Author Archives: Dartoid

Column #617 OUTRAGEOUS! The ADO has gotta GO!

Tuesday, September 8, 2022
Column 617
OUTRAGEOUS!  The ADO has gotta GO!

Yesterday, former ADO president David Hascup took no issue with current ADO vice president, Matt Stoner’s transparent reference to Howie Reed and others, no doubt me, who have long seen the ADO for the sham it is, when Stoner posted: “I just lump them in the group of people who owe the ADO money.”

OWE THE ADO MONEY!  

It is the ADO board – a handful of people “elected” by a handful of people, most without a lick of business experience, that has been taking advantage of and taking money from players and leagues, FOR YEARS.

It is the ADO board that hasn’t made public how it spends what it rakes in, FOR YEARS.

It is the ADO board that didn’t file with the IRS, FOR YEARS, and ultimately had their status revoked.

It is the ADO board (when it was discovered substantial funds – funds collected from event surcharges and leagues – were missing from its coffers) that hasn’t disclosed what happened, FOR YEARS.

It isn’t Howie Reed or me or any older former player – all who once travelled the country to tournaments and supported the ADO – who “owe” the ADO.  It’s unequivocally the other way around.

The organization is a mess, has long been a mess and it is the ADO that owes the players and leagues AND THE SPORT it is supposed to “govern” a host of explanations.

That the sort of comment Stoner made and Hascup seemingly has no issue with is all the ADO has to offer when called out on their lies is just one more reason, among so many, why the organization should receive no further player or league support and deserves its place in the trash bin of failures.

The ADO made its own bed.  It’s long past time that darts in America needs to say “good riddance” and move on.

Column #616 Almost 25 years ago… at Blueberry Hill

Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Column 616
Almost 25 years ago… at Blueberry Hill

As the St. Louis Blueberry Hill tournament just celebrated its 50th anniversary, the occasion seems appropriate to share the following ditty from almost 25 years ago.  This year’s winner, Gavin Nicoll, wasn’t even born…

It was in Sports Illustrated.  I swear it was.  In part (and I paraphrase), it read: “While the quirks and cliche’s… are undeniable, it is also undoubtedly a sport, no more eccentric than (others).  It places a premium on endurance and precision and calls for (the) application of athleticism and esthetics to the art of making the near impossible look easy.  It exacts a kind of pain.  It’s as tough a thing, albeit as odd a one, as a human can choose to do.  There’s even a traveling team called the “Corkettes”.

Darts perhaps?  Fat chance.  No, this story by Jeff MacGregor was about that ROUGH AND TUMBLE sport among sports: synchronized swimming.  And that’s no exaggeration.  I know for a fact that the hard-drinking ladies of the U.S. Olympic Synchronized Team once kicked the butts of the ladies of the U.S. Olympic Ballroom Dancing Team in a best three-out-of-five mud-wrestling extravaganza at Bud’s Country Lounge in Peoria, Illinois. I suppose I could have been mistaken — they may have been local girls.  They were, after all, quite covered in mud.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally read Sports Illustrated.  Oh, I’ve been known to pick up the swimsuit issue occasionally (okay, religiously, but that’s because I used to swim competitively, and I like to stay current on things.  But for the past several months, I have headed to the news stand weekly to purchase the latest issue.  And each time I have been disappointed.  When exactly does the swimsuit issue come out anyway?  Seriously, the lady at the Revco checkout and I are now on a first name basis.  Her name is Tuesday and I think she may be on the U.S. Olympic Synchronized Swimming Team.

Anyway, this odyssey all began months ago at the Blueberry Hill Tournament in St. Louis.  I flew out on the same plane as Doreen Berry, and she punched out the pilot.  Okay, that’s a lie.

