Column #379 A Pause for the Cause

Thursday, November 10, 2022
Column HR380
A Pause for the Cause

Most sports participants take brief respites from the grind of competition.  Darts kinda took a deep breath last weekend…

Across the big pond was the final chance to qualify for the PDC (How’s Your ?) Cazoo Grand Slam of Darts starting this weekend.  It’ll be fun listening to John McDonald pronounce Wolverhampton.  ‘Tis the last TV biggie before the World Championships and with £650,000 in the pot and £150,000 to the winner it’s a big deal.

The Slam runs a full week plus a day.

Gerwyn Price defends.  The 32-person field is divided into eight groups of four playing round robin.  With groups, like in the Soccer World Cup, there’s usually a “death group”.  Not this time – although Group B with Danny Noppert, Simon Whitlock, Mensur Suljovic and Christian Perez could qualify with the usual caveat that all need to play well.  DAH.

Two ladies and Leonard Gates are in the field.  Lisa Ashton faces Michael Smith to start.  Fallon Sherrock again plays Peter Wright – in their last TV encounter Ms. Sherrock fell just a few stray darts short of a win.  Yank Leonard Gates starts with Jonny Clayton.  Gates can win if he doesn’t have to count.  Toeing the Oche will have early results next week.  Action starts this Saturday.

Memories of New Mexico and the New Mexico Open (“Oh no, here again goes the old geezer taking a trip back in his fading memory”)…

The State of New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment.  It’s unique.  A friend and the Old Dart Coach left the Colorado Open in Denver by car on a Monday morning and headed to Phoenix for the Roadrunner Classic.  In the early afternoon came a pitstop just across the New Mexico line – at a little spot comprised of a welcoming sign and an Artic Freeze.

The Artic Freeze was empty except for two Native American teenagers at a table.  The ordering window was devoid of human life…

“Don’t worry guys, someone will show up soon” advised one of the teenagers.

Someone did.  Order placed.

Then, one of the Native Americans went to the window.  His buddy said, “Get me a small coke.”

“Do I look like Mother Teresa to you?”

Teenager doing stick.  Great.

We were on Route 66.  “It winds from Chicago to LA, more than two thousand miles all the way, get your kicks on Route 66.”  The song was by Bobby Troup, should you axe.

We spent the night in Gallup at the famous El Rey Court Hotel – a movie star hangout in the 1940s and 1950s when shooting cowboy movies in the area.

We asked the desk clerk about good Mexican food.  “We have the best”…

It was a big restaurant with a long bar as barren as the Gobi.  A waitress appeared.  We ordered chips, bean dip and two ice cold beers.

“No can do beer.  Our liquor license was suspended.  Ends tomorrow.”

“How can you have Mexican food with no beer?”

“Honey, walk across the street.  Buy your beer.  Put it in a paper bag.  Bring it back put it under the table.  I’ll bring you a bucket of ice.”

Off we go…

“We’d like a 6-pack of Coors (we knew no better) – please but it in a bag.”

“Guess you’re eating dinner across the street…”

The New Mexican Open was famous for the Temperance Singles.  It started at 10:00 AM on Sunday.  State law didn’t allow liquor service until 1:00 PM…

We arrived at 9:00 AM and complained about no “aiming fluid” – when Lois Miller (Los Angeles) said, “want some orange juice?”

“No thank you.  I have ORANGE juice in the thermos.”

Then the light bulb shone brightly.  Russian orange juice.  Others had Russian tomato juice.  The tungsten God works in mysterious ways.

The Temperance may be gone.  Rather than seeking aiming fluid, the ladies had to deal with Brenda Roush.  She hit the darting lottery – having some kind of tournament.  Roush took one singles and was runner-up in another.  She took one women’s doubles with partner Rene Ripol and was runner up in the other.  Then, a mixed triples title.  WOW.

More recently, another lady had herself one of those weekends on the beach of Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.  It was the 3rd Battle on the Beach, a $20,000 soft tip event.  Paula “The Titian Tornado” Murphy was “en fuego” winning two singles and a pair of doubles with Kimberly Panti.  WOW.  How about a bottle of Gallo Chablis in a paper bag?

“Chainsaw” Joe Cheney took a week off from steel darts for a trip to the dark side of machine darts.  He added another “Laurence Welk” to his many laurels.  In the cricket he lost in the main draw sending him to the loser’s round.  Escaping the loser’s tag, he found himself in the final-final against Kenny Doyle.

Doyle is alternately described as either a “white-bearded flip-flop-wearing darter” or a “61-year-old beast of a dart thrower from Florida.”

Doyle, sans flip-flops and tossing flame used his first three trips to the oche in the final throwing 9, 9, 7.  Cheney came back to take the leg, then rolled to a 3-0 set win.  Coming from the losers round he needed two sets for the win.  He took the second set 3-1.  Cheney won 6-1 against the best.

Cheney finished runner up in the 501 losing to Seth Stefano.  Cheney won the first when Stefano scooped up two on the trot for the win (2-1, 2-1).

There’s one darter that never takes a pause for the cause – like the old Timex commercial he just “keeps on ticking”…

If Larry “The Eagle” Butler, was performing at one of the showrooms on Las Vegas Strip, the marquee outside would need only display “LARRY.”  In darts he’s the equivalent of showbiz stars Frank, Cher and Sammy.

Last weekend, there was a bundle of players at the second-to-last DPC (Dart Players Chicago) event of the year.  The occasion saw Butler end the reign and unbeaten streak of Jason “The Bearded Dart Guy” Watt with a 7-3 win.

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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