How It All Began

Over 20 years ago I decided to buy a dartboard and a cheap set of darts.  I threw every night while watching TV.  Thump, thump, thump.  Retrieve.  Repeat.  For hours at a time.  The only routine I knew was to throw 1 dart at each number, from 1 to 20.  Sometimes I would just try to get 3 darts in the same number.

Then I learned about doubles and triples.  Are you kidding me?  People actually aim for those things and hit them?  Really?  I was happy to consistently hit the board with all 3 darts.  Some days I’d finish an entire practice session without adding any new holes in the wall, which by the way, looked like swiss cheese.

After a year of solitary throwing by myself in my apartment, I discovered that people played dart tournaments for money in bars and they played on teams in dart leagues.  How cool was that?   I had never seen a dart tournament before.  Actually, I had never even seen or met another person who threw darts.  I decided to venture out to a certain bar to watch a dart tournament and see how good these people were.

I sat at a table by myself while I sipped a cold beer and watched people warming up for the tournament.  The first event was a blind draw 501 tournament which was followed by a blind draw cricket tournament.  There were about 40 players, both men and women.  I was eyeing people’s darts and I was intrigued by the various throwing styles.  I also noticed an audible clicking sound that some people’s darts made when they hit the board.

I brought my darts along, but I kept them hidden in my pocket.  Quite frankly, I was scared stiff and I didn’t want to look like an idiot and embarrass myself in front of a bunch of strangers.  I knew nothing about the games that were played.  As such, how could I possibly play a game that I didn’t know the rules to?  Also, would my setup give me away as a newbie?  What if I drew a partner who got angry because he/she drew a newbie?  What if I threw a dart off the board?  Would they laugh at me?  I remember that night vividly.

I saw several people who seemed pretty good and I noticed one guy in particular who seemed to hit a lot of 20’s and he often hit the triple 20.  I was convinced that he was actually aiming for those triples.  He definitely stood out and I would soon find out just how good he was.  Aside from him, others were scoring mostly 45’s and 41’s and I remember thinking to myself, “I do that all the time at home.  I can do this.  I’m coming back next week with my darts and I’m going to play.”

It’s hard to believe that 20+ years later, I’m still playing this game, with more conviction and passion than ever.  I still have much room for improvement and higher goals to meet.  As long as it remains fun, I will continue to travel on this wonderful journey.


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