Author Archives: Dartoid

Column #606 RIP, Errol Magtubo

Wednesday, September 28, 2021
Column 606
RIP, Errol Magtubo

Yesterday, I lost another darts friend from the Philippines (Errol Magtubo).  Last October, Mon Sabalboro succumbed to Covid.  What is happening to the world!

The column below from 2002 doesn’t describe my first visit to the Philippines but it does recount the wild night I met Errol and others.  It remains a night to remember!

RIP, Errol.

______________________________________________________________________________

According to the Department of State, due to a rash of post-September 11 “bombings, kidnappings, murders and other violent incidents,” travel by Americans to the Philippines is pretty much a dumb-ass thing to do.

Tourists have been shot and killed while hiking on the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo in Pampanga Province.  The terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has attacked a resort on Samal Island near Davao City, Mindanao.  They have captured tourists from Palawan Island and currently hold them hostage on Basilan Island in the Sula archipelago.  Bombs planted by the Indigenous People’s Federal Army have been found with triggering devices and others have been detonated, killing and injuring dozens of people, in the Makati commercial and tourist area of Metro Manila.

So, kinda like Scotland’s Jamie “Bravedart” Harvey, brave darter that I am, I write to you today from smack in the MIDDLE of the Makati tourist and commercial district of Metro Manila.  Actually, maybe I’m just a dumb ass.

Just to be safe, I registered with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy on Roxas Boulevard three days ago.  It was en route to the first darts bar on my list anyway.  They asked me the “purpose of my visit.” I said to “throw darts.” They advised me to “remain vigilant,” increase my “awareness” and gave me a brochure.  These guys know a lot about the mental aspects of our sport.

My itinerary for this darts excursion was graciously arranged by the Board of the Darts Council of the Philippines (DCP).  A cornerstone of Filipino culture, the hospitality I received from the DCP’s president, Andrew Arrieta and his cohorts in darts — Ramon Sabalboro, Amante Santos, Steve Dorotheo and Errol Magtubo — was just tremendous.  By this I mean they paid for all the beer.

We met up first at a little restaurant and darts bar called the San Mig (at the Ortigas Center Complex in Pasig City).  Over dinner I was bombarded with information about the goings-on inside the Philippines’ darts scene.

I learned that, in addition to an active, committed, darts-savvy Board, the DCP has an unusual Honorary Board Chairman, Aquilino “Nene” Q. Pimentel, Jr., a REAL LIVE member of the Philippines SENATE.  This gave me a first indication as to how the DCP has managed to achieve so much for our sport in this country.  Arrieta and his boys understand that among the keys to success, the first and most important is: leadership.

I was given a printout of the National Rated Player Listing.  New York’s Francis Llanes, California’s Sammy Cruz and Virginia Beach’s Robert Dysangco will be pleased to know that their former countrymen still appreciate their accomplishments.  Each of these Filipino-American shooters is prominently recognized in the DCP’s listings.  Llanes was a member of the first-ever Philippine National Team to compete oversees — in 1980 in Newcastle, Australia.  Some ten years later, Dysangco practiced his way out of his barrio to make the National Team and finished in the top eight at the 1990 Pacific Cup.  In 1988, Cruz made it to the top eight in the Philippines National Championship.

I was provided the most recent issue of the DCP’s darters’ newsletter, Dartslink.  I couldn’t help but notice the long list of sponsors.  Included were Terton Craft, Toby’s Sports & Hobbies, Winmau Darts & Sports Resources, Unicorn Darts, Robson Sports Craft, Dartware (owned by Board member Dorotheo), SV More, E-Fasteam 2000.com, Alpha Insurance and the San Miguel Beer Corporation.  The DCP also counts among its backers the Philippines Sports Commission, Philippines Olympic Committee, Philippines Charity Sweepstakes Office and a number of other members of Congress.

It’s an amazing array of support that will make it possible for the DCP to host four major tournaments over the next twelve months, each with prize money in the 100,000 Peso range.  And this doesn’t count in-kind support.  For example, last year’s Men’s and Ladies Singles winners at the Philippine Open EACH received 500,000 Peso scholarships to medical school.  Imagine THAT!

The Philippine Open Men’s Champion, Dixie Ybanez walked away with an 80,000 Peso cash prize and a trophy valued at 17,000 Pesos.  Another 100,000 Pesos are collecting interest in a bank somewhere — waiting to be awarded to whomever notches up the elusive nine-darter.

Currently Arrieta and his crew are promoting tournaments in Baguio, Bulacan, Quezon, Cebu, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro, Tarlac, Batangas, Dagupan, and Olongapo.  They are watching leagues sprout up in all sorts of unusual places, like within the Bureau of Customs, the Department of Trade and at Philippine Airlines.

AND they are laying plans which may well see the Philippines selected as the host country for the 2007 World Cup.  It would be a hell of a great choice!

Clearly these boys have landed on a simple formula.  They’ve mixed active, involved leadership with a steady watering of the grass roots.  They communicate across their rank-and-file.  They remember those who paved the way.  AND they pound the pavement like professionals to secure the essential dollars.

It’s a formula that’s working.

Today, more than 3,500 players are involved in league play in Manila alone — more than in all but a couple of American cities.  There are nearly 25,000 active shooters country wide.  This alone is a feat.  The Philippines is an archipelago of some 7,000 islands, almost 900 of which are still uninhabited.  Getting to the corner pub for a shoot is often no small task.  But they do it.  They do it in droves.

From this broad base of competitive spirit has emerged the cream which forms the Philippines National Team — a team which (finishing seventh among the ladies and eight among the men) even surprised itself at the 2001 World Cup in Malaysia.  The team has just returned from a third-place finish, after New Zealand and Australia, at the Asia-Pacific Cup in Bangkok.  They are already booked for the 2003 World Cup in Epinal, France next fall.

