December 29, 2010

SOUNDTRACK OF OUR DARTS
PART 3

Joe’s soundtrack is from 1964. His Englebrook bar was a pioneer in the early CDC list of dart bars. Joe encouraged the fledgling club by promoting the game on the west side generally and Brook Park specifically. His inclusion in the Hall of Fame is well deserved.

When he opened the Englebrook the music on the juke box was commonly loaded on records by the company you leased the box from. Most of the selections were from the Billboard list of national favorites. But exceptions to that list were made for local requests. Joe asked that two songs be put on the machine and never removed.

One of those was:

Both of the songs were by Ray Price, actually the “A” and “B” side of the same disk. The “B” side was I Won’t Mention It Again. For The Good Times was written by Kris Kristofferson and later won the Academy of Country Music Song of the Year.

From the lyric:

Don't look so sad I know it's over

But life goes on and this old world will keep on turning

Let's just be glad we had some time to spend together

There's no need to watch the bridges that were burning

Thanks Joe.

Next time: Part 4 Steel’s soundtrack.

Long time member of Family & Friends team from Dunham Inn Tavern, Jack Vanek has died.

Our sympathies.

December 22, 2010


December 22, 2010

SOUNDTRACK OF OUR DARTS
PART 2

Steves’s soundtrack comes from 1962 when he was 19 years old. As an apprentice in an art studio in the Park Building downtown he was assigned to menial duties of basically a “gofer”. To go for coffee and to clean the artist’s water bowls. The water was used to clean their brushes and for acrylic and watercolor paintings that were employed in advertising then. Ironically he would return to the Park building years later to join Tom Yurcich and later yet form the Cleveland Darter Club.

Steve began playing darts in that earlier studio environment. He and the artists played with handmade targets. Bullseyes drawn on available art materials. He remembers that the music played in the studio at that time were popular songs and one of them became associated with his dart games.

Steve’s soundtrack was:

Steve is not a “music person” and admits that he doesn’t know who made the recording that they listened to.

I’m making an assumption that it was probably Andy Williams who was incredibly popular in 1962. The song is from Breakfast at Tiffany's and was sung by Audrey Hepburn in the movie. Music by Henry Mancini and Lyrics by Johnny Mercer.

Good choice Steve, my huckleberry friend.

Next time: Part 3 Joe ’s soundtrack.


December 15, 2010

SOUNDTRACK OF OUR DARTS
PART 1

This is a series of stories about our team’s music choices. Throughout the last few years I’ve noted the comments of team mates about the music on the jukebox as we play league night darts. Sometimes the comments are just about how loud it is, but usually it’s about the songs and artists. I began to think about the music I used to play on the jukebox as my personal darting soundtrack. I’ve asked each of our players to tell me about their choice.

My soundtrack began before I came to Cleveland. In the early ‘70s I thought there was a chance to become a better shooter. Tough enough to compete with anyone I might run across. A work mate in Mansfield suggested a bar with a dartboard where we could have lunch and play a few games of darts. The bar was in the industrial flats, yes Mansfield has a flats too.

He loved this place because it was the only place he could get a capicola sandwich. A workman’s bar that seemed to never turn on any lights other that the beer signs. So we would take off for sandwiches, pitchers of Budwieser and darts.

When we usually arrived, after the lunch crowd, the bar was pretty quiet. After a few games I needed some sound. The jukebox against a back wall held a carousel of 45 rpm records. Plays were a quarter. The box would shuffle the disks with a mechanical ticking sound. When it located your choice it held it out, rotated it onto a turntable and dropped the tone arm into the outside groove. I loved watching that.

My personal soundtrack was:

I came late to appreciate Janis. She had already died the year before and I was just catching up to all she had done. Although I really loved her over-the-top blues rants, this song was playful and just what I needed to relax and concentrate on what I was trying to do. I played it at home during practice sessions and later at the Harbor Inn. Over and over again.

Next time: Part 2 Steve’s soundtrack.


December 8, 2010

A TEAM ACCOMPLISHMENT OF NOTE

In 1976 in the CDC Bullsheet Newsletter it was acknowledged that the oldest player in the league at that time was George “Quiffy” Chaplin at 72 years old. We could not imagine at that time that we might even approach that age.

I didn’t know him (we met a few times), and I have no idea how competitive he was. But that never mattered to me, I just thought it amazing. And although my competing days recede into my rear view mirror, I still do.

On October 26 of this year the senior members of Tommy’s Flights accomplished something that I think is pretty cool. We became the oldest 4-person team in CDC history to win an 801 Team league game. I’m able to make that claim because I’ve been here all that time.

But stranger yet, on September 23 we did it again. I soon realized that, even though we still were the same average age in years, we were actually older. By 28 days.

So I have decided to submit this record to the CDC. The oldest 4-person Team to win an 801 league game is Steve Farkas, “Chief” Andracchio, Bill O’Neil and Joe Gannon at an average age of 71 years and 249 days old. And who knows, we might get it done again.

I’m proud to have been a part of this accomplishment.

Take heart, those of you who think that you’re “getting up there”, you can still compete.

Sometimes.

OTHER TEAM NOTES

In the 2010 Club Championship Men Singles our team leader for the last 4 years, John "X" Krecek finished second to Steve Evangelista.

Congratulations again John.

Also in the Hall-of-Fame Blind Draw Doubles October 2, Steel Farkas and Joe Olah won. Good going Steel.

And finally, in the Open Blind Draw Doubles of that same event John Krecek and Jason Griffin finished second.

John and Steel have been responsible for 56 percent of our scoring this year.


December 1, 2010

THROWBACK TOURNAMENT?


Let me say this first. I hate throwback uniforms.
Also camouflage uniforms and that month of pink accessories.

If a football team wants to commemorate the 1942 Rambling Mudturtles, fine. Make them play in leather helmets without face guards. And canvas pants with those fiberboard thigh pad inserts. Oh, and by the way, move the goal posts up to the goal line the way they used to be.

But since the craze has spread across all professional and now college sports, lets try it with the CDC Hall-of-Fame celebration. How about a Throwback Tournament to replace the Old-Timers Tournament.

The problem I’ve had with the Old Timers matches are that the cut-off for playing is the year that you joined the club, not the age of the players. The current system allows for some to have to play against shooters who are as much as 20 years younger.

For this tournament I suggest that the youngest age allowed be 65. Matches must be played on wound-paper boards from those game-room dart sets from the ‘60s. The ones that hang from a wire loop on top. And those darts, you know the ones, all plastic with the little brass heads. Six to a box in three different colors. Clothing should include bell-bottoms and tie-dyed shirts. An attempt should be made to grow sideburns in deference to those who can’t grow any more on their heads.

