Column #HR163 YELLOW WATERMELLON?
Monday, April 4, 2016
“Shirley you’re kidding?”
“I’m serious and don’t call me Shirley.” (The late Leslie Nielson in Airport! 1980.)
It was a seminal moment when the Old Dart Coach read the following from the ”official” spokesman for the PDC in a press release that went around the world…
“’MARVELLOUS‘ Michael van Gerwen made it a perfect ten of European Tour titles as he came from behind to end Peter Wright’s German Darts Masters dreams and retain his crown.”
The ODC was over the moon as the “official” PDC has accepted his nickname for van Gerwen. He was Cool and the Gang singing Celebration from the bottom of his baby heart. This is the first time in eons that a Norte Americano effected the “tea and crumpet” set of the PDC in the Motha Country. Quick, grab the 1-800 number for the Guinness Book of World Records before they change their minds.
If a watermelon can be yellow – and the ODC saw one, ate some and was not into the Golden Elixir at the time – then can an email be right, wrong, argumentative and informative? As with everything in the world of darts, the decision’s in the hands of the beer-holder…
An email arrived at the temporary corporate headquarters of the ODC located in the luxurious Bay Breeze Hotel, Soi Honey (named after the brothel that was once the street’s most prominent feature). Some even call the street “Soi Horney.”
The email was but eight words. The writer grades each effort with their very own rating system:
“No email” = boo.
“Nice” = okay.
“Very nice = twice as good as “nice” (for those rare occasions when the column’s a keeper – Hall of Fame material brings a “Very nice!”
Now, add to the rating system: “Not much about darts but “nice – very nice!” (Yep, that’s eight words.)
Please keep in mind the phrase “not much about darts and then consider that darts in North America in NOT a professional sport. It’s a bar game played and enjoyed while having a refreshing beverage or 20. Those Americans who consider themselves or the sport “professional” are delusional. Like art, if you check their provenience it’s often lacking. Ask them, “Does anyone pay to watch you play?” The answer of course is a resounding “NO!”
Many are under the impression that darts owes them a profitable living because they play well. Hogwash. 99.99% of North Americans don’t give a Reindeers Rear about “a stupid game where you throw at the bull.” Also keep in mind that the ”stupid game where you throw at the bull” – machine darts – is doing very well, thank you. To steel darters: “Get over yourselves,” quit whining and Get a Job. (The Silhouettes – 1957)
Oh yes, and you “professional” players: quit posting after a tournament about how well the tournament was run when your early round draws were “Failed to Show,” “To Be Announced,” and “You Bring Your Own Darts?” The entire world knows you really mean “Thanks for the kissing your sister draws.”
In big tournaments a straight draw is a rare as Hillary telling the truth. Many years ago, the ODC lost a “maybe-could-be-love-of-his-life” to a honest-straight draw…. or was it?
The steel game was nurtured by people gathering at the local for fellowship while engaging in “pub life.” There are characteristics of bar people which during the Golden Age in North American darts were plainly visible. Some vestiges of that remain but today mostly in the soft point game where the “no host floating cocktail party” has moved into the machine age. Want steel darts to regain its lost prominence? Figure a way for pub owners to make “machine dart” money from steel darts. Case closed – cue Cool and the Gang.
In his soon to be published book, One Night I Was Out Drinking With the Fat Swede, the subject of pub people is further developed. The sender of the email was correct that under the strict definition of “darts” there was “not much about darts.” There comes a time when writing about “Marvelous” Michael van Gerwen winning another event becomes tedious. That should evoke yawns similar to the “clown’s mouth” found on Taka Tanaka’s Putt-Putt Course from the movie Major League III – Back to the Minors.
Bill Dwyre, the former long-time sports editor of the Los Angeles Times, was asked to do a series of articles on this Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight. Pacquiao is a great fan of darts, having promoted and played in events. In the body of one story is found, ”Great reading does not come from bland descriptions of left hooks and fancy footwork. Nor does it come from statistics.” Replace “left hooks” with “T80’s,” “fancy footwork” with “checkouts over 100,” and “statistics” with “scoring average and out-shot percentage” and you’ll have the ODC’s opinion about darts in the literal sense.
One story not found in his soon to be published book occurred recently in Pattaya Beach, Thailand.
Out last night with Mr. Stefan Lord (two-time winner of the News of the World) the ODC was checking out the dance emporiums (some call them go-go’s, but what’s in a name?). At one stop with a stage for walking to music in the center and with tables on both sides, sipping our beers, the ODC looked across the room and swore he saw Tommy Cox. Cox is the retired tournament director of the PDC and one of those forces that made the PDC what it is today. He had a gruff and unsmiling manner while enforcing the PDC rules to the letter of the law (well, except where Phil Taylor was involved, but still without a smile)..
“Mr. Lord, doesn’t that fellow there look like Tommy Cox?”
“I guess so, but a little heavier.”
“Nope, I was wrong, it’s not him.”
“How do you know?”
“He just smiled.”
Here’s a tip for people running beginning steel point leagues (some call these leagues “The Race for the Ace,” as most games end up fighting for the double 1). Once at a fun beginners/lousy player league in Pattaya, both sides got to double 1. Players then got three darts to hit the double 1, regardless of where their other darts hit. Good idea.
Finally from a great player from the Golden Age…
Mary had a little pig,
She always kept it plastered.
When the price of pork went up,
She shot the little bastard.
Stay thirsty my friends.
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