Column #HR282 Alright already!

Thursday, May 21, 2020
Column HR282
Alright already!

Like most everyone the Old Dart Coach has had it up to here with the coronavirus or Covid-19.  Photos of the virus, which looks like a golf ball sprouting mushrooms, appear wherever one looks. As the late Irene Maude Reed would say (using a fake Jewish accent to sound like Molly Goldberg of the original Goldberg’s TV show), “Alright already!”

While all sports have been affected most will bounce back with ridiculous ease. NASCAR has already started in the Colonies.  That won’t be the case for steel darts in the USA.

Our sport in the USA has been on tender hooks for years ever since machine darts took center stage. The break of a year isn’t going to help.  Machine darts (a game) will come roaring back since each league or area has a promoter (operator) and pub owners whose financial wellbeing is at stake. “Follow the money!”

The ODC thought that the “little guy” in Jerry McGuire said, “Follow the money.” He was wrong – the “little guy” said, “Show Me the money.”  So close.

In real life “Follow the money” is attributed to Mark Felt, aka “Deep Throat” of Watergate notoriety. (The ODC went with Linda Lovelace.)

The American Darts Organization (ADO) tournament schedule has been shredded like parmesan over a nice pasta. They’re not alone as the WDF/BDO/PDC have major cancellations followed by hope and a prayer re-scheduling at a later date.  That scenario is dodgy at best as everyone and their brother (even if they don’t have one) is pontificating on when sports will return.

Darts has made an attempt to remain “prevalent” with virtual matches that have all the excitement of the sun rising in the East and setting in the West. Using that as a given the ODC, known for reporting drivel, will report on two virtual matches only because they involved Phil Taylor playing a pair of ladies.  To add a touch of legitimacy there were financial enhancements for the players that went to charity.  T80s were worth £1,000 and a one dart out £200. To the ODC a “one-dart out” is a myth perpetrated by people who can actually play.

Taylor’s first Paddy Power match against Raymond van Barneveld raised £15,000 for charity. Taylor was up 6-2 but then lost 4 on the trot to end up on the short end of 7-6.

When Taylor met Fallen Sherrock the game was played on a machine board. To give the feeling of “real” the players, in their respective homes, were introduced by the smartly dressed and exuberant John McDonald.  Despite standing in front of a wall with only a dartboard he was brilliant. When he finished, he checked the mike and then exited as the camera followed out the door – showing him sans shoes.  Heck, a guy can’t remember everything.

The match itself was fun when Taylor won the first leg, then fell behind 4-2, 5-3 and 5-4 before drawing level at 5 in the race to 7.

Taylor went ahead 6-5 when Sherrock threw 7 perfect darts leaving 81. She then went for the T19 hitting a single then tossed for a T15 and hit it, leaving 17.  Taylor took out 46 with 3.  Sherrock would level at 6.

In the decider Sherrock had the darts and opened with back-to-back T80s, then 60 to leave 81 with Taylor away at 167…

No problemo! 60-57-dead bull. Winner-winner chicken dinner.  Taylor would average 116 as opposed to Sherrock’s 121. They would win £16,200 for the National Health Service.

The resplendent John McDonald out did himself when introducing the match between Phil Taylor and “Miracle” Mikuru Suzuki. When introducing Taylor, he was looking skyward, possibly taking his cues from the Tungsten God (as most should when mentioning the name Phil “The Power” Taylor).

When finished, McDonald could be heard saying, “Not bad that. Smashing. Didn’t forget anything.”  Then he clapped his hands and exited stage right as the camera followed – displaying the fact that McDonald forgot his pants.  He’s a boxer guy.

Taylor jumped ahead from the get-go, leading 5-2. With 3 on the trot Suzuki leveled at 5 but fell short, losing 7-5.  At 6-5 Taylor wanted 189.  He threw T80 which gained £1,000 for his charity but left him with 9 which he took out with 3. The pair earned £11,200 for their charities.

There’s an Irish Lug Head who purports to comment on darts. The real fact is that he seldom has a kind word to say for anyone. One of his constant targets is darts commentator Wayne Mardle.  As Nurse Jackie says when the ODC picks on her “Stop it!”  The charity dart matches were made much more viewable thanks to Mardle’s commentary.  He’s good so stuff it you Irish Potato Head.

Roger “The Dodger” Nickson remembers the night that “Coat & Tie” David Justice brought the ODC to his knees at the Oche..

“The night out was in Camden Town; I believe we went to an Italian before meeting Dave in the “Mother Red Cap.”  Justice comes from the old days of darts and is still living up to the spirit of the days.

“Just spoke to Dave; yesterday he took 3 weeks washing down his local launderette at 11:30 am along with a bottle of Jack D.”

Lesson learned. Never go to the launderette without the proper essentials. Wonder if soap was included although it doesn’t go well with Jack D.

George Santayana wrote, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” In darts that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

The aforementioned Roger Nickson was Governor of three dart famous pubs around London – The Morning Star (aka The Morning Sickness), The Cricketers and The Lewisham Arms.  “Dixon” was also the Secretary of the first Players Association.  Back then, he wrote everything in cursive handwriting.  Nickson has established a Facebook page called Darts from the Past.  In just a short time it has more than 3,500 friends.  Those in the Colonies who remember fondly those Golden Days might check it out.  There are posts from Bill Specht, DK (Dave Kelly), Russ Lopez and even the ODC. Them was the days.

The ODC found a new friend on Facebook – a darter from England. His daily posts provide a chuckle. Two of his latest…

“Don’t believe everything you read in public toilets! Sharon was not up for a good time! What an awkward phone call that was.”

“The Irish have solved their fuel problems and imported 5 million tons of sand from Kuwait.  They’re going to drill for their own oil.”

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.