It would fit nicely into the day’s festivities. I figure it should take about 25 minutes to play with the 5 entrants it would probably get.


November 24, 2010

A LITTLE BIT OF THIS
A LITTLE BIT OF THAT

A BOARD BUSTER RESPONDS

I recently received:

I enjoy reading your Bull Archive, I agree with your post "The club needs a voice" and believe it is a direct reflection of "Where have all the teams gone?". I believe the eastside has been taken over by the Gold Coast Darters and all of those that I have spoken to are too hard headed to understand the quality of sport that the CDC offers. It doesnt help that certian CDC figures have invested time and money participating in other clubs programs either. Hopefully this will change with the new philosphy that seems to prevail within the CDC today.

Dennis Clotz
Eastsider and Board Buster

Thank you Dennis.

Well, it looks like things are moving on that front. This week the CDC announced an initiative to promote growth of darts on the East side. In their words:

Guzzlers 4060 Mayfield Rd, South Euclid is a new affiliate tavern with the CDC. They will be hosting a meeting on December 4th for all who are interested in attending that will focus on ideas for east side League Growth.

...a new initiative to help grow darts on the eastern side of town (including Cleveland Heights, South Euclid, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights and surrounding areas as well as the southeast areas of Garfield Heights, Maple Heights, Bedford, Northfield, and surrounding areas.)

There is currently nothing on the club’s web site but here is a copy of the e-mail. Stay tuned.

OUR TEAM’S PUBLIC SERVANTS

I commend two members of our team for their work on election days. Joe Gannon and Steve Farkas spend pre-dawn to late night working separate voter precincts in Cuyahoga County. These, often 18 hr. days, are spent assisting the poll workers and, in general, resolving issues and repairing faulty equipment.

Thank you guys.

A REAL SCROOGE

You may have seen posters and table-cards around town for “Scrooges Night Out” at Grays Armory downtown. It contains this piece of art that Tom Yurcich did for them many years ago. At some point along the way they decided to drop his signature from the art. I don’t know why.

Thankfully we of the CDC still have reverence for his art.

HAVE A BERRY HAPPY THANKSGIVING


November 17, 2010

STEEL VS. PLASTIC

A couple of weeks ago I stepped outdoors during our league match where one of the opposing players was smoking a cigarette. He looked at me and asked, “How long you been playing?” I hesitated a second and said, “A little under 50 years.” I realized that looking at me he would easily think that a quite reasonable answer. I still find it amazing.

But on this night I was the only member of our team with no greater than a double-digit membership number, and was thus designated the only old fart of the team. He quickly volunteered that he had been playing for 13 years. Oh? Then he stated that their team had lost its first match ever the previous week. I looked it up and it was true. Why had I never seen him before? Why had I never heard of their team? And why had I never been in this bar? I asked if he had played on other teams or changed the team’s name? No, he said.

The conversation continued as he mentioned that he had just recently purchase his first set of darts. After 13 years I thought? I asked him whose darts he usually shot with. He said all of his darts were mostly given to him by someone. He said that he had many of those dart sets at home. “Every set I’ve ever used”.

Very strange I thought.

Then as he turned to go back inside he casually mentioned that he had only been playing steel-tip for a year. Well, I thought, that was the answer I had been looking for. Without even thinking I blurted out, “Then you haven’t been playing darts at all”. My obvious bias didn’t phase him.

I could have gone on but he went back to the match and left me thinking.

Yes, he played for 13 years, but did he play darts? I don’t think so. That plastic soft-tip board has a larger bullseye, a larger triple ring, a larger doubles ring and in the standard “machine scored game” there are no double ins or double outs. And the machine does all the math for you! Wow, subtraction!

Yes these guys are a very, very good team, probably capable of rolling over the league this half because they throw so accurately. They have played for some time in what is called the Greater Cleveland Darter Soft-tip League where all of they’re games, home and away, are played in this same bar. They have yet to learn that they can lose.

My feeling is that it takes two things to be a truly great shooter. The first is the ability to shoot the darts accurately. But the second, more important thing is to understand how the game is played and won. You can hit anything you aim at and still lose to the player who knows what to shoot at.

The very talented soft-tip players may learn the first part, but they still have to come to grips with more difficult part two.

Steve says it reminds him of when the “coal crackers” invaded the English darts world in the ‘70s. They had never seen a bristol board and avoided the triple ring because they didn’t know its real value, yet were so deadly accurate that they scored heavily on doubles and singles and were able to get to any doubles number and hit it without hesitation. They lost early but as soon as they learned the out-shot combinations they were unbeatable.

Maybe this team’s members will learn what to shoot at.


November 10 , 2010

THEY DID IT ALL BY HAND

 

In the past few weeks I’ve talked about CDC’s early publications and advertising as it existed in those years.

It's important to me because the club wouldn’t exist today, I think, if Tom and Steve hadn’t been in the business of advertising. They were able to promote the club in the only way that a small “hobby” activity could have gained public notice.

I don’t know how you feel about advertising. I do know that many people hate it and think its useless. But I do know that it works, mostly without you knowing that. And its a necessary evil when you ask someone to give you money for a tournament or for posters or flyers - for just about anything you have to do to promote new “free” sport.

I say “free” because no one has to pay for time on a steel-tip dart board. There’s no coin slot or ticket booth. Tom and Steve knew that they had to create value for sponsors to participate. And boy did they do it.

The Spider and Bullsheet didn’t get printed by the dart-gods. They offered professional advertising throughout these posters and flyers and tournament programs.

Some of the ads that they, and later I did, were what those of us in the industry call boilerplate. Tell the customer the name of the company, where we are, how the get there and sometimes what we do. We went much further. Our relationships with photographers who “cut us a break” on costs and our own ability to illustrate, we were able to do ads that were far beyond what they would actually pay. And the money they did pay was used for the production of the posters or publications.

And we did it all by hand.


November 3 , 2010

A CLICHÉ THAT THANKFULLY DIED

When I first started in advertising in the 60s, and also learned how to play the game from a ‘Brit’ co-worker, an old cliché regarding darts was universal.

In those days old clichés were the way that advertisers got there message started instantly by using one of them. The light bulb for a new idea, an ostrich with its head in the sand for avoiding an idea and the fried egg on the sidewalk for a hot idea. Tiresome, but they persisted. I wasn’t often asked to use many of these, but occasionally one of the bone-heads in the agency or a client would suggest one.

And the one that bothered me the most was the dart board cliché. Darts meant a random choice of options because the visual was always a “spread” of darts around the target. I believe that at that time most people believed that a dart couldn’t be thrown with any accuracy. Even today advertisers like stock brokerages still use the image like the one below.