But the final bit of information I was given was the most remarkable of all.

Contained in a small folder handed to me by Dorotheo was a newspaper clipping from a recent issue of the Manila tabloid, Tumbok.  According to Dorotheo, later in the evening there was to be a special Luck of the Draw to introduce the National Team to the public and give them a proper “sendoff” before heading into the coming year’s international competitions.  The kicker though was buried in a sentence at the end of the article:

“Magsisilbing special guest sa gagawing presentation ang sikat na international darts writer na Dartoid na nasa ating bansa upang mag-observe sa mga local tournaments.”

What this says (again, according to Dorotheo) when translated from native Tagalog is, basically, that yours truly is a “RENOUNED INTERNATIONAL DARTS WRITER who will be serving as a special guest at the evening’s shoot.” From this I can only surmise that Dorotheo is on drugs.

Thanks to Manila traffic, which is arguably the worst in the world, we arrived at the Amber Ihaw-Ihaw Restaurant (at the corner of Filmore and Emila Streets in Makati) just as the Luck of the Draw was getting under way.  I was promptly introduced to the members of the National Team — Dixie Ybanez, Celso “Boy” Parafan, III, Joseph Domanis, Robert Reyes, Jan-Jan Hinojales and Baby Villanueva.  I was handed the first of several San Miguels and sent off to the boards to meet my partner in the Draw, Edwin Dalusong.

Sadly, Dalusong and I were quickly dispatched.  But I must be honest.  Even though my partner was, technically, legally blind and even though he had no arms or legs and had to sort of scoot his body and head to the line on a skateboard, it was I who let our team down.

Okay.  Okay.  Part of that paragraph above is bullshit.  I don’t know where it came from.

Dalusong was great.  He’d throw 140.  I’d throw an eleven.  He’d throw a ton.  I’d drop my beer on the floor.  The truth is that we got whooped two straight, entirely because I sucked.  I saw Dalusong only once more during the evening.  He was in the Men’s Room smashing his head against the wall.  So, I stole his skateboard.

I found my way through the crowd and sticky air to the right side of the bar to watch PCD Board member (and one of the Philippines’ great-shooting old-timers) Sabalboro, who was also going down to defeat.

Another San Miguel mysteriously found its way into my hand as we wandered off to shoot nine-ball on the other side of the pub.  We matched up pretty well.  Tied at three-all and with the stick in my hand (is this proper pool lingo?) I was looking at just the eight and nine balls remaining on the felt.  I carefully lined up the shot.  Took a deep breath.  Stroked my cue.  And BAM, I rammed the-nine ball straight into the corner pocket!  Afterwards, Sabalboro told me he thought I could be pretty good someday if I learned the rules.

I was given more beer and introduced by Dorotheo to a bloke named Chito Torres.  Torres collects darts paraphernalia — old darts, shirts, tournament programs and the like.  I found it curious that Torres had with him several albums crammed with part of his collection of flights.  I wonder if he always travels with his albums?

Torres told me he has thousands of flights.  I can’t attest to this.  All I can confirm is that he has the most complete collection of flights featuring naked women that I have ever seen.  Perhaps this is why he carries his albums with him late at night?

As the evening wore down and as the San Miguel stock began to run dry, I was guided to a board to take on, one at a time, Dorotheo (who way back in 1980 was on the traveling team with New York’s Llanes when the Philippines competed at the Pacific Cup in Australia), good ‘ole nine-ball guru Sabalboro (for years one of the top shots in the country and 1999 Philippines Masters Champion) and Parfan (winner of the 2001 Philippine National Open Singles Championship, the 2002 Philippine Masters, and current #1-ranked men’s darter in the archipelago). Whew.  That’s a long sentence.

How the HELL do I get myself into this shit?

First up was Dorotheo.  I handled him.  I was feeling good.  Capable.  Confident…

Next up was Parfan, the current Filipino Top Dog.  He sports a ponytail, but they call him “Boy.” Doesn’t make sense.

The game: 501.  Best of seven.  Or maybe it was five?  Maybe it was nine?  San Miguel’s a pretty nice brew…

I jumped off fast on Parfan.  I took the score down quick and closed first, though not in remarkable fashion.  Feelin’ good.

I notched up the second game with a come-from-behind 110-close.  Feelin’ BETTER than good!  I was gonna kick this “boy’s” ass!  I could feel eyes turning to watch.

The truth be known, I don’t exactly know what happened next.  Parfan (who it turns out, recently followed a perfect nine-darter with a ten-darter in National Team qualifying competition) turned his darts into overdrive and smoked me like I was a spindly Narra tree on the side of Mt. Pinatubo.  I never saw another opportunity to close.

And then, as surely as he did in nine-ball, Sabalboro tore me up in cricket.  And I KNOW the rules of cricket!  He was kind in victory though.  He bought me another beer, gave me a fancy darts case and introduced me to a couple of the bar’s pretty Guest Relations Officers, named Lika and Sharon.  Something about them reminded me of Chito’s flight collection.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized something wasn’t right.  Don’t get me wrong: I woke up feelin’ out of sorts but chalked it up to the effects of a dozen free San Miguels.  I popped a couple of Alka-Seltzers before making my way to breakfast.  But I still couldn’t shake the feeling.

I was sittin’ in this Malaysian restaurant in front of some spicy rice entrée, sippin’ mango juice and flippin’ through the little brochure that I’d been given at the U.S. Embassy when it struck me exactly what was wrong.

“Maintain a low profile at all times,” the brochure warned.  “Beware of unknown individuals who try to befriend you.  Tourists frequenting lower quality nightclubs are particularly vulnerable.  Criminals have administered drugs proffered in drinks to unwitting visitors to facilitate robbery and assault.”

MY DARTS!!!