If you haven’t been to Blueberry Hill, the popular Chuck Berry hangout in the University Loop, you simply gotta get there.  Millionaire hippie owner, Joe Edwards — who seems committed to everything that actually mattered in the 1960’s — has created a pop-culture Mecca that puts the Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood to shame. From the Duck Room to the Elvis Room to the Dart Room, it’s a cavernous affair punctuated with an extraordinary collection of memorabilia and probably the most extensive jukebox collection in the world. Virtually every other item on the menu has been rated one of the best in St. Louis at one time or another.  Even the little mementos available for purchase are one of a kind.  For $1.50 you can buy a condom that reads: “‘I Found My Thrill… the safe way!” No doubt about it, Joe Edwards has created quite a joint.  He’s also created one heck of a darts tournament.

It was Joe who was kind enough to introduce me — and Dave Marienthal, Brad Wethington and Lori Verrier — to the photographer from Sports Illustrated.  Joe knows everybody — from the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix to Mick Jagger.  The walls of the club are plastered with photographs of Joe and all sorts of celebrities who overdosed on heroin.  I think I even saw a picture of Joe with his arm around Tweety Bird, Bugs Bunny and Betty Boop. Anyway, I am only speculating when I say that Joe was “kind enough” to set us all up with the Sports Illustrated guy.  It may have been he just wanted to distract Dave from blowing up the condoms and letting them zip around the bar like balloons.  Okay, that’s a lie too.  He put them in his wallet.

So down in the Duck Room this photographer was all set up.  He was shooting a spread of some kind for the magazine that was to appear sometime soon.  If you’ve picked up a recent issue of Sports Illustrated, you’ll be familiar with the dramatic, often very blurred, full-motion photographs which are carried on the opening few pages.  The comet-like tail of a baseball zipping across home plate at high velocity.  The launch of a golf ball off the face of a club.  This guy’s objective was to capture a dart in flight.  Just like real sport stuff.  For a real sports magazine!

So, very seriously, each of us took a trip to the line.  And we threw.  And we threw.  And we threw.  We had to change our flights to ones that were especially bright, not white or black or metallic, so the camera wouldn’t lose them against the flash. To accommodate the position of the equipment we had to toe the line from a distance of something like ten feet. We were instructed to setup as we normally would but to adjust our throw so the darts would hit low.  For Dave, Brad and Lori this proved to be extremely difficult.  For me this was the easy part.

All combined, we must have sweated under the lights for a good three hours.  We then supplied little biographical ditties for the photographer.  Dave, Brad and Lori wrote for pages about all the tournaments they have won.  I’ve never won anything, so I scratched out the old limerick about the girl from Nantucket.  We parted ways… and although I don’t know this for certain, I suspect we each then adopted a similar routine, heading week after week to the store to flip through the current issue of Sports Illustrated.

It’s now been some five months since our brush with fame.  Of course, the photograph has not appeared and probably never will. After all, we’re not synchronized swimmers or ballroom dancers. We don’t chug sixpacks and then leap from airplanes to surf the clouds on skateboards.  Therefore, by Sports Illustrated standards, we don’t qualify as real athletes.

I spoke with Dave not long ago and he was disappointed.  But that’s probably because he’s run out of condoms.

I haven’t seen Brad.  He seems to disappear between tournaments into the complex fabric that is the metropolis of Dayton, Ohio.  But I’m sure he’s disappointed too.  I mean really — the poor guy lives in Dayton!

I haven’t seen Lori either.  But I do know this.  She may not have made Sports Illustrated but, if she had — or if the photograph eventually does appear — proof positive will exist that, while the editors of the rag can’t recognize sport for sport, they at least — among a sample of four — have the ability to recognize the one with which the others would most like to mud-wrestle.

From the Field,

Dartoid

Column #615 Girls, Geezers and Greece

Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Column 615
Girls, Geezers and Greece

First, let me extend heartfelt thanks to everybody who recently sent notes to wish me a happy 40th birthday.  I particularly appreciated the perfumed letters (and photos) from Bar Refaeli, Elin Nordegren and Heidi Klum.  To kick off the day, I had chocolate cake for breakfast and threw my usual three darts to predict how the day would go.  I hit two ones and a five.