“But we can make an accurate choice for you”, they say. Come on man!

Thankfully through the years I’ve seen the use of this and other clichés diminish, and for the most part, the image of the dart and dart board have become recognized as meaning that this idea is right on the mark. Maybe some of those people in advertising today did what I did. Pick up a dart and find out that it can be thrown accurately.


October 20, 2010

THE CLUB NEEDS A “VOICE”

I’ve mentioned before that the guys who created the club were all involved in the advertising and art fields. What many don’t know is that because of that background we all knew the field of publishing. In most cases self-publishing. Printed magazines and newsletters were the lifeblood of getting the club recognized as legitimate. The fact that these publications were completely professional in appearance and writing was more important for the promotion of the club than many may realize.

And of course in those days we needed advertisers to play costs of paper and printing, even though they were reduced by the guy’s negotiations. We also knew how to do professional ads. It was our day jobs. More on that subject at a later time.

Unfortunately there is no equivalent today.

In a 1979 issue of the Bull Sheet credits for contributors included: Keith Walker, Guss Topping, Charlie Andracchio, Bud Huston, Don Mikos, Tom McKnight, Chris Nielson, Jack Dore, Jim Wing and yours truly. Darters all.

But also among the contributors was someone else who became the “voice” of the club, a non-darter, Joan Kriikku. She wrote and edited countless accounts delivered to her verbally by all of us. Organized it, put it in context and made it understandable to all who read the publications that Steve, Tom created. The Spider and Bullsheet.

Now, let me admit that there is no way that the culture of the printed page will ever be possible again. But we can still have a public face. Electronically. If we have stories and real news and opinion.

Its actually what I’ve tried to do in this space. But my commitment and exposure exclude me from being anything but a voice in a small space. Simply put, I don’t know what's going on out there. And a full scale blog is something I can’t deal with. I don’t have the patience to deal with comments from people who just want to pick a fight and don’t have anything constructive to say. But the offer is always there to talk to me by e-mail.

The club has the message board, but they don’t have a commentator or a “voice”. A spokesman for the Club. Someone to have conversation with. To make a point with ideas and suggestion.

There are some dart voices in the wilderness. The ADO website has a blogger who is connected to current events. Steve Brown at Brownie’s Blog.

Others that I have found are mostly lists of winners of club or bar events. Posters of photos with no mention of who is pictured or where they were taken. Just the easy cut-and-paste and upload stuff. Very little comment.

I think very few people today appreciate the professional nature of those early publications. And the club needs an equivalent “voice” today.


October 13, 2010

WHERE HAVE ALL THE TEAMS GONE?

Three things converged last week that made me start thinking about the future of darts in our tiny part of the dart world. The first was the 2nd Annual Hall-of-Fame inductions. The second was my recent comments about the games that we used to play on league nights. And the third was a notification from the Club about our East League being reduced to just 9 teams.

I had recently scanned a Sun Newspapers 1983 article about darts on the east side. The story includes information about the size of the CDC on the east side at that time.
In part, it reads:

“Griesmer plays on one of the six teams sponsored by S&S Lounge in Euclid. While S&S backs the most teams on the east side of town, other local pubs sport clubs too. Including Muldoon’s, Vine Lanes, Willowick Cafe, Major McKinney’s, Shore Lanes, Surfside Cafe, Shultz’s Place, Old Town Tavern and Echle’s Tavern.”

Full story here

Think about that. 9 other bars on the east side. If they only sponsored one team apiece (and many had more) that would mean at least 15 dart teams on the east side alone in 1983. Participation in the CDC has always been smaller on the east side than west.

But we are now reduced to just nine teams. And that's in only 7 bars.

At the induction ceremony last Saturday there were comments made about the number of teams that the Harbor Inn sponsored at one time. 12 teams! How I remember. It was crowded on Tuesday nights. Teams had to bid on the most desirable boards. (Proximity to the bar was one.)

Of course the Harbor isn’t even technically on the east side. We just chose after a season in the West League to request that we go east. So that leaves only 6 dart bars on the east side.

Where have all the teams gone? To X-box? To on-line gambling? Maybe darters eventually moved west.


October 6, 2010

DARTS BY CANDLELIGHT?

A little more CDC history. In the 1980s the club circulated a Suggestion/Grievance Form. It was meant to encourage members to voice their recommendations for dart night procedures and to mention any disputes with teams or players.


ENLARGE

But in 1983 someone used the form to announce, perhaps one of the weirdest league nights in CDC history.

The note reads:

“After 4 games in the match the bar had a power failure. The last 7 games, by agreement of both captains, were played by candle light and flash light. Both teams had a great time.

The first time in CDC history: ?”

It might also be the last.


2nd ANNUAL HALL-OF-FAME CEREMONY OCTOBER 2 AT THE HARBOR INN.


For those who missed the 2010 Hall-of-Fame presentation you missed a good party. And you missed the chance to thank the new members of the Hall for helping to build the Club. If it weren’t for them and the others we wouldn’t have the CDC today.

Thank you guys.


September 29 , 2010

FOUND:
AN ANSWER TO A QUESTION THAT NO ONE ASKED

Going through the boxes of old dart publications is interesting. I was looking for any materials that might jog my brain as I review the origins of darts in Cleveland. Some photos that I could scan or articles I could post in the future.

I ran across little gems dismissed as trivial at the time but really interesting when viewed 30 years later. Among them is a 1978 Bullsheet with an explanation of the “new” scoresheet and how it was to be made out.

Eureka! An answer to a question that I posed several months ago. How many games did we used to play and how many points did we play every league night.

What I said in February was:

"Back then, we played 4 singles best-of-three, 4 doubles best-of-three and 3 team games at one point each. That's an 11 point total."

I was right. Go to this page for an explanation.


September 22 , 2010

THOU SHALT MIND YOUR
MANNERS WHILE SCORING AND...

In recent weeks I have posted videos concerning the etiquette of chalking games (See Video Replay). I’ve done this because I was reminded by the Club’s website where the “10 Commandments” for Keeping Score has been made available as a PDF. I recommend it to all.

I don’t think many new players are even aware of these rules. I’ve seen them disregarded many times. They make such reasonable sense. And they keep disputes to a minimum - if they are followed and understood.

Two of the ten represent the most problems:

Number 4. Scorekeepers Shall Not call out a score, of one dart or all three -- unless the shooter asks you!