The realization that my most precious possessions were not IN my possession immediately shoved my hangover aside.

SOME BASTARD STOLE MY DARTS!!!

A waitress appeared at my table-side.  “You have telephone call,” she said.  “Please go to registration.”

“Huh?  Me?  Really?” I said.

I walked across the restaurant to the hotel lobby and approached the girl at the front desk.  “My name’s Seigel.  I have a call?”

“Yes sir.” She smiled as she handed me the receiver.

“Hello?  This is Paul Seigel.”

“Dartoid!  It’s Steve.”

“Steve?”

“Steve Dorotheo.  From last night.  You left your darts in my car.”

“Really?  I didn’t even realize they were missing.”

From the Field,

Dartoid

Column #605 Fortunate, humbled, sad and proud – there’s more to life than darts!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Column 605
Fortunate, humbled, sad and proud – there’s more to life than darts!

When I flipped on my laptop and polled for messages, buried among the list was a curious return address: jloweprodart@aol.com.  Could it be?  I immediately clicked away.

The e-mail was from John Lowe.  One of the greatest darters to ever step to the line, winner of more than a thousand tournaments, had sent ME a message.

I scrolled down.  I was amazed.

It turns out that “Old Stoneface” counts himself among the half-dozen, mostly sexist men who smoke banana leaves, who read the drivel I knock out each month in my column, “Dartoid’s World.” Clearly, Lowe’s moniker should be changed to Old Stonedface.

His message was brief.  He wanted to know if I could get him a hooker.

No. No. THAT message was from the Old Dart Coach.

The gist of Lowe’s message was that he was working on a couple of new projects, his fourth book and a special website.  Doctor of Darts, Patrick Chaplin, was doing a piece.  Lowe wanted to know if I would contribute a chapter.

So, I popped off a return e-mail.  “Me?  You want something from me?  Who is this really?

A few days later another message appeared.  “I’m not looking for a piece from somebody who’s ‘been there, done that.’  I’m looking for something from someone who’s ‘been there, seen that.’  You’re probably the most traveled darts person outside of the professional ranks.  Barry Twomlow had that distinction until his retirement.  I would ask you to write as little or as much as you possibly can.”

He wrote that he was looking for some “funny stories” and he had some of his own.  For example, one time Lowe threw at the “top of the CN Tower in Toronto whilst some cowboy was yodeling.”  Another time he “played on a cruise liner whilst sailing through the Bay of Biscay in a nine-force storm.”

So, I wrote him back again.  “What’s a ‘whilst?’” I asked.

Actually, I explained that, while honored to be asked to contribute to his projects, I felt out of my league.  “I’ve also been in the CN Tower,” I wrote, “but I got thrown out for playing strip-pool in the lobby.  While it’s true that I traveled a lot, except for being pretty certain I hold the record for the most consecutive 26’s ever thrown and once being defeated by my dog, I really don’t have any claims to fame.  I’ll do what I can.”

So, I dug into my files.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed some amazing experiences.  I’ve bicycled 2,000 miles from Dublin to Moscow.  I’ve polled a dug-out canoe down Botswana’s hippo-infested Bora River.  I’ve white-water rafted Zimbabwe’s Zambezi River.  I’ve tracked mountain gorillas deep into Uganda’s Impenetrable Forest.  I’ve ventured 500 miles up the Congo River in search of elephant poachers.  Basically, I’m just a big, damn dummy.

Along the way I have been earnest in my search for the Holy Grail – the perfect game in the perfect darts-dive.  And, of course, the perfect beer.

On six of the seven continents and in more than sixty countries I have had the pleasure of going toe-to-toe and mug-to-mug with some of the best darters and hearty drinkers on the planet.  A pool shark from Seoul.  A tough shooting “working girl” from Ho Chi Minh City.  An eleven-year-old hustler from Puerto Vallarta.  From Beijing to Moscow to Sri Lanka, from Tokyo to Johannesburg, from Bangkok to Bombay, I’ve stood at the line – often in the most unbelievable of circumstances.

There are two experiences however, that remain particularly special in my memory.

Some years ago, I found myself in Bombay scouring the streets and back alleys for a game of darts.  Thanks to a twelve-year-old boy named Johnny I finally found a game, sort of, but en route my search crossed the line between a simple adventure and a sort of awakening.  The day made a difference in my life.

As I was looking for a taxi, a dirty little boy approached me with his sisters, begging for money for milk.  Quickly we struck deal.  In return for five cartons of powdered milk, Johnny agreed to serve as my guide for the day.  After a quick walk to a grocery, we hopped into a cab together.

I showed Johnny my darts as we sat in the back of the cab and explained what I was looking for.  He held them in his hand.  I showed him how to aim them and pretended to throw at an imaginary board.  I then carefully tucked them back into their case.

We talked as we cruised the city.  I learned that Johnny had no home – he lived with his family in cardboard boxes in a vacant lot.  I learned that his mother was dead, and his father drank and had no job.  I learned that Johnny hadn’t attended school for years because he had to earn money for food.  He’d learned his English from tourists like me.

We went to the zoo and circus.  We made our way to the top of a cliff to gaze at the Bombay skyline.  We toured the glitzy high-rise buildings at Nariman Point and ate samosas at the five-star Taj Hotel across from the famous Gateway to India monument.  We watched snake charmers coax cobras out of wicker baskets on the waterfront.  For hours, perhaps for the longest stretch in years, not once did the thought of throwing a dart cross my mind.  The same could not be said for Johnny.

As night began to fall the little boy took charge.  The taxi driver began to hit the bars, one after another.  We’d stop.  I’d run in.  I’d locate a snooker table and have a beer.  I’d dash out.  But Johnny was undaunted.  He insisted he knew where I could get a game in Bombay.