In case you haven’t heard, the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed, and his “Committee” (Lisa Farrell, Connie Sroka, Jerry Feather, Russ “The Legend” Lopez, Ron Deane, David Miller and Wayne Roewer) are throwing a “Geezer Gathering” at the Tuscany in Las Vegas this coming January 20-21.  Formally billed as the “First Annual Darters of the Golden Age (1975-2000) Reunion” and being held that same date at the ADO’s Las Vegas Open, the bash is certain to be a hit.

To plagiarize Howie, “’The Committee’” would like to thank ADO VP Matt Stoner for his helping hand.  Jen Mounts of A-Z Darts pitched in as well as A-Z owner John Baxter, a player in the Golden Age of Darts.”

“Preliminary plans call for a Friday evening adjustment hour (or hours) with golden elixir and aiming fluid available.  Saturday evening may feature a fun dart event run by Jerry Feather which may be a chance for revenge on the stars of the Golden Age that had us signing cards and chalking.”  It’s rumored that David Irete is working on something special, which hopefully will involve Vanna White.

As of this writing and with five months still to the event date, some 75 people are already confirmed – it’s expected 150-175 will make the trip.  Contact Dartoid’s World (Dartoid1@verizon.net) or message the Old Dart Coach (Mrwonderful98@hotmail.com) with your name and email address if you are likely to attend.  It should be a great time (and if for some reason you get bored you can always mosey over to the Las Vegas Open and get autographs from the ADO board members who have been scamming players and leagues for years).

Recently, I was in Greece (Athens and Kefalonia) for meetings.  I had hoped to meet up with PDC professional John Michael but that didn’t work out.  So, I walked about 8 blocks from my hotel to the Acropolis instead.  There was no dartboard there.

On the way, I eavesdropped on a couple of old men, Greek and Italian, arguing about the history and the splendors of Athens and Rome.

The Greek man says, “Look, all I’m saying is that the Greeks invented everything the Romans get credit for!”

The Italian says, “Yes, may be, but the Romans improved it and made it useful!”

The Greek man says, “We invented the Democracy!”

The Italian says, “We realized the challenge of direct elections and the benefit of the legislature, and thus created the Republic!”

The Greek man says, “Yes, but we created beautiful architecture like the Parthenon!”

The Italian says, “And we improved your building techniques, and used them to create aqueducts and structures that stood for centuries longer!”

The Greek man, frustrated, finally says, “Ah, of course.  But the Greeks, we INVENTED lovemaking!”

The Italian man stops a moment to think, then says…

“That may be true, but WE introduced it to women!”

One the way back to my hotel I met a pretty girl.  She asked my name…

I was delighted to learn that in Ancient Greek my last name translates to “Attractive to women”.

Unfortunately, my first name translates to “Not very”.

Finally, CONGRATULATIONS are due to Michelle Dorsey who, following in her father, the late Jim Poliquin’s footsteps, continues the National Darts Hall of Fame tradition and tournament.  Jim would be so very proud!

From the Field,

Dartoid

 

Column #614 Are the WDF and ADO changing their names?

Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Column 614
Are the WDF and ADO changing their names?

So, the PDC World Cup is over.  Congratulations to the winning Australian team of Damon Heta and the guy from ZZ Top.

Now, as we plod through months of less exciting darts leading up to the World Championship in December, we can return to rumors and historic events about which today’s new crop of players should be aware.

In the Rumor Department it has been reported that the WDF and ADO are changing their acronyms to WTF and DOA.  I have been unable to independently corroborate this although it is probably true, and certainly appropriate.

Then, there is the story of the man who threw perfect darts…

Nigel Brown hailed from Hawkshead in the UK’s beautiful Lake District.  He wasn’t a tournament competitor but was well known countrywide in the 1940s (around the same time as Jim Pike).  Brown made frequent appearances at exhibitions and was renowned for his uncanny, almost savant-like, ability to hit the bullseye (this was long before machine darts manufacturers invented a bull as big as a bus).

Never did he miss.