In my experience shooters have a habit of pulling the darts immediately from the board, turning away and expecting the correct score to be recorded and subtracted without comment or acceptance of the chalker’s conclusion. They owe it to the scorer to at least say O.K. or God Forbid tell him what they think they scored. By turning and walking away you create the possibility of a mis-score that can come back to complications with commandment number 7.

7. Scorekeepers Shall Not change a score - regardless - if that player (team) has shot again and a second score written down. An error in a shooter's score MUST be corrected before he (team) shoots again or it stands.

So many times in my experience a team member will suddenly rise and question the score after one or two turns have gone by. He will insist that the score be changed. Even though in some cases it may be a reasonable way of avoiding an angry dispute, the correct answer should always be NO WAY.

Know the rules and pay attention. The scorer may be in charge, but we do make mistakes but they are seldom intentional.

Because I think that PLAYERS should be aware of the rules, I’ve decided to post these commandments beside every dart board we visit this year.

 

 


WE LOSE GARY “88” HULL

Just days before he was to be inducted into the CDC Hall-of-Fame Gary succumbed to cancer.

He was a great darter and a real force in continuing the development of the Club in the late 70s and the 80s. Known for one of the hardest and heaviest darts in the league, it seemed that bars might find holes in the walls behind the boards after he played on them.

I’ll always remember our “spirited” rivalry. He once admitted to me, with a twinkle in his eye, that against league rules he often neglected to make out the scoresheet for a match to make sure that he would be matched up against me in singles.

We’ll all miss “88”.

(Thanks Denny Reim for the photo.)


September 15 , 2010

OUR STEEL ON FIRE

Teammate and my own East Cleveland Firefighter, Steel Farkas competed this August in the Can-Am-Police-Fire Games in Dublin, Ohio. The games are a multi-sport, Olympic style event open to Fire fighters and Police throughout Canada and the U.S.

 

He came home with two medals earned in two dart events. A gold in Mens Cricket Doubles with pick-up partner Chris Miller from the Capital University Police Department and a bronze in Mens 501 Singles. In addition, Steel and Miller placed 4th in Mens 501 Doubles and Steel had a 6th place in Mens Cricket Singles.

He is already making plans to attend the World Police & Fire Games in August next year. The World Games will be held in New York City.

Congratulations Steel!


A GOOD GUY LOST

While I was away we also lost another darter and friend. Jack Dore. He died August 26th at only 66. Another part of our legacy is gone.

Jack was a former CDC President and Distinguished Darter (CDC 953). The Club owes a great deal of its early history to Jack’s contributions.

He was one of my favorite friends, partners and opponents during the first two decades of darts in Cleveland. He was almost impossibly positive and upbeat. He always had a smile, always a warm handshake and a laugh. The look in his eyes that he was up to some mischief.

I enjoyed the times with him. See ya later Jack. We’ll have beer.


August 25, 2010

MY VACATION IN MY MIND

Its that time of year that I set aside for doing nothing. Well, not really doing nothing - just doing something else.

For over ten years we had taken our vacation around September 1st. Now that traveling over 600 miles to a rental house has become unaffordable, we still set aside this time of year for turning off the TV, using the internet for e-mail only and reading a good mystery novel in a comfortable chair with a bloody mary or two.

And I still go to the beach in my mind.

So for the next two weeks I’ll not be thinking about darts or work or computers.

I’ll be back for the first week’s update with the team’s stats and schedule and some new thoughts about darts.

See you then.

August 18, 2010

BACK TO THE SUMMER OF 78

I’ve always been interested in reading the reminiscences of the darters from the early years of our sport. There aren’t many references out there but I read them with great interest to compare how I felt about that same experiences.

Then I run across my own words transcribed by an unknown reporter. In 1978 the club produced a newsletter called The Cleveland Dart Dispatch. On the cover of the November issue was an illustration of yours truly. It marked my return from Long Beach where I competed in the ADO-BDO All-Star match. Earlier that same year I had also won the Burma Road Championship in Cincinnati which paid for my wife’s wedding ring. But back to the All-Star match.

What I find amazing about this 32 year old article is that although time has a way of changing the memory of facts, this is exactly the way I recall it and have often repeated to those who have asked.

I was simply devastated by my performance.

As I said then, “Frankly I shot the worst on the team. And I got blown away in my second game.” Yep, OUT in two straight games. No wonder Team Captain, Tom Fleetwood took me out of the doubles round that followed.

Because of that I’ve always been reluctant to wear my shirt from that match. We packed it in a box where it remained for 31 years. I did wear it at last year’s CDC Hall-of-Fame Ceremony. And who shows up. George Silberzahn, the shooter I beat to take the spot on the team.

The best thing about the article is that it mentions names of many who I had forgotten. That memory thing again.

The best part of the whole All-Star weekend from my perspective is that the representative from our region of the country was a member of the Cleveland Darter Club. At least I accomplished that much.

Read entire article.
Click here.

CORRECTION:

Last week I neglected to mention that Denny Reim was also a member of the original FLIGHTS team. Thanks for the update Denny. Again, its that memory thing.


August 11, 2010

THE TEAM'S LEGACY GROWS

Congratulations to Joe Gannon, Denny Reim, Wally Pisorn and Nub Bruening.

Among the nine 2010 inductees to the CDC Hall of Fame are four past and present contributors to the history of our team.

Joe, current member of Tommy’s Flights; Wally, our long-time bar owner-benefactor-supportor; and Denny, past member of Tommy’s.


Also Wally and Nub were formerly members of the original Flights team.

I'm proud to have been on the same teams with all of them.

The rest of the incoming class include Jane Boyd, Gary Hull, Dave Kapustik, Frank Pratt and Pete Smolleck.

The induction ceremony will take place on October 2 at the Harbor Inn.


August 4, 2010

DARTS:
THE CARD GAME

Somewhere in my travels through the dart world I bought a deck of cards “especially created and designed for Dart Players”.

A few months ago I wrote about the “Stupidest Video Game” Nintenos Wii game of darts. I guess this is the “Stupidest Game of Cards”.

It is a deck of three suits. Double (Red), Singles (White) and Trebles (Green). Players are dealt 5 cards and the remainder are placed face down in a stack. The top card of this “Blind Stock” pile is turned over for a “Disclosed Stock”.

You play any Double card in your hand or either “Stock” pile to open the game. After every shot, if the “Disclosed Stock” is used, it has to filled with the next card in the “Blind Stock”.

Any available Treble cards can the be used for scoring. Doubling Out has to be done with a Double card.

Back in the 70s when I got this deck I never showed them to anyone and so I never tried to play the game. But after the initial reading of the rules I realized that there were probably some inherent problems. You might be able to run through the deck and never get the right Double card to go out. Double 1 anyone?