I found myself at the end of a dark alley.  As we headed into the dark, I could hear Hindi voices and the familiar rhythmic thunking of a game in progress.  As we drew closer and moved into the dim light, I could not possibly have been more astounded at the sight before me.  There, lying in the dust was a huge, ringed, tree stump.  Dangling from it was a knife.  And standing but ten feet away from me were four blokes holding more knives!

I didn’t throw during this trip to India.  What I did was make a friend.  And as I’ve written, I learned a lesson.  A homeless kid with a limited future reminded me that, sometimes anyway, there’s a little bit more to life than darts.

On another occasion getting to where I threw required a harrowing three-hour flight in a beat-up old Cessna – without maps or radar – through stormy African skies.  To stay safely below the turbulence, we cruised just above the canopy of the rainforest and weaved in and out of the mist that rises so eerily from the trees.

To suggest that I knew where I was when I stood at the line this night would be a serious stretch.  I was in the Congo somewhere.  Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” Primitive people.  Mysterious sounds.

I was somewhere east of Gabon and south of the Central African Republic.  The closest collection of people was some twenty miles away in a Bantu-occupied mud-hut village called Mbomo.  The barefooted tribesmen here are darters from way back.  They blow the poisoned-tip version from little bamboo tubes.

The largest so-called major cities, Kinshasa, Zaire (site of the famous Ali-Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974) and Brazzaville (Congo’s capital), are, at best, a week to the south by way of the Le’Koli and Congo Rivers.  Just to the north is the pristine “Last Eden,” the Nouvabale Ndoke Forest.

What I can guarantee about wherever I was is that the darts set up was excellent.  This is because I hung the board myself.  I bought it.  I carried it from Johannesburg in a bag.  I nailed it up with a rock I found in the bush, to a tree by a bend in a river.  This board has to be hung as far away from the civilized world as anyone can get.

I’m not sure what numbers most in the African night – the stars twinkling in the incredibly vast sky or the fireflies flitting like so many scraps of glitter against the darkness of the ancient forest.  Movement is constant.  Sound is incessant.  The lights of the night seem to dance to the symphony of a billion unseen creatures.  The “thunk, thunk, thunk” of my darts only added another instrument to this uniquely African chorus.

I threw alone this night.  My concentration has never been better.

My return to the real world was wilder than my journey from it.  The second plane was even more decrepit than the first.  As we landed on dirt airstrips at village after village, people fought with each other and the pilot to get a seat.  Seriously overweight, carrying a good half-dozen more than its capacity, the plane lumbered its way back to Brazzaville.  Sandwiched between a woman dying of AIDS, a shackled elephant poacher and a baby gorilla in desperate need of a diaper, I held my darts close and hoped for the best.

So, if you’re ever trudging through the Congo rainforest and happen upon a lonely dart board dangling from a tree, enjoy your game.  You can thank me for setting it up – if you ever get back.

Oh, there are other stories.  So many of them…

There was the night in the dark and mist in the middle of nowhere, and against the better judgment of everyone I knew, that I pulled up to the gate of Diepkloof Prison – home to some 20,000 killers and rapists and worse – in Soweto, South Africa.  Before me loomed a sprawling cement fortress, surrounded by consecutive two-story high walls of barbed wire.  Soft light from inside illuminated the bars on the cellblock windows.  I could see the movement of the forgotten souls inside.  This night I threw against the prison guards… and felt bad about having a good time.

Once in Hanoi, in the former North Vietnam, in a bar called the Spotted Cow, I played against a fellow named Quyuh.  Thirty years prior we could have just as easily been chasing each other with rifles through the slosh of a rice paddy.  This night when I finally got the better of the guy, he simply shook my hand, smiled and said, “good game” and then – in what I guess is some sort of local display of resignation – smashed an empty beer can into his forehead.  It felt good to have a friend, instead of an enemy.

Once in Venezuela I found myself in the fog among the legendary billion-year-old table-rock formations (called tepuys) that shoot into the clouds from the jungle.  From this very spot Sir Arthur Conan Doyle drew inspiration for his book “The Lost World.”  From the highest of the tepuys, Auyan-Tepui, the cool water of Angel Falls tumbles eight times farther than the water over Niagara.  Here in the undergrowth thirty-foot anacondas slither and remarkable carnivorous plants chomp the unsuspecting bug.  Razor-toothed piranha lurk in the water.  If one is lucky, they might see the recently discovered fruit-eating fish – which leaps in the air to grab nourishment from the trees.  It is near here in the small indigenous village of San Raphael where I was coached in the art of “cerbatana” (blow darts) by a Pemone Indian named Carlos.  We focused foot-long bamboo projectiles at a mark on a tree.  I lost 2,000 bolivars (about four dollars) and headed on.  I felt humbled.

In Kathmandu, Nepal, I once threw at a bar called the Carpe Diem.  I stood at the line at the foot of Mt. Everest, where the clouds touch the sky, and the sky touches the heavens.  I felt awe.

In Bangkok, Thailand’s notorious Patpong District – at a bar called Cosmos in the middle of the wildest stretch of nightclubs, strip joints, whore houses, con artists and who-knows-what-else that exists anywhere on earth – a 78 game shot against the owner of the bar once earned me the opportunity to select my reward from among a short-skirted bevy of bargirls.  I traded my winnings for a bottle of beer.  I felt silly.

Then there was the night I threw in a bar called City Slickers in New York City.  Late at night, as I wound my through the traffic out of the city, two huge, parallel beams of light appeared outside my window.  They reached from the ground and shot gallantly into the sky.  They reached from Ground Zero into the heavens.  I’ve never felt so sad.  Or so proud.

Time and again I am reminded of how special the sport of darts really is.  The ability of shooters from extraordinarily different cultures, who don’t share a lick of language between them, to compete and share in the humor and tension of a game and even debate the finer points of play, is almost uncanny.  I suppose this is possible because of the “language of darts,” that special connection… that unique ability to communicate, that simply exists between people who share a love for the sport and a basic understanding of the rules.