One day he was recognized in Tenerife in the Canary Islands.  A man named Mateo Garcia asked him to do an exhibition.  Brown respectfully declined.  “I’m on holiday with friends,” he explained.  But Garcia persisted, offered a tidy sum and Brown acquiesced.  They agreed to meet that evening at a pub called Pub-Tenerife (today quite famous in part due to Brown’s once having visited).

As the story goes the evening was extraordinario.  For an hour or more Brown pounded the bullseye at will, mostly red. 20 bulls.  50.  200!  Never a miss.  Perfección!

Until…

One of Brown’s darts with their red, white and blue Union Jack flights deflected and landed just a smidgen outside the green bit, landing slightly left in the 12 (hugging the wire).  For a moment the large crowd was uncertain if it was a miss, but it was. A hush, then murmurs and then chaos ensued as Brown yanked the errant dart from the board and erupted in anger.

“Fuck!  Fuck!  Fuck!” Brown screamed as he slammed through the crowd and exited the pub. “Fuck this!  Fuck Spain!  Fuck darts!” he exclaimed over and over from the pavement outside.  Then as dozens of stunned patrons watched, with all his might he threw the dart that missed into the sky and stormed off.

While it may be said that “what goes up must come down” this red, white and blue flighted dart never did.  Maybe it stuck in a tree. Weird, but apparently true.  From that day forward Nigel Brown was never seen in public again.  Only his reputation lives on.  Check Patrick Chaplin’s website.

One of the people who observed this event (and who related it to me) was the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed.  “The Brits can be a bit nuts sometimes,” he said.  “So can the French.”

He then told me about his flight back to the States.  Remember, this was in the late 1940s and smoking was still allowed on planes.  Dogs too, if they were small.  And behaved.

“I was in a two-seat row by the window.  Seated next to me was this French lady holding a little dog named Pierre.  We were cruising the clouds somewhere over the Atlantic and I lit up.”

The dog began to cough.

S’il vous plait, Monsieur.  Could you put out your cigar?  It’s choking ma petite Pierre.”

The lady was quite attractive so those of you who know Howie will not be surprised at his response.  “Are you married?  Have you heard of the Mile-High Club?”

The pretty lady responded, “How should I say?  If you don’t extinguish your cigar, I must throw it out zee window.”

And of course, Howie shot back, “Mademoiselle, be forewarned, should you touch my cigar – and I’m not talking that cigar, although I do encourage you – I will grab your mutt by the throat and toss him into the clouds.” For emphasis, “I blew a puff straight into the dog’s face.”

What ensued is exactly what you might imagine!

The lady (it turned out her name was Monique Dubois) grabbed Howie’s stogie (“a fucking Montecristo!”) and threw it out the window.  In a flash, Howie kept his promise and sent Pierre right behind it.

“It was crazy,” Howie said.  “Air was rushing in, or maybe it was out, the window. Papers were flying about.  Momentarily the plane became unsteady.  Drinks spilled.  Stewardesses appeared from nowhere.  Passengers were yelling.”

“Monique was screaming.  She cried.  She was inconsolable, weeping non-stop for the remainder of the flight.” As Howie remembers it, “Well, I did get to hug her a lot and but that’s all I got.”

As they deplaned at McCarran airport in Las Vegas, Howie’s hometown, Howie graciously helped steady Monique as they walked together down the steps of the plane, continuing to apologize and console her.

And that’s when it caught their eye!

Suddenly, Monique began to leap for joy, smothering Howie with kisses.  “Je te pardonne!  Je te pardonne!  I forgive you!  I forgive you!”

On the tail of the plane, hanging on for dear life, was Pierre!

And can you believe it?  In his mouth he was holding Nigel Brown’s dart!

From the Field,

Dartoid

Column #613 Enough is enough is ENOUGH!

Monday, May 16, 2022
Column 613
Enough is enough is ENOUGH!

I am running this column again because some people have asked me why I have blocked them

Darts and politics don’t mix!  Not in my world anyway…

“For some time, I have been working on a column, struggling…” I wrote to a friend recently.