So this little gem has been sitting a box of old dart memorabilia for over 30 years.
But fortunately I ran across more useful stuff for the future.


July 28, 2010

PART TWO
STATS MATTER
“PART’S PRACTICE”

As I mentioned last week I adopted a practice routine that made sense to me but was drawn from thin air. I had no knowledge of what other shooters were doing. Now I know that others use basically the same approach.

Recently I was searching sites to determine who might be considered “the best darter in the U.S.”. It actually turned out to be a Canadian. John Part was born in Toronto and currently dominates North American darts according to the Professional Darts Corporation. He recently won the North American Dart Championship June 23 in Los Vegas.

The PDC has a page on their site in which John discusses his approach to practice.
In it he says:

I play against an imaginary opponent who is very consistent (30 points per dart).

The only way to rate your performance is to chart your progress. I always use pen and paper to keep my scores while practicing.

Pretty much what I thought all along. Except I never knew how many points per dart the better players were averaging at the time.

Whatever your practice routine might be, John’s closing point is the most important one.

If your average does not gradually increase you will be alerted that there is a problem.

John Part’s Six “Part” how, when and why.


July 21, 2010

STATS MATTER

I have always been a believer in stats. My teammates over the years will tell you that. I played a lot of baseball/softball in my youth and calculated my batting average. I bowled a lot, and that’s ALL about stats. You have to count the pins you knock over. Stats - what a novel idea.

When I started to get interested in darts I was only interested in getting to the “Finish Line” first. Double out. Game Over. But then as I progressed to higher levels I needed a practice routine that would suggested that I was getting better. Because I had to GET BETTER.

I devised a personal system to do this. I’ve discovered recently that my system is shared among, at least a few, top players. Thanks to this inter-web thingy I have found that John Part has an instructional sight about dart practice. More about his later.

I tied to practice every weekday. I probably got close to 3.5 times a week. My routine, which I practiced for more than 5 years, was this. A closed room with no distractions. The door was closed and could not be opened until I was done. No TV, no telephone and no food. That was a lot easier in the 70s.

I wrote 301 ten times across the top of a ruled pad and 1 thru 8 down the margin on the left side. (301 was the singles game in CDC at the time). After a warm-up period of about 5 minutes of shooting at certain doubles (20,19, 18, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1) I played 10 games of 301 recording every score that resulted from my turns. No cheating and starting over because “I wasn’t really-really ready yet”.

I then wrote the total number of darts to accomplish every game and then the total of all darts for 10 games. This gave me an easy average number of dart per game by just adding a decimal point one digit from the right. By simply dividing that number by three I got an average score per dart.

In those years I had no idea how many darts any National or International dart shooter would score. All I was trying to do was raise my score every week, month, year.

Now with the internet I know how far I had to go. The Professional Darts Corporation and others publish these stats for major tournaments. Whew!

I’m so glad that I played at the top of my game in the 70s. Today I would never get out of the Gold League in the CDC.

PART TWO NEXT WEEK


July 14, 2010

ANOTHER LEGEND THAT INFLUENCED CLEVELAND DARTS

Bob Theide of Morrestown NJ, was one of Tom Yurcich’s heros. Even though he was late to come to steel tip “English” darts, his techniques, both physical and mental impressed Tom greatly. They became friends and Tom sought his advice often.

When Tom and I talked about game strategy or throwing mechanics he would often say, “Bob Theide told me to do it like this.” On national tournament trips one of the first things Tom would do was look up Bob. They would sit for long periods with heads together talking darts. Sizes, weights and shapes.


In Bob’s own words:
“The first English dart tournaments I played in I used the Widdy, wooden dart. I thought the metal darts were too heavy and then when I did get a metal dart it was Silver trim. Those darts were thinner, and gave me shooting room in the triple and had a grip on them. I used feathers flights, Silver trim flights were the best, Unicorn and Kwiz flights fell apart. I used feathers about all the time, although I did fool around with the plastic ones. I needed the feathers because I didn’t throw hard.”

Even though Tom threw harder than most shooters he still adopted feathered flights.

“Silver Trim drilled the brass dart out and put lead in them to make them heavier.”

Chief gave me a set of those same darts a couple of years ago.

Now I’m taking some advice from Bob.

“Then in the early ’80s ...I don’t know exactly why, but I stepped back and figured it was foolish to embarrass myself with the way I was playing, and that it was just a waste of time. You can’t play if you feel that way, so I stopped.”


AND ON THAT NOTE...

I am having my people call ESPN to reserve an hour of prime-time for my announcement of whether I am going to play darts next fall.

The show will be hosted by The Dude Lebowski.

The interview will be held in a Bowling Alley. Our drink-of-choice will be White Russians.

Because. The Dude Abides.


July 9, 2010


June 30 , 2010

THE POTTSVILLE INVADER

In the first few years of darts in Cleveland we measured our abilities against some out-of-towns. For the most part we looked west to the North American Dart Organization because they already existed in our English board game. We hadn’t even supposed that the Brits would come into the country. Mostly guys who came in to the Harbor Inn were from Chicago on their way to the U.S. Championship, then held in New York City.


Even though none of us had really considered a national tournament we were pretty good at holding our own against the “barnstorming darters”. They came into town to fund their trip to the East. Ernie Peto, Tom Yurcich, Steve Farkas and I were able to make lunch money off of them.


Then Steve Farkas went to Philadelphia to scope out the players. A big mistake for us. But a boost to our understanding of just how good the dart shooters in the U.S. could be.


He ran into the Pottsville legend, Jerry Umberger. The Coal Miners, as we referred to them at the time were lead by Jerry. And as he recounts in an article about meeting Steve, he had no idea our game existed.


“I started English darts when Steve Farcus (sic), of the Spider magazine, came to Pottsville looking for good dart players to interview and play against. This was American darts. I guess he wanted to learn about them. He was in Philadelphia and someone told him, whatever you do don’t come to Pottsville because there are a lot of really good players up here. Well he did and stopped down at the Firehouse where I played and they called me. I thought it was a joke, or something stupid you know, so my dad went over, then calls up and said I’d better get over there because there was some guy over there that had darts that come apart. So I went over and he asked me to throw the darts at the American board and he couldn’t believe how good I could throw those darts without ever throwing them before. Well, then I didn’t know you had to have your own darts and that’s all you can throw”. Read the entire article.

Damn you Steve for suggesting the English game to him.


June 23 , 2010

HARBOR INN CELEBRATES SLOVENIAN HERITAGE

Last weekend, knowing that the U.S. soccer team was going to play Slovenia in the World Cup, I had a thought to e-mail the team and suggest that we get together at the Harbor Inn to watch the match with Wally.