For a couple of darters, who under normal circumstances couldn’t give each other directions to the loo, to come together and enjoy a few games of darts over a beer and under the smoke in the back room of a neighborhood pub, seems to be the most natural thing in the world.

My darting experiences may be unique.  I suppose I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel and step to the line in such unusual circumstances.

But at the end of the day my experiences are not so different than those of any other darter, recreational or professional.

Not one of my experiences is any more special than the next.

But together, they are a collection of incredible memories.

In “Dartoid’s World” throwing darts in a little bar in Beijing is no different than blowing darts in the middle of the rainforest.

Playing a stranger in Reykjavik, Iceland, is no different than to playing a stranger in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Throwing against a friend in league is no different than throwing against John Lowe in a tournament.  Well, except for the result!

In “Dartoid’s World” throwing darts is nothing more than a labor of love.

It is my honor to be able to share my “world” with you.

From the Field,

Dartoid

Column #604 As the World Cup heats up, a word about willies and women…

Saturday, September 11, 2021
Column 604
As the World Cup heats up, a word about willies and women…

Today’s Dartoid’s World issue is a joke but not of the sort readers have grown accustomed to finding in this space.  It’s not about any of the screwy things that are found out and about the wacky world of our sport.

In fact, it’s not even about darts.  I didn’t write it.

However, the joke was sent to me by a darts player – so there is a darts connection.  Of course, I must protect the name of the person (and I do mean “name” because his first and last name are the same) who sent it because he’s a friend, is married to a good woman, has a young child, a professional job and leads a civilized life in Nashville.  He’s also a damn good shot.

I receive a lot of crap e-mails.  Most of the time I delete the messages when they pop onto my computer screen.  It’s a powerful feeling.  It used to feel great to hit the delete button when messages came in from the founder of The Darts Website That Shall Not Be Named.

But occasionally one catches my eye and makes me makes me laugh.  Out loud.

This one did.

So, since I have absolutely nothing else to write this morning (I had hoped to write a daily chronicle of my experience as a member of the US World Cup Team but for some reason wasn’t selected) – and since the joke is slightly vulgar and sexist and therefore consistent with the usual fare at this website, I am passing it along.

After all, I am Dartoid!

So…

A man wakes up in the hospital bandaged from head to foot.  The doctor comes in and says, “Ah, I see you’ve regained consciousness.  Now you probably won’t remember, but you were in a huge pile-up on the freeway.  You’re going to be ok; you’ll walk again and everything, but your penis was severed in the accident, and we couldn’t find it.”

The man groans, but the doctor goes on, “You’ve got $9000 in insurance compensation coming and we now have the technology to build a new penis.  They work great but they don’t come cheap.  It’s roughly $1000 an inch.”

The man perks up.

“So,” the doctor says, “You must decide how many inches you want.  But I understand that you have been married for over thirty years and this is something you should discuss with your wife.  If you had a five incher before and get a nine incher now, she might be a bit put out.  If you had a nine incher before and you decide to only invest in a five incher now, she might be disappointed.  It’s important that she plays a role in helping you make a decision.”

The man agrees to talk it over with his wife.

The doctor comes back the next day, “So, have you spoken with your wife?”

“Yes, I have,” says the man.

“And has she helped you make a decision?”

“Yes,” says the man.

“What is your decision?” asks the doctor.

“We’re getting granite countertops.”

GOOD LUCK DANNY AND CHUCK!

From the Field,

Dartoid

Column #603 Whoopin’ darts ass in Paradise

Monday, August 9, 2021
Column 603
Whoopin’ darts ass in Paradise!

Far be it from me to steer anyone away from a couple weeks of sun and fun in Puerto Vallarta – the place is amazing.

Pristine beaches etch endlessly into the sunset.  Bikinis are everywhere.  The nightlife runs into morning – the Dos Equis flow.  And the food puts my favorite local Mexican haunt to shame.

But the darts scene is another story altogether.  Except for the Lobby Bar of the Marriott Casa Magna (Paseo de la Marina, #5) by all appearances there isn’t a game to be found in the entire city.  I imagine I am one of the few people who has ever wandered here looking for one!

Anyway, I found some “action” and in so doing was able to validate the theory that humidity adds years of life to a dartboard.  Just a few warmup tosses had me dripping in sweat.  I figure that’s the way the theory works – set up a board in the middle of one of the most humid places on the planet and, since no one can tolerate more than a few minutes at the line, the board will last forever.

This board couldn’t have been used a half-dozen times since the Battle of the Alamo.

I imagine this is also why the lighting was virtually non-existent – because the board was hung before electricity was invented.

So, I threw for a while in the heat and the dark.  Munched some nachos and drank a few beers.  Whatever I could do to keep cool.  Trying to survive – or lying in wait.  Perhaps a bit of both.  I wasn’t sure myself.

Around 8:00 p.m., a long-haired kid named Luke sauntered in.  Coke in hand.  Wanted a game.  Said he’d throw the bar darts.  Asked how much money I had.  Right.

So, we threw a few games of Cricket.  Sweated.  Sipped our drinks.  Talked about nothing that made sense to me, at least not these days.  Rock groups.  He was into “sweet young things” on the beach.

A short 30 minutes later, we headed our separate ways.  I, the victor, to a business dinner…

…and Luke, a tad humbled in defeat, to bed.  When you’re eleven years old the sun sets early no matter where you are in the world.

From the Field,

Dartoid

Column #602 Drag Queens, Darts and the Old Dart Coach in Key West

Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Column 602
Drag Queens, Darts and the Old Dart Coach in Key West

A ten-year-oldie… how time flies!

