Column #HR390 Now, the rest of the story…

Thursday, January 19, 2023
Column HR390
Now, the rest of the story…

When one door closes another door opens.  (Alexander Graham Bell)

Days after the ADO put the kibosh on a comprehensive Golden Age Darters’ Reunion the ODC received an unsolicited offer from Paula Duritza Bushey, tournament director of the Virginia Beach Classic

I wanted to talk to you about the Senior events you all were trying to put together in Vegas.  We have our youth room available on Friday, as well as Saturday after 4:00 if you all would like to use it.  There is a bar right around the corner and you wouldn’t have to pay anything for the room.  

The ODC accepted.  A meeting was arranged.  In preparation the ODC sent the following…

Paula… I thought I’d touch base with you before we speak.  With the room available for Friday and Saturday after 4:00 p.m. it’s the perfect setting for our events.  In addition to a Senior Open we would like to include the Senior Reunion.  At this point, the age requirement starts at 50 for both men and women.  If you feel this might interfere with the Classic that is changeable.  The concept (is for) a “fun” event.  Little or no entry fee.  A possible schedule:  Friday 4:00 pm. – Opening/Welcome, Men’s Singles Senior Masters age 50+, Men’s Golden Age Singles 65+, Lady’s Singles Senior Masters 50+ and Lady’s Golden Age Singles 65+.  On Saturday – Golden Age Mixed Pairs (total age: over 120+ and to be called “THE STACY BROMBERG SENIOR OPEN”.  1) What are the expected costs associated with utilizing the junior’s room?  2) Will it be possible (for a cost) to utilize Darts Connect for the draw and scoring?  Look forward to talking and am deeply appreciative of your offer. 

Paula was busy, causing a delay.  Subsequent messages to reschedule were sent to her on November 18, 21 and 28, all unanswered.  Finally, the ODC sent the following message…

Paula… Your lack of response is in fact a response.  I’m sad that a Senior Open at the VBDC will not be held.  I was looking forward to it from the standpoint that it would be something innovative to keep darters engaged.  I firmly believe that there will be Senior Opens that will include more than just darts.  

Note to Alexander Graham Bell: The doors that open can also close.

Might the ADO have prompted Paula’s sudden silence?

Anything is possible.

Later Paula would post: TADA and the VBDC staff is pleased to announce that the 36th Annual Virginia Beach Dart Classic has been chosen to be a WDF Silver and WDF Youth Tournament!

Well, well.  That’s curious…

In 2022, the ADO gave them WDF ranking without their applying.  It was refused.  Paula then wrote…

NO WDF points this time.  In 2021 there was some late night /early morning play.  “(with) WDF sanction we tried our best to abide by their rules.  Honestly, we didn’t have the bandwidth to police the drinking (even though we tried) because we had multiple events (doubles and singles) going on at the same time.  

The Senior Reunion looked for sponsors.  A call to A-Z Darts, owned by Golden Age Darter John Baxter, was unsuccessful.  Russ Lopez talked with the A-Z marketing person named Jen who said, We’ll put it on our website.  Subsequent emails to Jen went unanswered.

Jerry Feather was successful in getting Horizon Darts (Melody Foster) as a sponsor.  That ended when Ms. Foster was erroneously told the event was cancelled.  In an attempt to restore the sponsorship, the ODC communicated with her via a third person on November 6.  Included in her response was, Tell Howie that Matt Stoner wants him to call.  I don’t have the #.  (Neither did the ODC.)

In declining to reinstate her sponsorship commitment, Ms. Foster, in effect, confirmed what she didn’t explicitly state: she doesn’t care about older darters because they don’t spend money at her store.

Geezers made Horizon Darts.

The following day, November 7, Stoner sent this message to a friend: So, I have been informed there has been some type of overthrow of sorts.  Howie is making all the final decisions for the Reunion.  Howie needs to contact me ASAP if we are going to get this sorted out.   

Stoner’s statement was false.  He knew full well that the ODC was making the decisions and had asked two others to deal with the ADO.  Russ Lopez stepped aside when his son passed away.  Chuck Hudson was kind enough to step in (he served on the ADO board with Stoner).  A third person also contacted Stoner trying to help (that person never represented themselves as the final decision maker).