Then I realized that the game was at 10am. Not only did I think this might be a little early to drop into the bar on a whim but I'm REALLY not up to drinking and darts at that time of the morning. And certainly too early for one of Elizabeth's famous Harbor Burgers. I didn't think that Wally would open that early anyway.


Boy was I wrong!


As the Plain Dealer reported "By the hundreds, local Slovenian-Americans descended on the Harbor Inn in the Flats".

David fought Goliath to a draw Friday, a 2-2 score, and Greater Cleveland's Slovenian community savored the moment.

Wally Pisorn posted flyers offering breakfast with kranjska klobasa (Slovenian sausage) and plenty of cold bottles of Lasko beer.


Read the story here.


Although I don't think I could take an accordion at 10am, at least there weren't any vuvuzelas in the place.

Congratulations to Wally and his Slovenian team for a great run. Now lets see what the U.S. can do in the round 0f 16.


June 16 , 2010

AN IDEA WHO'S TIME HAS PASSED

A guy named Vince Migliore has written an article called The Stiff-Wrist Dart Throwing Technique and a video to illustrate it. In them he theorizes that there are too many variables in the typical shooter's throw. He thinks that taking three of these out of the throw (fingers, wrist and body lean) will produce more consistent shots. Hmm.

He writes:

The Stiff-Wrist throw eliminates finger extenion, wrist movement, and the forward lean during the thrust.

The Stiff-Wrist method entails a grip on the dart that doesn't change during the throw. The dart point then is facing downward at the time of release. Extending the forearm at the elbow is the major force for exerting velocity to the dart. Upper arm movement is minimal.

(This) throw provides an accurate alternative to the traditional method of playing darts. The point-down orientation of the dart is self-correcting, and the throw feels a lot more natural. By eliminating multiple sources of error the player improves his mastery and control of the dart flight path.

Nothing new here it seems to me. I think anyone who has studied his own throwing technique (this means you Chief) has experimented with this. I know I did. 35 years ago.

At the height of my attempts to improve my game to a national level I spent a great deal of time analyzing ways to get more consistency. Consistent is one thing, accurate is another. And this technique just doesn't result in any accuracy.

Take at look at his video with particular attention to the last shot at the bull. As a beginner this might have some value, but as a national or international player it sure wouldn't impress anyone. I think he should have watched some competitions before posting this.


June 9 , 2010

Hail ! Hail ! THE GANGS ALL HERE
Except for Richard, of course

Last Tuesday the team got together for a celebration of the 2009-2010 season with a pizza and beer party. Hosted by Steve (No. 1), Danny and Alison. The winnings from the league season were spent on pizza from Ohio City Pizza and beer from various breweries.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of our first-ever "Captains Award" to Charles "Chief" Andracchio,#5

Captain Steve created the award for Chief's achievements during the season (Too many to list. See the full text here).

 

 

 

 


June 2 , 2010

TALK ABOUT OLD DARTS!

In my search for dart and darting information that you're not likely to find anywhere else, I've discovered an early predecessor to the arrow. As tradition suggests, the dart was developed directly from the archer's arrow. This may not be entirely true.
The arrow may have evolved from an earlier dart. The ATLATL. Pronounced "ott-lottle". The atlatl is believed to have been in use since the Upper Paleolithic Period (c.15,500 BC), before the bow was developed.


Its a two piece hunting weapon. A throwing board and a dart. The board is pegged into a small hole in the end of the dart. When the dart is released the board is extended forward in a wrist whipping action to effectively extend the length of the thrower's arm another foot or so.

The darts resemble large arrows or thin spears and are typically from 1.2 to 2.7 meters (4 to 9 feet) in length and 9 to 16 millimetre (3/8” to 5/8”) in diameter. A dart can reach speeds up to 100 mph.

Watch a little target practice.

The University of Iowa's atlatl team.

Chimney Point state historic site in Addison, Vermont hosts an annual Northeast Open Atlatl Championship. And there are still manufacturers of the equipment in the U.S.

Maybe Anglo-American should know about it.


May 26 , 2010

TAKE HEART GUYS

I present what many consider the "worst leg in history" of World Darts Championships

Anthony Fleet vs. Martin Adams at the Lakeside Darts 2010 BDO

On prime-time BBC television, Fleet turned into a wobbly mess in the first round of the BDO World Championships at the Lakeside.

Martin Adams, Fleet's opponent, needed just 28 minutes to claim victory as the nerve-wracked Aussie dropped his darts and embarrassed himself by throwing 26, 41, 60, 60, 5, 41, 22, 80 and 11 in the first leg.

"I have waited 20 years to get here and I have embarrassed myself," Fleet said after the contest

WATCH HERE.


A MAN AFTER MY OWN HEART!

From THE SUN newspaper:

MERVYN KING dumped dreams of being a Formula One driver to be a darts superstar.

Now King is in the fast lane again to land his biggest-ever oche triumph at the £125,000 Premier League finals on Sunday.

The 44-year-old admitted: "I wanted to be a racing driver, that was my first love along with darts.

As a one-time race car driver and a long-time Formula One fan I have to say that looking at King's photo in The Sun story I can't image him fitting into a racecar.

Vroom-Vroom. Ah, my dream too.

READ IT HERE.


May 19 , 2010

THE RESULTS ARE IN

CDC reported on their website this week the winners of the Winter Team Playoffs. In the division most important to the Tommy’s Flights, the Bull sHitters team from Sirna’s Cafe in Bedford failed to make the finals but finished in a respectable third place. The overall winner of the Gold Division was Here For the Beers out of C. Mulligan's Pub in North Ridgeville.

Congratulations to Bruce Piontkowski and the Bull sHitters.

Also because we played in a split division, another winter opponent, Board Busters from Casa D’Angelo in Macadonia finish in the top eight in the Silver Division. Good going Rob and the guys.

RANT REVISITED:

I recieved a note last week by e-mail from Jeff Inman, President of the CDC. It concerned my rant in this space last week. (See “I don’t understand the CDC” below.)

He said:

I don't believe the Summer League Design idea that our League Manager decided to put on was meant to slight Steve or anyone else.

Anyone with any familiarity with the CDC and its history, should be well aware of Steve's and Tom's incredibly significant contributions to our Club

...Steve did a tremendous job on the last two Extravaganza designs and we are all very grateful for all of his hard work that went into it.

I can only say - Hooray!

Thanks again Jeff for your response.


May 12 , 2010

A RANT:
I DON’T UNDERSTAND THE CDC

Last week I received an e-mail blast from the Darter Club asking members to send designs for a summer award T-shirt . Part of it read:

“We are looking for a design for the back of our summer t-shirt awards. If you are creative and want to try your hand at creating a design...”