In the last installment of Dartoid’s World I found myself in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – the coldest national capital on the planet.  Somewhere in the countryside yaks wandered the frozen tundra while I pounded the board with new-found friends at the Axis Grill Pub.

This month’s search for elusive Holy Grail – the perfect game in the perfect darts-dive (and of course, the perfect beer) brought me to the tropics, 7,500 miles as the crow flies to the opposite end of the planet: the famous Green Parrot Bar (601 Whitehead) in Key West, Florida.  The closest I came to a yak – or better put, yakking – was watching Marilyn Daniels sing and dance just up the road at “801 Bourbon Street” (on Duval).

Marilyn, a former soccer player named Mitch or Mike or Mervin or who the hell knows, headlines the world famous drag cabaret at Bourbon Street.  Of course, I am only kidding about yakking – Daniels and her cast are flat-out phenomenal performers.  The show here completely outclasses the darts scene on this southernmost four by two-mile speck of land in the continental United States.  I can’t possibly recommend the show highly enough.

While there was an active darts league in Key West – the Conch Republic Dart Association (CRDA) – I was unable to make contact with anybody formerly connected with the league and could only find remnants of what once existed.  The CRDA website has not been updated since 1997.  Years ago, there were seven island establishments that sponsored teams – Coconut’s Lounge, Knucklehead’s Bar and Grill, Seawitch Lounge, Charlie’s Place, Stick and Stein’s Sports Rock Café, Tortuga Bay Restaurant and the Green Parrot, the latter which sponsored two teams.  I peeked in the doors of a few of them but only the Green Parrot is worthy of a visit today.

Tour operators and even the bartenders at the Green Parrot will tell you it’s the oldest bar in Key West, opened in 1890.  This is not true.  The building was actually a grocery store until sometime in the 1920s.  For several decades it was operated as a bar under the name Brown Derby.  What is today known as the Green Parrot – and what in 2000 was rated by Playboy magazine as one of the Best Bars in America – was founded as a bar and sub shop in 1970 (it submarined the subs in 1980).

Playboy recognized the bar for its “down-home, funky, ethnic and shit-kicker” ambiance and, noting the décor, observed that “the decorations are whatever the customers are wearing.”  This is pretty much what my wife Marylou and I found when we wandered in and found the dartboard – and while our two dogs, Bentley and Romy, chewed up the carpet back at our vacation cottage.

There is only one board at the Green Parrot, in the back right corner, but the set-up is great and cozy.  Above the board is an old poster from a one-night exhibition Eric Bristow gave just after he won his fifth world championship in 1986.  I popped a Blackberry message to John Lowe from the bar to find out exactly what year Bristow visited, and Lowe passed my question on to the Crafty One.

But I didn’t hear back…

This is probably because Bristow still harbors ill feelings towards me for calling him a “wanker” in an old column and likening his profile to the Geico gecko in one of my books.  So, I threw for a while, sampled a few beers, tore down Bristow’s poster and then headed out to do the tourist thing.

As it happens, drag queens and the lack of a darts scene are not the only things happening (or not happening) in Key West – although for me Marilyn Daniels’ show and the Green Parrot’s darts nook were my favorite Key West experiences.

One of the must-do things to do is a Conch Train tour.  The popular little train-like coach meanders about the island for a couple of hours and is the quickest and most delightful way to educate oneself on the history of Key West or Cayo Hueso (“Bone Key” – the original Spanish name for the island dating back to 1521 when Juan Ponce de Leon first stepped ashore).  Cayo Hueso is pronounced “kajo weso” – hence from where, when anglicized, the island got its name.  Apparently when de Leon arrived the land was littered with remains from a Native American battlefield – so he christened it Bone Key.

The Conch train took us by Ernest Hemingway’s house where he wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Snows of Kilimanjaro.  Today descendants of his six-toed cat Snowball still live on the property.  The train drove us by La Concha Hotel where Tennessee Williams wrote A Streetcar Named Desire.  We passed the Southernmost Grill (where we later had an unbelievable dinner) which is just 90 miles from Havana and almost 150 miles from the closest Wall Mart.  We passed the Winter White House where Harry Truman spent almost six months of his presidency.  We saw dozens of free-roaming chickens who wander everywhere – so I guess they get along with Hemingway’s cats.  We even drove slowly by the Green Parrot (I nearly hopped off the train).

There are three ways to get to Key West: by boat, plane or car.  The four-hour 100-plus mile drive along US Highway 1 from Miami bisects the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and crosses 42 bridges as it traces an old Florida East Coast Railroad trail that was wiped out in many places by a hurricane in 1935.  Much of the railroad track still stands in a dilapidated state.  The drive at sunrise or sunset (we did both) through wilderness and by the ever-changing scenery of the sea is spectacular.

We tried several restaurants (and all the bars) and hit every gift shop on the island.  Of course, we stopped at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Grill for a Cheeseburger in Paradise.  We tried the highly recommended and outrageously priced Blue Heaven and were disappointed.  The ambience at Hot Tin Roof at sunset is as extraordinary as the fare.  But the Southernmost Grill is as good as it gets.  As far as the bars go, well, this brings me back to the Green Parrot…

Upon departing I learned one more tidbit about darts history in Key West, a little known and long forgotten chapter in the book of Green Parrot lore…

In the late 1980’s (the minds of those involved are even less clear today than they were then – so the specific year is lost forever) none other than the Old Dart Coach himself, Howie Reed, visited to call an exhibition by Wade McDonald at the Green Parrot.  On their way from the North American Open Darts Tournament and en route to the first tournament to be held in the Bahamas, Reed and McDonald were booked by Watney’s to do the Green Parrot show.  McDonald and someone else (whose name is also long forgotten) each were to take on ten of the locals.  Reed was to emcee and call the exhibition.

