JB#19 Darts Stereotypes – What do young people think about darts?

Monday, April 21, 2014
Column JB19
Darts Stereotypes – What do young people think about darts?

Stereotypes are rife in our society today. I think they are the downfall in our culture. I admit stereotypes can be made in good humour but equally they can also be disrespectful and rude. Stereotypes will never disappear and none of us can help making them but why should we judge someone based on their nationality, hobby or race?

I see that 64% of Dartoid’s World’s viewers are American. So what did you think when you saw that your new columnist was English? Would it surprise you if I told you that I don’t drink tea, eat scones or talk with a posh accent! These stereotypes are so infuriating and i’m sure you would be equally annoyed if I thought that all Americans loved McDonalds, were super patriotic and carried a gun. I think we are all in agreement about frustrating stereotypes and these stereotypes are also a problem in our favourite sport.

Old, fat and drunk are just 3 words I often hear amongst young people when they talk about darts. As I am in my last year of high school, most of my school friends know how much I love the game of darts. This leads to many friends questioning my love for the game as in their opinion it is just a game for “old and fat” men and “none of them ever pass drugs tests”. In this post, I am going to do my best to prove that darts doesn’t fit all the typical stereotypes and that even though the players don’t exactly look like Cristiano Ronaldo, they are still valiant sportsmen.

Firstly, the main stereotype that annoys me about darts amongst young people is the belief that it is only a sport for old men. This is a totally unfounded and old fashioned comment. Our current world champion is only 24 years old. Also, as a mean average, the top 10 players in the world are 39 years old and the top 32 are 41 years old. Now this may not be as young as all the footballers, cricketers and rugby players out there but it shows that it is not an old man’s game and that young men can hold their own against the older men of darts. This is proven as there are 5 players 30 or under in the world’s top 32. I also think that the fact that the players are slightly older than in other sports shows how unbelievably hard these players have worked for many years in order to reach the standard they are at.

Another common misconception about darts is that the players are “drunk” and can only play when they are “drinking beer”. Personally, I do not understand why this misconception still exists today as players have been banned from drinking alcohol during matches since 1989. I know there is no rule about drinking alcohol pre-match but I think if a player was drunk, i’m sure it would affect his game! The PDC also use the same doping agency that was used to test for drugs at the Olympics and all darts players are regularly checked for a variety of drugs including beta blockers. Therefore, when I heard a fellow young person say that “none of them ever pass drugs tests” it made me realise that many people are still making judgements on the game based on the game 30 years ago.

Finally, the last opinion I would like to argue against is that darts is “not even a sport”. Darts was officially recognised as a sport by Sport England in 2005 and the campaign to make darts an olympic sport by 2020 is gathering pace. The official definition of a sport is ‘an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.’ Therefore, darts clearly fits this definition. It clearly involves physical exertion as could you play darts sitting down or standing still? Do the darts take themselves out of the dart board? In addition, it clearly involves a huge amount of skill, players compete against each other and darts is a very entertaining spectacle for everyone involved. As a result, it fits every aspect of the definition. If snooker, archery and arm wrestling are sports then how can darts not be?

To conclude, I can’t change the stereotype of darts in one article and I can’t prove that the players aren’t possibly fatter or older than other sportsmen. But why does this matter? The world just needs to embrace darts as the unbelievable sport that it is. The only thing I want to happen is that everyone who has a negative view on darts, sits down to watch the Premier League Darts on a Thursday night and I guarantee at least one aspect of your opinion will be changed.

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Jamie Barron
Hailing from Yorkshire, England, 16-year-old Jamie "Jambo" Barron is a passionate darts fan who is looking forward to taking A-Level Media Studies and pursuing a career in sports journalism. More of Jamie's excellent writings can be found at his blog: http://www.jambosdarts.blogspot.co.uk/
Jamie Barron

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