Column #HR444 ALERT!

Thursday, February 8, 2024
Column HR4443 
ALERT!

The famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, emerged from his mole hole.  He didn’t see his shadow so there’ll be an early spring.  Phil, who lives in Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, peeked out of his hole on Groundhog Day for his annual visit to the daylight.  How he knew it was Groundhog Day is a mystery unless he has cable television.  Another mystery unsolved.

The first of 17 nights of the PDC Premier League play are in the books.  The PL venue in Cardiff welcomed the debut (pronounced DEE BUTT) of the two Lukes who in early 2024 have dominated the PDC.  Luke Humphries, The Elder, is the reigning world #1 and current World Champion.  Luke Littler, The Younger, is causing more attention than Taylor Swift will at this week’s Super Bowl in Las Vegas between the Kansas City “Chefs” and San Francisco “Forty-Whiners”.

Most of the focus in the Motorpoint Arena was on local hero Gerwyn Price along with the matchup between the two Lukes.  Price thrilled the hometown fans last year by emerging triumphant on PL opening night.  This year, he strolled by Rob Cross (6-2) – then came a cropper against a new and improved Michael Smith 6-2. Strangely the crowd hardly noticed as they were full of “sing ugly and loud fluid” that seemed to hold their goldfish like attention.

Luke the Younger seems to have the old “gri-gri” on Luke The Older.  Since Littler’s loss in the World Championship final he’s beaten The Older like a drum.  In 2024, the series stands Littler 3-1 up. Some would be inclined to credit Humphries’ losses to the “World Championship Jinx”.  In their latest meeting at the PL last week, Littler took Humphries’ measure 6-2.   Littler jumped out to a 4-1 lead as Humphries missed 6-doubles giving 2-legs away.  Up 3-1, Littler hammered home an 11-darter, then costed to the win.

The Masters was the PDC’s first major televised event of the year.  The unlikely winner was one Stephen “Family Guy” Bunting.  “Unlikely” in that he had yet to taste victory in a major.  Bet it tasted good.  From the quarter finals on, he was in another planet.  In dispatching Peter Wright (10-2) and Nathan Aspinall (11-1) he went 21-3 – with only 3 legs more than 16 darts!

On the other side of the draw Michael van Gerwen marched to the final with an 11-2 hit job on Dimitri Van den Bergh.

While both semis led to the consumption of singing fluid the final was a barnburner.  Each held to 3-all when Bunting then broke in 14 darts and with an 11-darter moved to a 5-3 lead.  MvG missed 3 to fall behind 6-3.  But then, MvG used 12 and 15 darts twice to level at 6.  Each held for level 7.  Then MvG was merely a spectator as Bunting reeled off 4 on the trot for the title.

Overlooked in the coverage of the Las Vegas Open (LVO) amidst the ugly treatment of a lady player by ADO president Jim Widmayer was the refreshing, and typical, actions of one Chuck Hudson.  (One must wonder why “Captain America” hasn’t been called out and charged by some clear-thinking, good for the sport focused, ADO board member as he clearly violated Article VI of the ADO By-laws.  In case you haven’t read them they state, to wit:

Article VI – ADO Censure, Probation, Fines, Suspension and Expulsion

Section 1 – Categorically, and without restriction, the ADO reserves the right to censure, fine, suspend, or expel (terminate) any Member Person (regardless of category) or Officer who willfully creates disharmony, behaves in a manner prejudicial to order and discipline or tarnishes the image of the sport of darts.

Surely this describes Mr. Widmayer’s actions to a to a “T”.

Sandy Huson got an atta-boy for her play in the LVO – though many overlook what Chuck Hudson may have accomplished.  Many are familiar with the World Dart Federation’s banning English/Russian citizen Anastasia Dobromyslova from WDF play.  Hudson had a t-shirt printed that proclaimed: “FREE ANASTASIA”.  During Sunday play, he traveled about the venue in his shirt securing photos with various darters. Among them were Fallon Sherrock and Leonard Gates.  Good for you Fallon and others.

In their initial ruling the WDF stated that they were following Olympic guidelines.  That was not true as under Olympic rules Russian and Belarusian competitors could compete under a neutral flag – as Ms. Dobromyslova was doing at the time she was banned.  Not so according to the WDF.

Following Hudson photo cascade, the WDF again addressed the subject. They produced a word salad that did little more than take up space…

Following this update to the IOC’s stance, the WDF Executive conducted a heavy review of the restrictions on Russian and Belarusian players and officials in their first meeting of 2024. Following those conversations, the decision was taken to uphold the current suspension on Russian and Belarusian players and officials participating in WDF sanctioned events.

This is totally “Bull Stuff”.  Now, the WDF doesn’t even take the time to lie about the Olympic stance to support their position.  They have destroyed a young lady’s career by taking the absurd position that just because Russia invaded a country Ms. Dobromyslova had some hand in the assault because she was born in Russia.

For the record, The International Olympic Committee stated as follows…

Athletes from Russia and its ally Belarus would be able to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics as neutrals, outside of team events and as long as they did not actively support the conflict with Ukraine.”

Does Ms. Dobromyslova support the conflict in Ukraine?  It’s doubtful that the WDF asked her and if she did, “So what?”   

To repeat, Following this update to the IOC’s stance, the WDF Executive conducted a heavy review of the restrictions on Russian and Belarusian players and officials in their first meeting of 2024. 

Gotta to love it!

The WDF Executive conducted a “heavy review” – whatever that is.  The WDF’s President Bill Hatter (Canada) and VP. Buddy Bartoletta (USA) should be ashamed of themselves – except they have no shame.  In this era when women must fight for their sporting rights, the WDF has totally trampled the rights of Ms. Dobromyslova.

One person could change this overnight.  If Beau Greaves told the WDF “I’m out of here unless Anastasia Dobromyslova is allowed to play” the ban would end.  For international star power Ms. Greaves is all the WDF has.

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.