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.