August in Key West is HOT but the team (Reed in shorts, tuxedo shirt, vest and tie) managed fine thanks to free-flowing adult beverages.  At the end of the show, completely worn out and sweating, Reed staggered to the bar for another beer and a shot of Schnapps…

“A male person came up to tell me how great I was.  He offered to buy me as drink which I gratefully accepted.  I excused myself saying ‘I have to change clothes.’  The change room was the beer locker directly across from the bar and the stool upon which I was seated.  I got up, went to the beer locker, opened the door, entered and, I thought, closed the heavy insulated door behind me.”

“When I bent over to untie my shoes, I felt a breeze.  Looking between my legs I saw this aforementioned male person.  ‘Need some help?’ he asked.”

“‘No!’ I replied, loud and clear.  He left.”

“When I finished changing and got back to the bar some people were laughing hysterically.  Someone said, ‘You don’t know about Key West, do you?’”

“Nope!  Sure didn’t.  But I do now!”

(For the record, Dartoid’s World was unable to confirm that Marilyn Daniels was in the Green Parrot this particular evening.)

From the Field,

Dartoid

Column #601 WAKE UP! SEE THE LIGHT!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Column 601
WAKE UP!  SEE THE LIGHT!

If you are a league that is still sending dues to the ADO or a player who attends tournaments “sanctioned” by the ADO (and hence adding funds to their coffers via a surcharge on your entry fees) and you are not aware of the following you should be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ADO does not deserve league and player support!

Why can YOU not understand?

How can YOU make apologies for and continue to throw money at an organization that will not accept any ethical or moral responsibility to share with the leages and players WHO FUND THEM – to share with YOU – how funds are spent?

It’s mindboggling.

YOU are all that is standing in the way of the long overdue dissolution of this embarrassment to darts in America.

Many leagues have (long ago) seen the light.  Those below haven’t.  The question is WHY?

WAKE UP!  SEE THE LIGHT!

From the Field,

Dartoid

_____________________________________________

Akron Canton Dart Club, Inc. ACDC 4-6 Massillon OH
All Island Dart Tour AIDT 5-3 Hicksville NY
Amarillo Dart Association AMAR 3-5 Amarillo TX
Arizona Darts League AZL 2-3 Phoenix AZ
Autism Speaks Darts Inc ASDI 4-6 Hubbard OH
Blueberry Hill Darts Association BHDA 6-2 St. Louis MO
Caprock Dart Association CPRCK 3-5 Lubbock TX
Carolina Darts Association CARNC 5-6 Apex NC
Central Maine Dart League CMEDL 5-1 Auburn ME
Central Missouri Dart Association CMO 6-2 Jefferson City MO
Cleveland Darter Club Tn. Darters CDCTD 4-6 Middleburg Heights OH
Club 401 FOUR 2-2 Brea CA
Club Dart Central CLUBDC 6-2 Des Moines IA
Colorado Springs Dart League CSDL 2-5 Colorado Springs CO
Columbia Dart Association CLMMO 6-2 Columbia MO
Concho Valley Dart Association CNCHO 3-5 San Angelo TX
Dart Players Nashville DPN 4-2 Hendersonville TN
Dart Players of Alaska DPAK 1-1 Anchorage AK
Dart Players of Springfield DPS 6-5 Urbana MO
Dart Professionals of the West DPW 2-5 Denver CO
Dart Women of the West DWW 2-5 Denver CO
DartsMississippi.org DMS 3-3 Vancleave MS
Delta Dart League DLTA 1-3 Winters CA
Dixie Dart Association DIXIE 3-3 Vancleave MS
Emerald City Darting Organization ECDO 1-2 Seattle WA
Florida Dart Association Inc. FLA 4-5 Lauderhill FL
Fort Worth Dart Association FWDA 3-2 Ft. Worth TX
Genesee Valley Dart Association Inc GVDA 5-2 Rochester NY
Golden Triangle Darts League GTTX 3-1 Nederland TX
Greater Chattanooga Darting Association GCDA 4-2 Chattanooga TN
Greater Jackson Darts Association GJDA 3-3 Jackson MS
Greater Louisville Darting Association GLDA 4-1 Louisville KY
Greater Nashville Darting Association GNDA 4-2 Nashville TN
Greater San Diego Darting Association GSDDA 2-2 San Diego CA
Juneau Dart Group JUN 1-1 Juneau AK
Kenai Darts Association KDA 1-1 Kenai AK
Kodiak Island Dart Association KIDA 1-1 Kodiak AK
Lake Erie Dart Association Inc LEDA 4-6 Mentor OH
Lawton Ft. Sill Dart Association LFSDA 6-5 Lawton OK
LB Darts/Viking Pro Darts LBVIK 5-3 Plainview NY
Liberal Club Dart League LCDL 5-1 Fall River MA
Mat-Su Dart Association MATSU 1-1 Big Lake AK
Metroplex Darts Association MTRPX 3-2 Arlington TX
Minute Man Dart League MMDL 5-1 Danvers MA
Mississippi Gulf Coast Dart Association MGCDA 3-3 DIberville MS
Mississippi Valley Darting Organization MVDO 6-2 Maryland Heights MO
Natrona Country Darting Association NCDA 2-5 Casper WY
New Mexico Dart Association NMX 2-4 Rio Rancho NM
Northern Colorado Dart Association NOCO 2-5 Frederick CO
OK City Darters Association OKCDA 6-5 Oklahoma City OK
Pacific Darts Association PACDA 2-2 Huntington Beach CA
Pecos Valley Dart Association PECOS 2-4 Roswell NM
Pittsburgh Darters PITT 4-6 Mt. Lebanon PA
Portland Area Dart Association PADA 1-2 Portland OR
Queen City Darting Association (NC) QNNC 5-6 Charlotte NC
Rocket City Dart Association ROCK 4-2 Huntsville AL
Rocky Mountain Dart Association Inc. RMDA 2-5 Denver CO
Sacramento Valley Darting Association SACV 1-3 Elk Grove CA
Savannah Area Darting Association SADA 4-3 Savannah GA
Seacoast Dart Association SEAC 5-1 Sanford ME
South TX United Pro Independent Darts STU 3-1 San Antonio TX
Southern Nevada Dart Association SNV 2-3 Las Vegas NV
Spartanburg County Dart Organization SCDO 4-3 Spartanburg SC
Stones River Dart Association SRVR 4-2 Lavergne TN
Syracuse Classic League (Salt City) SALT 5-2 Syracuse NY
Tidewater Area Darting Association TADA 5-4 Norfolk VA
Topeka Dart Association TPKA 6-2 Topeka KS
Tournament Of Champions Directors TOCD 1-3 Winters CA
Valdez Dart Association VALDEZ 1-1 Valdez AK
W.A.D.S. WADS 6-5 Wichita KS
Washington Area Dart Association WADA 5-4 Arlington VA
West Texas Dart Association WTEX 3-5 Amarillo TX
Western Carolina Darts Association WCDA 5-6 Weaverville NC
Wichita Dart Association WDA 6-5 Wichita KS
Youngstown Dart Association Inc. YNDA 4-6 Youngstown OH

