Column #HR104 Some of today’s professionals have short memories

Monday, January 6, 2014
Column HR104
Some of today’s professionals have short memories

Here’s the deal.  Because this “new and improved” website was still under construction over the holidays you missed some things during the changeover.  For example, you missed the always eagerly anticipated annual Toeing the Oche Christmas column.

That would have included the singing of “Deck the Halls with Balls from Holly” and “Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree” but no  “Hark and the Harold Angels” singing  about “dawning their gay apparel.”  A&E we ain’t.

You missed eggnog with the suggestion of mistletoe “hung everywhere with care in hopes that a hottie soon will be there.” For dart players the mistletoe should have been pinned to the backside bottom of their darting shirt to be seen and acted upon by dart organizations everywhere, PDC excluded.  You also missed the ODC’s observation that “bad boys get nothing for Christmas while bad girls get whatever they desire.”

The PDC Ladbrokes World Championship is over with a new world champion crowned.  Prior to the first dart The Lord of Pattaya axed, “Can anyone but van Gerwen or Taylor win?”  With apologies to Bob Dylan – who himself ought to apologize for his lousy voice that has captivated millions of dopers – “…the others are blowing in the wind.”

Unless you subscribed to the PDC live stream you couldn’t have watched a more exciting event – with more twists and turns than San Francisco’s Lombard Street. The ODC relented and signed up, but not without problems. Initially  the PDC site wouldn’t accept his email address.  His email brought the following response…

“Please try subscribing again from the main page as we have now deleted your email ID from the database.”  Signed, “Best regards, Guru.”  Sounds like a NSA deal.

Still unsuccessful, the ODC emailed…

“Dear Guru. I STILL cannot subscribe. For reasons that elude me my email address is unacceptable. Merry Christmas.  Are you same people that are running America’s health care sign-up site? Just axing.”

Muru answered (Muru this time – don’t know why).  And the third time was the charm.   Had it not worked then Guru (and Muru) would have received…

“Okay guys – you seem to be having a problem with my sign up. How about  this, can you get me a chicken vindaloo, tandoori chicken and some garlic naan?”

The new PDC World Champion is – insert drum roll – Michael van Gerwen by 7-4 (sets) over Peter “Snake Bite” Wright. With the win van Gerwen collected £250,000 and the Sid Waddell Trophy.  He also displaces Phil Taylor at the top of the Order of Merit. Ole’ Snakebite did okay for himself with a nifty £100,000 for the runner up spot.  Of course, millions are asking the  question, “Does he go out in public made-up like that?”

Phil Douglas Taylor?  He was send packing by PDC Youth Champion Michael Smith 4-3. Prior to the match Taylor said, “I’m probably playing the best darts of my career.”  Hmm. Maybe not.

Taylor started fast taking the first set 3-0. He got to  3-2, just one set from victory. Smith would tie it at 3 sets with a 3-0 blanking which included two breaks of Taylor’s throw.  The final set was a classic with Taylor missing 4 darts to move up 2 legs to nil. Smith drew level at 2 with an 11-darter which forced a tie-break where a player must win by 2 legs.  Smith, up 3-2, hit a 180 and then a 128-check on the bull for the win.

It was a glorious event with more entertainment per dollar than a “monkey with 28 feet of rope.”  It was not always this way. When the forerunner of the PDC, the WDC, staged their first “World Championship” it was at the Circus Tavern, 20 years ago.  George Santayana could have been taking to current PDC professionals when he  said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  Some of today’s professionals have short memories.

Not Mr. John Lowe, who wrote…

“I have received messages saying ‘well done’ on the achievements made by the PDC.  Twenty years ago at the Circus Tavern we only had 24 players.  That  was all we could find to join us – it should have been 32. Chris Johns and Mike Gregory had deflected back to the BDO with cold feet. SKY TV was threatening to pull the plug if any more players left. It was a rocky start. We played a round robin format, not entirely a success but that was all we could do. It was a momentous happening for myself.  I was the reigning BDO World Champion but took the stance I did with 13 other players. I was banned from all BDO events.”

Joining those 13 players were American players Jim Watkins, Gerald Verrrier , Dave Kelly, Jerry Umberger, Sean Downs, Larry Butler and Steve Brown.  Without them joining there would be no PDC. The PDC has bad memories as they continue to give the “rigid digit” to America.  The first players association fell apart  mainly because it was an exclusive group with only a couple of Yanks invited to join and no Eric Bristow.

For Mr. Lowe the commitment was bigger than anyone  knew…

“When I made this public, Peter Dyke, the head of Embassy Productions, offered me 20,000-plus and an Embassy road show tour if I would play in the BDO championships the next three years. I decided my principles and the livelihood of my fellow professionals was the reason I made the decision to leave the BDO. This offer – that can only be described as a bribe – would haunt me the rest of my life, had I accepted.  I have looked back and wondered if I made the right decision.  I found out over time that manipulation of events and positions for certain players did not change.”

“A few players who had verbally abused myself and the breakaway group have benefited enormously. I know it should be in the past, but it’s  important we do not forget. If 24 players had not played that first PDC world championship it’s possible we would not be enjoying the Ladbroke.com championship today.

The ODC got a holiday note from a female friend…

“A Facebook friend came up to me at a blind draw.  He said he saw Howie Reed name as having read/commented on one of my posts. I explained how long we had been friends. He looked at me funny and said, ‘We didn’t think he was real. We thought Dartoid made him up.’  (Dartoid responds: “Serioulsy?  Who the hell would ever want to create anything that even remotely resembled Howie Reed!)

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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