Stoner: How is Howie Reed at the Tuscany trying to set up a side deal.  Never happened.

Stoner: He’s asking about a separate room with bar and food.  Why is this of any business of the ADO?

Stoner continued: Howie needs to call me like yesterday because this whole thing is on the brink of blowing up in their face and the ADO will not be made to look like the bad guys.  You don’t attempt to hold a tournament inside of a tournament and have the nerve to request the things they have after years of publicly bashing the ADO.  If Howie doesn’t contact me today, we will release our statement.    

And a threat from Stoner: So, I need this cleared up or I will shut it down.  This is not cool.  No, Mr. Stoner – threating a person is never cool.

Stoner called, obviously with no intention of sorting out anything.

The ADO statement was issued on its Facebook page…

Some offered “‘atta boys” for those standing tall against the ADO’s lies.  Others flat-out condemned the ADO.  Some posts disappeared, “mysteriously” vanished (or were removed by the ADO?) – with only a brief notice still visible: Most relevant is selected, so some replies may have been filtered out.  Hmmm.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  There are only three ways for a Facebook post to be removed: 1) by the page owner (so, in this case the ADO), 2) by the person who posted or 3) by Facebook – done when they consider a post in violation of their rules – exceedingly profane, porn or when a post is deemed to be outright false.]

Julia Miller’s post disappeared: That’s not right, it’s gone.

Most relevant removed precedes Lisa Farrell’s post: Do you really think your attendees care?  I would say not.  I’m disappointed that petty personal differences and politics led to this post.  You should be ashamed.

Also tagged with Most relevant removed was a post by Meg Stansberry and as her Irish heritage would suggest, she pulled no punches.  My previous post disappeared so here it is again: Where are the fact-checkers on this crap?  This (the ADO statement) reads like a bad version of telephone with two cans and a string.

A seminal event was shut down by the ADO.

Dictatorships survive when not held accountable for their actions.  The ADO is a dictatorship.  The ADO board is “elected” by a handful of people who decide who can run and who can vote.

The scaled down Reunion will be held.  No bells or whistles.  It’s a shame because bells and whistles sell and are memorable – they create a buzz which attracts people to subsequent gatherings.  The committee still has a suite stocked with refreshments and a large screen TV to watch the NFL games.

Yes, what has transpired, what the ADO has fomented behind the scenes every step of the way, has left a solid and extremely sour first impression.  As Will Rogers said: You never get a second chance to make a first impression and as J.K. Rowling advised: A good first impression can work wonders.  

The ODC’s first impression of Matt Stoner?

He’s probably a pretty good guy who loves darts.  He probably thought the Senior Reunion was a good idea until his ADO dictators “re-educated” him.  He became Pinocchio and the ADO his Geppetto, forcing him to be the bandy rooster in the empty barnyard.  He’s told so many Porkys that his honker should be the size of Steve Martin’s in the movie Roxanne.

George Orwell wrote: However much you deny the truth, the truth goes on existing.   

Sure, anything is possible…

But some things are probable.  Some things, particularly when they come in a series, are too unlikely to be coincidences – and the sum of the many exposed in this two-part series is as transparent as a just shined window.

The ADO has worked to quash the Golden Age Darter’s Reunion at every turn.  They “handled” Matt Stoner.  They may have gotten to Paula Bushey when she reached out in good faith.  Their fingerprints are all over the scuttling of arrangements at the Tuscany.  They no doubt caused members of the Reunion Committee to not defend the truth and let a noble idea die.

The ADO, yet again, has shown itself to be the antithesis of everything a so-called “governing body” should be – this time trashing from the weeds a well-intentioned concept to honor the very players who blazed the trail for those who love the sport today.

So, the ADO definitely won this battle.  But not yet the war.

In the not-too-distant future the ADO will disappear from the scene.  Only then will they fulfill their mission to “promote darts.”

No reason the be thirsty.

The following two tabs change content below.
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

Latest posts by Howie Reed (see all)