Column #HR212 You can take a player out of England but you can’t take the England out of the player!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Column HR212
You can take a player out of England but you can’t take the England out of the player!

It takes a great deal to shock the Old Dart Coach, even more to jar the very roots of his being.

This happened recently, twice within days.

The ODC was sure he was going to take more hits than the men’s restroom at halftime of the Florida-Georgia football game after he wrote of the ADO’s World Cup Team, “The entire American women’s team, except for titian-haired Paula Murphy, was horrid. Once a darting nation to be feared, now the American ladies are a joke. A bad joke at that.”

Just like in the song Home on the Range, not a discouraging was received. This means that either he was 1) spot on, 2) people were afraid to write in response, or 3) no one read the column. Those reading this column may take the third option.

The ODC and his editor, the fearless-one Dartoid, take Option 1.

The truth is that it’s probably a case of “potato – patata.”

The fact remains that the steel standard of darts in America is lower than Harvey Weinstein’s morals. The lowest ever. During a conversation with former American international darting star, Lenny Heard, he made it clear that he retired from the top level of darts as steel tournaments disappeared (thanks soft point) and travel became more expensive.

Heard was not your average “enter a tournament hope to cash while having a few beverages” kind of guy. No, he expected to win, and often did, while empting pockets of cash using not only his darts but also with an always handy cribbage board.

A native of England, Heard immigrated in the early 1970s. In 1979, he was part of the American World Cup Team that included Connie Daniels, Jerry Umberger and the late Nicky Virachkul. That event was held in Las Vegas. He was also a member of the ADO Pacific Cup Team that won the gold on October 3, 1984 in Auckland, New Zealand. That team also included Kathy Karpowich, Kathy Hopkins and Tony Payne. Just two years before, KK – or 2K to friends – missed double 12 in Hawaii for the Pacific Cup gold. In Auckland she hit double 12 for first International Team gold for America. Them was the days.

The ODC was there as a spectator as by ’84 he had been deemed “persona no grata” by the ADO ruling class. Never one to allow a meddling opportunity to pass, he of course stuck his nose where it wasn’t appreciated by the ruling class. His meddling included a “minor dust up with the Australian captain,” a really good guy. And he provided moral support to Mr. Heard when he explained to an Australian player that if he kicked the oche one more time he would do some “kicking” of his own – and it wouldn’t be the oche that took a licking.

The pièces de résistance for the ODC occurred at the end of the first day’s play. Only one match remained before the knockout round. America was safely qualified in all events as was Australia save for one of the mixed doubles. That team would play Singapore the next day. The star for Singapore was Paul Lim. The ODC went to Lim as they were leaving the hall…

“Russell said playing you is like picking flowers.”

“Plicking flowers? I’ll show him plicking flowers.”

Lim and partner won 3-0 and the rest his history.

The ODC also expected to take some incoming when he wrote of the World Cup and those nations that declined to attend, “Perhaps this is an indication of the decline of steel point and the WDF.” Here the choices for no comment are limited to “no one cares.” That’s truly a shame as it shows the decline of the BDO/WDF which is of importance to American players – only because their malady is shared with the ADO.

The Sage of Sittingbourne, Sir David Whitcombe, writes pointedly of the BDO’s problems (the letters “ADO” could well be inserted…

Here is the rub. The BDO (ADO) does NOT offer anything that can even remotely be similar to the PDC. Please don’t take this the wrong way but the PDC started with nothing so anything is achievable. In the BDO (ADO) there is not one person who has any idea about how to get sponsors, while the PDC has a queue of them. BDO (ADO) tournaments are in dire straits. The “darts for all” only includes players up until they reach pro standard, then as there is nothing for them clear off to the PDC, as it was years ago, as it will be years from now. Because ALL of it is a mess, top to bottom or bottom to top, whatever. 2025. Same old arguments and the PDC soldier on while this side has excuses.

Both organizations – WDF/BDO – claim the Lakeside BDO World Championship as the “real world championship.” This year, World Cup singles winner Jeff Smith – and former Lakeside finalist – has said “thanks but no thanks” as he’ll play instead in the PDC World Championships. Joining Smith at the Ally Pally will be World Masters champion Krzysztof Ratajski from Poland. Smith’s departure was especially embarrassing for the BDO as he had just been named their North American representative. Paul Lim will again be in the lineup being joined by America’s fav “Chainsaw” Joe Chaney.

On a roll, Smith was in Kansas City where he hit the PPD (soft point) TOC – which means Tournament of Champions – for a nifty $20,000. Good for him. There was a little controversy (pronounced “Con TRA IS See”) in the men’s singles match between Adam Stella of Canada and Tony Martin of England. There’s an old statement which the ODC just made up: “You can take a dart player out of England but you can’t take the England out of the player.”

Not only did England invent darts but also the little tricks – called “gamesmanship” – that might swing a match. There was the cough, the sneeze and the occasional well placed fart. Those that have read One Night While Drinking with the Fat Swede will know that the ODC mastered the later ploy to a “T.” (Editor’s note: If you haven’t read the ODC’s book you need to order NOW for Christmas.)

During the playing of the PDC TOC men’s singles when play got to the round of 8 Adam Stella (Canada) was playing Tony Martin (England). The following account was provided by a fellow dart player…

This was game 7. Tony Martin (England) clearly loses the bull. Acknowledges he loses. Adam pulls darts, sets the game up and gets ready to throw then Tony says “I didn’t see the bull. Lol. So Adam, being the nice guy he is and who had clearly won the bull said “We can redo.” Tony wins the bull and wins the final game – and this was a winner’s bracket game. Complete “*******” – lost total respect for him.

Yep, you can take a player out of England but you can’t take the England out of the player.

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.