Column #HR281 Beware! They walk among us!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Column HR281
Beware! They walk among us!

With sports in virtual mode until goodness knows when, the Old Dart Coach has to actually do some creative thinking – a task which many, including his Most Honorable Editor, label “impossible.”

The PDC has transformed into virtual group matches called the Unibet Home Tour on Thursday nights. In this event 4 players will play from their homes in a round robin format. 128 players will compete over the course of 32 nights. Some of the big names in the PDC have opted out including Gary “Gary, Gary” Anderson, Michael van Gerwen, Barney and Daryl Gurney. Others may follow.

Needing 128 players there’s a great chance that some non-card holders will be included as some players will play more than once. The format?  Best of 9.  The winners of each of the 32 nights advance to the next round. The excitement is palpable which equates to a “non-fever pitch.” The alternative is actually talking with a “maybe significant other (sometimes a stranger)” while being home quarantined.

In the Colonies “Chainsaw” Joe Chaney is playing virtual games on Facebook. Viewers who are hooked on these virtual matches have been cooped up way too long – probably having run thought jigsaw puzzles, knitting and painting the bathroom while running low on spirits.

In one case, someone, “…found a woman in my house. Had a long chat with her. Seems she’s my wife. Rather pleasant person and she cooks.”

Dave Justice was one of the early great London players. He always played the game in coat and tie.  One night while pub crawling with Roger Nickson in London the ODC was introduced to Justice. Nickson mentioned in passing that Justice used to play for London. In coat and tie Justice asked the ODC if he’d like a game. The ODC, figuring he could beat anyone who played in coat and tie, accepted. It was a slaughter which the Humane Society should have stopped. A shamefaced ODC pleaded an injury, stopping the massacre.

Justice contacted the ODC to inform him that the Robert Burns’ quote in the last column was incomplete. The ODC wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,” leaving off, “Gang aft agley.”  Justice noted that, “I’m sure Jocky Wilson would have picked you up on it.” The ODC replied that most of his readers have trouble with Yankee-talk let along Scottish.

Justice remembers a 1970’s radio match played in the Kingsway Tavern. He played alongside the greats Tommy O’Regan and Alan “The Ton Machine” Glazier for the BDO Counties London side. Great story from them Golden Years.

Really old Geezers will remember the 1914 melodrama film serial, The Perils of Pauline. Pauline appeared in the cinema each week with another short installment from 20 to 30 minutes in length.  Each episode ended when poor Pauline was being “menaced by assorted villains, including pirates and Indians” with no chance of surviving. Then, as if by magic, when the next episode began Pauline was miraculously saved only to find herself in peril again as the episode ended.

Europe last saw The Perils of Pauline in 1916 and America in 1920. But fear not, dart fans – as tired as you may be of virtual this and virtual that, Pauline has returned in the form of the British Darts Organization – providing a death-defying crisis each week.

Perennially on the precipice, the BDO reaches out again and again for a “lifesaving rope” only to grab onto previously tried “remedies” that were dismal failures (like the definition of insanity) -praying for or expecting different results.

It’s doubtful that the dart God is listening.

The ODC has made many predictions, some of them wrong. With that verified he will make no prediction about the BDO or the World Dart Federation. He’ll merely report the news.

On March 17th, Des Jacklin resigned as the Chairman of the BDO.  Just a month later, he was persuaded to run – maybe for Chairman. The word “persuaded” is appropriate as it’s been reported by a sometimes reliable source that “Jacklin initially declined the invitation, although he subsequently reversed that decision and will now return to the BDO fold, however he will not resume his role as Chairman, it is claimed.”

He was then re-elected as “maybe Chairman” by 66% of those who represent the counties of the BDO.

As Joe Friday (Dragnet) would say, “Just the facts Ma’am.”

During Mr. Jacklin’s tenure the BDO made £700,000 disappear, Houdini-like. In the last year alone, the BDO made £468,000 go bye-bye

During last year’s World Masters, it was reported that fake names were entered into the draw which prompted a re-draw of qualifiers. There have been reports that this action benefited Jacklin’s wife.

Due to this controversy (pronounced “con TRAV IS he” by the Motha Country) the World Dart Federation will no longer recognize BDO-operated tournaments. (The WDF for years was under the thumb of the BDO doing more tricks on command than a monkey with 28 feet of rope.)

The last two “major” BDO tournaments (the World Masters and the BDO “Not Nearly” World Championships) have been unmitigated disasters. The BDO “Not Nearly” World Championships changed venues after eons resulting in empty seats disguised as dart fans. The amount paid to the men’s champion, Wayne Warren, was £23,000, which was the lowest sum in 30 years (and a 77% decrease from 2019).

There are reports that Jacklin will not return as Chairman but instead oversee finances before the next Annual General Meeting at which time a decision will be made, or not. That makes as much sense as the ODC guarding the last supply of Miller Genuine or Popeye’s Chicken – or setting Bill Clinton loose in a girl’s high school.

Nothing in darts is official until the Sage of Sittingbourne, Dave Whitcomb, opines. He has filed a report about being physically and emotionally abused during the quarantine.  Regardless, knowing his place in history he has posted, “Whomever voted Des back on the board wants their head examined, and like quick. This is just one disaster over another, and the counties must love the mess. The first chance to leave the players get they will take it.”

Another (alternative) view posted: “Des will haul the BDO back to the pinnacle of World Sport, the governing bodies of other sports will be clamoring for his services within 12 months. We (the BDO family) should think ourselves lucky to have him (and his missus).”

The Sage’s take on this? “Totally agree. There will be an almighty queue of sponsors and tv soon, lockdown or not!”

Then Anthony Eno wrote: “Dave Whitcombe’s not wrong – then the haters will see how great the BDO family is.”

Mr. Eno doesn’t recognize the sarcastic key on a computer.

Beware! They walk among us!

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.