Writer’s block?  No.  I never have a problem putting words to paper.

It’s worse…

Although I don’t throw competitively much these days most of my closest friendships date to the many years I was deeply involved – four or five nights a week at league or blind draws, weekends at tournaments.

What I cherished most during all those years was the one constant: it was always about the darts.

We could and did talk to death every conceivable darts-related subject.

We didn’t know what each other did for a living.

We didn’t know who was rich or poor.

We certainly didn’t know anything about each other’s politics.

We didn’t care!

Darts was about darts.  And beer.

This was special.  We had the sport in common and that was pure.  That was enough.

Facebook and the past 10-12 years of political division have changed all of this.  I hate it.

Today, I will begin what I have resisted for so long, not wanted to do.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions.  But the only opinions I care about from darts friends are opinions about darts.

Effective today, any “friend” who shares a political opinion (whether I agree or not) which shows up on my newsfeed or in any darts forum to which I belong will be unfriended or blocked or whatever.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH OF ALL THIS HATRED!

From the field,

Dartoid

Column #612 The girls had WILLIES!

Thursday, April 14, 2022
Column 612
The girls had WILLIES!

The guy’s name was Nigel or Neil or something similar, not that his name matters.  He was the only foreigner, a Brit, employed among the large staff of botanists at the famous Nong Nooch Tropical Garden near Bang Saray, just east of Pattaya, Thailand.  He was my savior, or so I thought.

I’d been everywhere – in and out of the scummiest pubs imaginable, following false lead after false lead, looking for a board – and I’d struck out completely.  So, I decided to blow off the darts and take in the tourist attractions.  I decided, just this once, to take in a foreign land the way normal people do.

To Nong Nooch I headed.  The tourist guides tout the botanical gardens here as among the most spectacular in the world.  I’d be hard pressed to argue the point.  The 900 hundred acres of orchid and cactus gardens, artificial lakes and topiaries in every shape imaginable (including some quite Freudian) are out of this world.

It was as I was leaving Nong Nooch that I spotted Nigel or Neil.  Immediately I zoned in on his blond hair and his unmistakably British accent.  I thrust out my hand to shake his and said, “Damn, am I glad to meet you… nice flowers, but where’s the darts?”  The way I figured it, this Brit, probably weaned on the sport, had to know where I could get a game.

He recommended a pub called the Green Bottle in Pattaya.  In fact, we arranged to meet later that evening for a beer and to throw a few games.  He suggested I make a pit stop along the way to catch a show at a cabaret called Tiffany’s.  I was thrilled.  Beer.  Girls.  Darts.  A hell of a night lay ahead.

Now Pattaya is different.  A former fishing town turned major tourist resort, Pattaya at night exudes a weird mix of 1960’s Daytona Beach casual and 1990’s 42nd Street raunch.  Into the night I headed…

I rolled into Tiffany’s at 7:00 p.m.  I managed to get a third-row seat to enjoy the glitz and the song and the dance of 60 of the most gorgeous girls in all of Siam. Wrong!  Tiffany’s turned out to be a transvestite cabaret.  The beautiful girls had willies!  Yuck and thank you very much, Nigel or Neil or whatever your name is.

I left Tiffany’s early for the Green Bottle so I could get in some good warm up before my new British buddy arrived.  After steering me to a transvestite club I figured he deserved to be pounded good.  After hunting for the Green Bottle for almost three hours, finally finding a parking spot, and walking in to be greeted by an Elvis impersonator with a Thai accent – and absolutely no darts setup – I was committed to stabbing my new-found friend in his puny Winston Churchill willy with my Hammerheads.  He never did show up.

It was about midnight when I found my way to the center of the Pattaya darts scene, the Texan Inn at 219 Sayyamato.  The place is a small restaurant that doubles as the town’s only darts accessories shop and headquarters for the local eight team league.  There’s just one board but it’s set up fine.  There’s a Monday night Luck of the Draw tournament.  League play is on Tuesdays.  I tossed a few and headed on.