This ranks up there with the recently rejected suggestion that the CDC logo should be redesigned.

I don’t understand the current league officials. Don’t they realize that a large part of the Cleveland Darter Club’s national status is due to the involvement of two enormously talented artist/designers?

I’m speaking of Tom Yurcich and Steve Farkas. Tom’s posters, logos and publications became, and remain, remarkable and desired by darters across the country. Other clubs never had the instantly professional look that he gave us. Sadly his is gone.

But one of his oldest friends and his closest collaborators is still contributing outstanding work for the club. And doing it only because of his dedication to the club’s success. Just as Tom, Steve doesn’t ask to make money for his work and sometimes even pays to get thing accomplished when the club is reluctant or pleads poverty. He has done so for all of the club’s history. If he and Tom had nothing to do with the early establishment of the club they should still be in the Hall of Fame for the art they gave the club.

Then they go and invite amateurs to enter designs.

I have a suggestion for the Club - why don’t you just call Steve when you’re thinking of a t-shirt or poster or logo or flyer. He shouldn’t have to compete for it. If he turns it down then look to amatuers. He deserves more respect for what he has done.


May 5 , 2010

MY SUMMER VACATION

Let’s face it, darts is a “dark” months game. Devised originally for drinking games with friends through the winter nights of the northern hemisphere. In the early pubs of England and Scotland heated by open fires with patrons warmed by dark brown heavy stouts.

Today we play the matches in this same traditional period. From September through April. That’s 8 months folks. That’s a long, long season. We begin as the Browns begin their regular season and end during the Cavaliers playoffs. So long that I have to think for a while to remember who won this year’s Superbowl.

By April every year I feel like a school kid running out of the door to greet summer vacation. As a purely recreational dart player I’ve had enough. Now for some time off! I’m ready to do anything else but close myself indoors in a bar for 3 to 4 hours. I’m ready to take my dart sets and put them in a box where I can find them next season.

It’s time for 8 o’clock in the sunlight.

For those of you who feel it necessary to keep your skills at a high level, please feel free to return to the windowless sanctuary of “your pub of choice”. I’m far beyond playing anything near competetive darts, even in the lesser leagues. I’ll just sit on the back porch and watch the temperature, foliage and the birds at our feeders and bird houses return to Cleveland. They have all been away for far too long.

If you happen to approach, don’t be alarmed if I don’t respond - I’m at the beach in my mind.

 

 


April 28 , 2010

A DART TROPHY?

In a recent United States Postal Service ad the friendly postal carrier decides that the owner of a trophy shop deserves a trophy of his own for learning the merits of their “IF-IT-FITS-IT-SHIPS” service. He picks up a dart trophy and offers it to the owner. I guess they are saying that dart trophies are just sitting around and can be awarded to anyone.


See the commercial here.


Harbor gets a visitor on a mission to drink a beer every day for a year!

In Michael Heaton’s Minister of Culture column in Friday’s Plain Dealer he told the story of Mr. Barcrawl, Marty Wombacher. A 52-year-old guy on a mission to go to 365 bars in a year. As Heaton tells it:

Mr. Barcrawl, Marty Wombacher, took his show on the road to Cleveland last weekend.

On Friday afternoon, he began the crawl at Hoopples in the Flats and shot the breeze with Fred Gunkler, who was taking a lunch break while getting his boat ready for the season. At the Harbor Inn, he had a shot of plum brandy with owner Wally Pisorn, who gave him a history of that storied bar.

Read the column here.

Although Mr. Barcrawl didn’t include his stop at the Harbor Inn on his 365 day blog, he did write about his trip to Cleveland with photos of Wally and the Slivovitz. What is it about that Brandy that makes Wally offer every stranger a free glass? I’ve seen him do it for years.

Go to Wombacher’s Trip to Cleveland here. Scroll down to see Wally.

 


April 21 , 2010

HOW HARD COULD IT BE?

I’ve always been a sucker for media hype of certain sports. First it was professional bowling. In the 70s and 80s it was a staple of ABC’s Wide World of Sports. Broadcast television was the only thing that existed and you didn’t need to have championship standings in the paper or ESPN because Chris Schenkel in his calm, almost sleepy manner, would give you all the information you needed to know between frames as the ball clunked in the funereal silence of the bowling center.

I got to know the major players Don Carter, Earl Anthony and Walter Ray Williams. I followed it week after week.

Then in the 90s I grew to embrace professional golf through CBS’s continuous promotion of Tiger Woods vs. the world. (No, this is not a discussion of Tiger’s woes.) The story line of his return to championship level did and continues to attract me.

I retained the knowledge of who his major opponents were; Mickelson, Els, and my personal “ole-guy” favorites Fred Couples and Tom Watson.

So where am I going with this?

Because I have played both and watched hours of competition I came to the conclusion that, at least, these two sports are much harder to master than darts.

Bowling today has become a noisy confusing light show with fans encouraged to whistle, shout and sing during the games. Years ago the lanes had the same enforced silence as darts during competition.

Also there’s the demonic application of waxes at different distances down the lane. It makes it not quite the repetitive motion of darts. You have to compensate for all these factors not only between tournaments but between each lane in the match.

And then to golf. Wind, rain, grass height, traps and terrain. Clever undulations in greens and approaches. Everything is new every hole and every day.

I’m sure glad that we don’t have to contend with strobe lights, spectator shouts at the point of release or the sudden shower. How would you like to have a board mounted at an angle so that the target on one side was closer that the other?

So I’m saying, darts - how hard could it be?

 

 


April 14 , 2010

THE MAN WHO INTRODUCED ME TO THE HARBOR INN

I lost an old friend last month. Although I haven’t seen or spoken to him in more than 35 years, he is the man who first took me to the Harbor Inn.

In 1971 John Morrell wanted to show me his Cleveland. He and I both wanted badly to get out of Mansfield, Ohio. He, to his adopted home town and me to any worthwhile job. So we made the pilgrimage to an advertising awards show at the Stouffer’s Hotel in Terminal Tower. After the night’s festivities we stayed at the Alcazar Hotel in Cleveland Heights and John promised me that the next day he would show me what really mattered in Cleveland.

First stop - Otto Moser’s on E. 4th St. The old gritty E. 4th, before it was an entertainment district. It moved later to the more fashionable Playhouse Square area.

Second - the Pewter Mug on Public Square where the city’s media and political movers and shakers met and drank. It no longer exists.

And last - the infamous longshoreman’s bar in the equally infamous old industrial flats, the Harbor Inn. It’s still there, as we know.

