2012 was a busy year for me. I was in an airplane 47 out of 52 weeks. Most weeks I would fly home on Fridays and spend 2 nights in my bed. Then on Sundays, I’d fly back to work where I lived for 5 nights in a hotel. There were several weeks where I didn’t go home at all because I would fly to a tournament, spend 2 nights in another hotel, and then fly back to work for 5 more nights…in a hotel. I was out-of-town so much that sometimes my bed and pillow at home felt strange.
I often stayed at the same hotel for many weeks in a row. Some weeks I’d be put on the same floor as the previous week. Some weeks I’d even be put in the same room. Other weeks I’d be on the same floor but in a different room. Then some weeks I’d be on a different floor, but the room layout was identical to the previous week’s room on a different floor. There were times that I’d wake up in the middle of the night and I’d have to think for a moment…which side of the bed leads me to the bathroom? If I guessed wrong, I’d stumble into furniture or the wall.
I’m working in a town with zero darts. No leagues, no players, and no pubs with dart boards…or so I thought. I was here for several months before I accidentally found a place with a board. I was looking on Yelp for local places to eat and I saw a picture that somebody took of a dartboard. I discovered which pub it was and I immediately went there to check it out. Low and behold, I found a real dartboard in town. Since then, I’ve become a regular there several nights a week. Their food is quite good and I always have the board to myself for practice. I’ve never run into other dart players there but I occasionally have curious people watch me and ask me questions. Are those really your darts? What games do you play? Can you hit a bullseye? Do you want to play a game? Can I use your darts?
Work is my priority and it enables me to afford the things that I enjoy. I like my work very much. But my work and travel schedule in 2012 had a direct impact on my performances. I did not play close to my standard from the previous year of 2011. I did achieve one of my 2012 goals, which was to compete in THE WORLD soft tip events and qualifying for their final championship at the end of the year. But I played poorly at the world finals and it was extremely frustrating. I have no excuses, but I know why I played so badly and I’ve already started to make some changes.
I renewed my contract with Monster Barrels Design. Monster is a fine company and one the biggest dart barrel companies in Japan. I owe it to Monster and myself, to be the best that I can be. Although I continue to travel for work each week, I’ve committed to practicing more and playing more tournaments in 2013. Also, several of you have asked me to write more in this blog. I will definitely do that too in 2013.
Lately, I’ve been working on a small tweak in my stroke and release which is yielding more consistency, accuracy, and heavy scoring. I’ve done things before which have yielded positive results, but this time, it feels very different. Quite frankly, this new technique has me very excited and it is almost scary how well it is working. Will I be able to repeat this technique during a match and achieve the same results? Might this be the thing that I’ve been searching so long for? Is this the moment where I take my game to the next level? I can’t say for certain, but my gut tells me that this might be it. But there is one thing that I am certain about, my confidence is sky high right now and I remember the last time I had this unique feeling, I was right. Time will tell.