Monday, 12 January 2009

Darts of Pleasure

Listening to: Young Marble Giants - Collosal Youth

Dialect word of the day - Vennel (an alleyway)

I find myself restless and distracted, unable to settle to anything, even the voyeuristic pleasures of 50 stone son on Channel 4 cannot hold my attention. One might attribute this to tiredness, post Christmas torpor or the fiscal woes January inevitably brings, but not a bit of it.

The cause is the end of the darts at the Lakeside, which had me glued to the box for nearly all of last week and has left a yawning void in my life. I love darts and have done from the moment my father, in a state of despair at my mathematical ineptitude, casually suggested I watch it in order to improve my mental arithmetic ahead of my GCSEs. Whilst it was of negligible value in improving my maths; amazingly the Midland Examining Group's GCSE syllabus didn't feature any questions on how to hit a 138 checkout (Treble top, treble 18, double 12, if you're interested) or Steve Beaton's three dart averages, I was hooked.

I love darts in a simple uncomplicated wholehearted manner and it has rewarded me with some wonderful moments of unalloyed joy and nerve jangling tension. I can't abide that awful, sniggering ironic tone the broadsheets adopt when covering it - ' oh look, at the plebs at play, they're all fat, drink booze (despite the fact alcohol at the oche has been banned for about 15 years) and wear too much cheap jewellery' It all smacks of thinly veiled class prejudice to me.

It's a pity because as a sport it has everything; immense skill, it involves repeatedly hitting a target not much wider that your little fingernail with metronomic regularity, startling mental agility and most tellingly, punishing psychological pressures which lead to missed doubles, and players wracked with self doubt wilting in front of your very eyes; like watching Hamlet in polyester shirts.

The players themselves are, by and large, free from ego, entertaining utterly gracious in defeat and there is a genuine warmth between them. This was encapsulated when Tony O' Shea beat his best friend Daryl Fitton in the semi-final, Fitton had six darts to hit a double twenty, yet inexplicably fluffed every single one. O'Shea eventually took the match with an outstanding checkout, yet seemingly heartbroken that in the process he'd crushed his best friend's hopes of a world title in the process. It was one of the most compelling pieces of drama and raw human emotion, you'll see on TV.

If you've made it this far without losing the will to live well done, thus endeth today's bout of darts evangelism. I will endeavour not to mention the subject this side of the Winmau World Masters, where my sermon will be 'Why darts should be an Olympic Sport'


scarlet-blue said...

Now you look an interesting kind of chap...
I will be back...

Mrs Pouncer said...

Oh, thank heavens. I thought I was the only one. I simply couldn't tear myself away from the screen, not even when Mrs Ted Hankey was disporting herself. Obviously, I really DO regard them as plebs-at-play, but I'm allowed to. Noblesse oblige. Blessings. CLdeMP

Madame DeFarge said...

or a pend

Darts? Hmm, I'm not entirely convinced by your fervour, but I am always impressed by the arithmetical prowess shown by the flingers of the such things.

Actually, I confess to having begun to watch snatches of it, after realising just how difficult it is to hit a dartboard when on visits to pubs etc. As I have previously mentioned, my hand and eye co-ordination is lousy, so respect to the big men!