Now, as I lie awake in the wee hours of the morning pondering this oddball day – bushes sculpted into phallic symbols, boys with boobs and an endless search for a bar with no board – it occurs to me that I have just learned again something I already knew very well.

And that is: if it looks like a Brit, walks like a Brit and talks like a Brit, it’s probably a Brit… but that doesn’t mean it knows shit about darts.

From the Field,

Dartoid

Column #611 Darts in Red Square (or FUCK YOU, Putin!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Column 611
Darts in Red Square (or FUCK YOU, Putin!)

With all that is happening in the world right now (FUCK YOU, Putin!) it seems an appropriate time to revisit the 32 days I spent riding a bike through Russia.  It was a pain in the butt.  Literally…

What was originally to be a week-long Guinness-tasting holiday in Dublin with three buddies somehow turned into a month-long, 2,000-mile, bike ride from Dublin to Moscow. Don’t ask me how this happened.  I no longer remember myself.

What I do remember is that I was assured it would be “a kick-ass month to remember” and that I would have more than ample opportunity to check out the pubs and the local brews – and throw some darts along the route – from Dublin, through England, Holland, Germany, the former East Germany, Poland, Belarus, and across Russia on into Moscow.

Well, MY FRIENDS ARE MORONS!  The truth is that I never had enough energy to do much more than shove carbohydrates into my face and crash on the floor at the end of each day’s ride.  I can barely lift my throwing arm, let alone sit on a barstool.  My hair looks like, well – like hair looks when it’s been stuffed into a plastic helmet for 32 days.  AND – worst of all (this is REALLY BAD) – I possess absolute proof that sitting on a bike for 10 hours a day will turn that most vital of male organs into a soft-tip dart.

Now that the hell-ride is over, I have managed to find a darts bar in Moscow, and it’s worth a visit.  It’s called the Armadillo and it’s located adjacent to Red Square at Khrustal’nyi per., 1, Building 86.  The outside of the joint is a mess due to construction but the inside ain’t half bad.

While the Armadillo’s owners are striving to create a casual American ambiance, they have a ways to go. The place is safe though (they have their own security) and the service is easily a notch or two above similar establishments where Russia’ s new capitalists are still unaware of the correlation between the tightness of a waitresses’ sweater, her smile and the size of a tip.  The prices are modest.  A beer will run you about $5, which, for Moscow, is quite good – but the locals drink nothing but vodka.  The fare in this American-like pub is, of course, Mexican – but it still beats the hell out of Russian staples such as Borscht, bread, cabbage and potatoes.

The Armadillo is far from the nicest pub in Moscow (check out the bar at the Metropole Hotel if you want to see an amazing place – the working-girls here are like right out of Playboy), but it’s got atmosphere, live music on the weekends (Country Juan and the Comrades, I think) and a relatively young, up market crowd. And, as noted earlier, the place is safe – which is actually quite remarkable in today’s Russia, where the local Mafia is very prevalent in establishments of this type.

Most amazing of all, and most important of all, is that the place has FOUR dart boards.  They are surrounded by pools tables (which I suppose, however misdirected, is the one American bar decorating touch that the Russians have fully emulated).

So, I ordered a bottle of peppered vodka and threw a bit of practice.  Poured some more vodka and shot some pool with my biking buddies while Country Juan and the Comrades did their thing in the background. I munched a couple of Russian/Mexican/American burritos and washed them down with still more vodka.

I then headed into Red Square with my friends where we wisely traded all but our underwear to some guy with no teeth for Hard Rock Cafe tee shirts, even though there is no Hard Rock Cafe in Moscow.

I’m now exactly four hours into the flight home and have ALREADY intersected my original point of departure – Dublin – from more than a month’s worth of hell ago.  I’m hung over.  I can’t feel my ass.  My appendage no longer functions.  And my favorite clothes are tooting around Moscow on some homeless guy’s back.

Yep, there’s a moral here somewhere.

That, I’m afraid, is that among morons, I’m the MAN.

And again, FUCK YOU, Putin!

From the Field,

Dartoid