themselves from outside ideas while assuming the position to embrace the “critical mass of political correctness.”  This action never increases popularly.  Playing to the “PC” crowd is a fool’s plan.

The 18th-century Scottish poet Robert Burns is given credit for writing “best-laid plans of mice and men oft(en) go astray.”  While a program or plan may have some merit in placating critics one must beware of unexpected consequences as they can sometimes be a killer.  It’s too easy to forget that “critics” are interested in advancing their own agenda, not yours.

During the playing of the last two PDC world dart championships two lady darters were included in the competition, taking the place of two male PDC players.  The two male players who cast their lot with the PDC were rewarded with the “ridged digit.”

First, it was Lisa Ashton and Anastasia “The Russia Fox” Dobromyslova.  This year, it was Fallon Sherrock and “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki.

It’s the ODC’s humble opinion that the PDC was praying for a Suzuki win.  A win by her would have been gangbusters.  Enter Robert Burns as Fallon made it into the third round thereby being crowned “The Queen of the Palace.”

No one can dispute that inviting these talented ladies was anything but a publicity stunt – along the line of using reusable cups for pints to save fish in the ocean.  Silly.

Everyone involved in darts should bow three or four times a day towards wherever PDC Chairman PDC Barry Hearn happens to be.

When the first two women were included in the draw Hearn said (probably with a sly grin), “We haven’t done it to look good.” The statement had the ODC rolling on the floor with tears in his eyes.  Then, just as the ODC’s condition resolved itself, Hearn added, “There should be no restrictions in a sport based on ability.”

That’s pure sophistry as the PDC is based on ability.  For her performance, surviving two rounds, Sherrock got an invite for one Premier night and some World Series of Darts events.  The latter has been dubbed “the Fallon Sherrock road show.”

Enter Robert Burns.  And in stepped the Coronavirus (aka The Kung Flu) to put the kibosh on darts and all sports.

The PDC at first “postponed” the U.S. Dart Masters scheduled for New York City.  The ODC at the time predicted the event would be canceled.  It later was, allowing the PDC extras time to keep advanced sales ticket money.

One PDC darter joined the ODC in seeing through the charade.  “How pathetic it is that they claim to have postponed the U.S. Masters when they, in fact, cancelled it.  It’s not like there will be two U.S. Masters events in 2021.  It’s a pathetic linguistic con job.  It’s a predictable knife in the back of the North American game.”

With all sports at a standstill TV is replaying old events, most of which the ODC didn’t care about when they were live.

There are darts available on YouTube, one of which features the first lady to beat a man on TV.  The lady in question fell behind 3-1 to Aaorn Turner at the 2005 Budweiser UK Open after she led 1-nil.

Turner, with the darts, lead early in the 5th leg only to have the lady pin back-to-back tons for her first lead.  When they traded tons, the lady got to 104 as Turner wanted 160.  He managed 100 to leave 60.  The lady stepped up with 18, t18 and d16 for the leg and leveled the match at 3.

After a so-so start, the lady, with the darts, collected t40 and ton for a lead that allowed her to survive a t80 by Turner – that moved him within 2 points (178-176).  The lady garnered a ton to leave 76.  Turner managed a mere 60.  The lady missed d18 for the match leaving 18.  At 118 Turner missed the t20 with the dreaded t5.

Wanting 18, the lady’s first dart was wire high, blocking a portion of the red of the desired pie.  The second was spot on.

Queen Deta Headman became the first female darter to win a match against a male on live TV.  The Queen reigned – and still does.

From the “Golden Age” was the Pub Challenge when pubs played via a telephone…

Roger ‘The Dodger” Nickson, then Governor of the Morning Star in Peckham, got a call from a pub in San Francisco for such a match.

The late Phil Jones was called into officiate.

The Brits gave the ‘mickey’ to the colonists (as they have want to do) on the other end of the phone.  With Jones assistance “we kept adjusting (our) scores downwards so they wouldn’t lose interest (i.e. 140 became 85).”

The original phone call came because someone had heard about the Morning Star from a travelling Brit…

“When we agreed to the game, we thought we were taking on San Francisco’s finest.  A month later, a trophy arrived all engraved by the ‘fun dart team’ sponsored by a local paper to create a story.”

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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