 

Column #600 EIGHTEEN YEARS!

Friday, June 25, 2021
Column 600
EIGHTEEN YEARS!

It been more than 18 years since the American Darts Organization has shared a financial report.

REPEAT: EIGHTEEN YEARS!

With all the social media discussion recently (and the Old Dart Coach, Howie Reed’s recent column) about whether that ADO has filed for bankruptcy (and the “defense” by some that the organization has no obligation to share its finances with “non-employees” – whatever that means) it’s worth noting that those who promulgate such an argument are (how do I put this diplomatically?) smokin’ the fucking drapes!

There are at least two reasons…

First, the ADO bylaws require (or used to) an annual financial disclosure (maybe they changed their bylaws – it’s not as if they followed many of their rules in any case).  Second, as an IRS designated charity they are (or were until their status was revoked) required to file an annual return (of course, it’s old news that they didn’t for years – hence the revocation).

The bottom line: while with (possibly) changed bylaws and (possibly) no status with the IRS a technical argument MIGHT be made that the ADO, currently, has no formal requirement to disclose finances, one would think that even the organization’s most ardent supporters would appreciate that the organization has an ethical and moral responsibility to share how funds are spent with the leagues and players WHO FUND THEM!

Don’t buy into the sleight of hand, tapdancing, bullshit and lies.  Educate yourself!  The ADO magic show has been headlining for years.

What follows is old (from 2014) but possibly worth your time to read.  If you’re a league and still paying ADO dues – you’re out of your mindYou’re being ripped off.  If you’re a player planning to attend an ADO “sanctioned” (whatever that means these days) tournament where a couple dollars of your entry fees go to support the ADO – don’t attendYou’re being ripped off.

Leagues and players: you’ll benefit no less by sending your money to Bernie Madoff (and he’s dead!).

The ADO is and has long been an embarrassment to the sport in this country, and beyond.  It weasels money from leagues and players in gives them diddly in return.  STOP supporting the ADO.  They do not deserve to exist another day.

______________________________________________________________

Where there’s smoke there’s fire.

Right now, smoke is billowing about the private ADO “empire” like at Hamas House on a crisp mid-summer’s eve.

There are embers too.  Lots of embers.  And there’s a crowd around the campfire…

A few are trying to keep the embers cool, attempting to stop them from bursting into a raging fire.  What do they want to hide?

Others are pounding my e-mail in-box with information about ADO goings-on.  The information – much of it still not corroborated – is astonishing.

It has now been 24 hours since I sent the following message to the ADO’s chief financial officer, Lloyd Hoover.  I also posted it to the Darts Discussion Group so that others – particularly ADO officials – would be aware.  There has been no response, not from anyone in authority.  Perhaps Hoover is on vacation.  Perhaps his e-mail is on the fritz.  Perhaps he has been told not to reply.  In fairness, 24 hours isn’t a lot of time…

August 5, 2014

Mr. Hoover…

Respectfully, as CFO for the American Darts Organization might I ask that you e-mail me a copy of the most recent financial statement for the organization?  I am working on a column for September 1 and would like to refer to the most recent numbers available.  Thank you.

Paul Seigel (aka Dartoid)

When more than one person knows a secret – or many secrets – it is only a matter of time before everybody knows.  The money trail is often illuminating.  How much is the ADO taking in?  How are they spending it?  Why won’t they say?

Are funds missing?

Again, my e-mail is buzzing.  Some of those who ADO officials may think – may have long thought – are protecting secrets, and friends, are not.

My aim is not to bring the ADO down.  My aim is to see it fixed (and I still firmly believe that current president, David Hascup, is trying).  But I fear his efforts are being thwarted by some of the very people with secrets to hide.

Let me also be clear: I also have no reason to believe Lloyd Hoover has anything but the best of intentions.  I do not know him, but I am told he is an honest stand-up guy.

I feel the same about Hascup.

But if the ADO cannot be fixed, I submit the organization should be dismantled and reconstituted via fair and representative elections with a governing body and squeaky-clean financial transparency – which represent all the dues-paying members (not just the handful who chase points) and leagues the way they should expect to be represented.

For background, take a moment to read the following two columns:

  • http://dartoidsworld.net/2014/07/column-465-can-the-american-darts-organization-be-saved
  • http://dartoidsworld.net/2014/08/column-467-if-i-were-president-of-the-american-darts-organization

Then, if you care and have information, I encourage you to get it to me.  Your name will be held in the strictest confidence.

My e-mail address is: Dartoid1@verizon.net.

From the Field,

Dartoid