He told me that I had to meet Wally and play some darts if I was truly considering become a Clevelander

.
Some of you may know of John from his wall mural at Rockwell Ave. and E. Ninth St.

Although he suffered from parkinson’s disease and moved many years ago to Key West, I still remember and celebrate that first night in my adopted city.


March 25 , 2010

A little late getting this up this week.

TOO MUCH WORK TO DO!

Thats O.K. with me.

NASCAR GETS IT!


NASCAR has told the drivers in the Sprint Cup Series that they can select their own music to be played during driver introductions. I guess we can call that the equivalent of the Professional Darts Corporation’s “Walk-on” music.

If I remember correctly Mark Martin chose something from AC/DC. Now that Martin is over 50 years old, he might have used this instead.


March 19 , 2010

LETS TALK CHALK


Alan Hartley of “Big AL’s Darts Site” suggests that the switch to “white boards” and those damn colored makers is a result of health and safety concerns in Britain’s Dart Pubs. He says that chalk dust is a health hazard to customers and employees. I really don’t know if that's true but they drive me crazy.

He maintains that this reasoning is also responsible for the adoption of “soft-tip darts”, no-smoking laws may soon result in making alcohol illegal. I’ve always believed that soft-tip is the industries attempt to make more money from the players and ease the lack of math skills.

But back to those idiot white boards and pastel marking pens that are always dried out and useless by the time the match ends. I recognize that black boards will, after time, become glazed and sometimes won’t accept chalk marks but it is possible to save the board with a soft wet cloth. And they also create a white carpet under the board. But most bars have to, by law, mop the floor every night.


Big Al continues... “I fear that the traditional use of chalk in marking darts matches, is still quietly on the way out. It is getting more and more difficult to obtain boxes of chalk as in the past I am sure that many fathers persuaded their offspring to swipe a regular supply from their schools. A few craft and hobby shops sometimes sell small packets/boxes of a dozen sticks at an exorbitant price and players are usually grateful to buy it at any price, but more and more of the “(Dollar)” type of bargain shops can often be found to have irregular supplies of very cheap packets imported from countries like China. So, even though most English darts players, are probably not great fans of China, perhaps we should be grateful to the Chinese for helping us keep the great traditional way of playing pub darts with chalk marking, alive and well.”


I completely agree with him on this point.

March 10 , 2010

The sad story of Jocky Wilson


It has always been reassuring to me that most of the dart talents of the 70s and 80s are still going strong and showing up for anniversaries and remembrances.

Then came this story.


In the 1980s he won two world titles, was watched by millions on TV. But then it all went wrong for darts legend Jocky Wilson.

When Jocky threw a double 10 which defeated John Lowe to win the first of his two world titles suggested this was a man who would be around forever in the beer-swilling, fag puffing world of professional darts.

(But,) it was a very different story. (His) game enjoyed its peak in 1988, when there were 11 televised tournaments, had Wilson as its undoubted star. In a world cluttered with double chins, receding hairlines and straining nylon shirts, John Thomas Wilson still managed to stand out.

(T)ales include the time he kicked Bristow's shin before they were due to play each other - the Crafty Cockney, who became Wilson's firm friend, was forced to shake hands on stage with a bleeding shin. And after one defeat he fell off the stage. (R)ecalls BBC commentator Tony Green. 'It was the World darts semi-final and Jocky looked set to go all the way. But then you could drink and smoke on the stage, which Jocky always took full advantage of. He kept downing the pints, his game got poorer and Dave eventually beat him 5-4. But when the cameras turned round he'd disappeared. Jocky was so drunk he'd fallen off the stage.'

Sadly, the money all disappeared. Wilson survives on disability allowance.

Jamie Jackson
The Observer
Sunday 14 January 2007

Read the original article here


March 3 , 2010

STRANGE DART BOARD

TheQUADRO 240 Dartboard

This board was only manufactured for a few years in the 90s. I ran across it in the video to the right.

It's got an extra ring known as the quad ring. It works just like the double and triple ring, hit it and you score four times the number hit. Now, instead of a 180 being the highest possible throw and a 170 being the highest possible out, with this board you can throw a 240 and you can take out a 210 (Q20, Q20, DB). Now if you win the cork in cricket, you could actually start off a game with a Q20, Q19, Q18, closing all three and scoring a total of 57 points!! Granted, the target is small, but it is very tempting to throw at. You can still play on the board and ignore the quad ring because everything else is regulation size. You can easily modify your favorite dart game to use this board and the quad ring.

Anything to make the game even HARDER to master.


February 24, 2010

DARTS IN SPACE

I had had always wondered whether the rumor about darts being thrown aboard a space station were true. I recently found the confirmation.

This darts game is a replica of one flown aboard Skylab, a manned space station launched into Earth orbit by the United States in May 1973. Several recreational items such as this dart set were stowed aboard Skylab for the astronauts' use in off-duty time. For safer play in space, the sharp point of the darts was replaced by a Velcro patch, which sticks to Velcro strips on the target. The Velcro Corporation made this set and gave it to the Museum during the year of Skylab missions.

In addition, during an MIT Experiment Aboard Russian Space Station June 5, 1996 researchers planned to study crew members' motion in zero gravity and how they adapt to weightlessness.To do so they videotaped crew members as they played darts with the help of four cameras.

But, Chief probably knew that already.



A MENTAL BURP

Why is it that we celebrate silver and bronze medals in the Olympic count? Why are they are generally considered equivalent to golds?

That would mean that the Buffalo Bills would have as many medals as the Colts in Superbowl history. And we know that the Bills are considered the biggest loser.

Just sayin’.

February 17, 2010

PARDON THE IMPERSONATION

Where I play both Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.


Tony: Welcome to PTI boys and girls, Wilbon what’s the question?

Mike: Well Tone, there are a lot of people out there that think darts should be an Olympic sport. What are your thoughts?

Tony: I think they should get a chance. After all, how else are middle-aged, beer drinking, former high school athletes with only hand-eye coordination remaining going to get their shot at the gold?

Mike: But there aren’t any college programs out there to build a draft system into professional darts. Nothing that ESPN can promote. A national “DRAFT” day special.

Tony: There’s already a sport in the Olympics that comes pretty close. It even has a target a lot like a dartboard. It's called curling. And it even includes shooters in sweaters and jackets, which I understand is what people in dart seasons wear.

Mike: Yeh, boots and gloves too! But these guys have to handle a 40 pound granite rock.

Tony: But they don’t have to pick it up and throw it. It just lays there on the ground while you push it. How much skill can that take?

Mike: About as much as tossing a 20 gram object at a target a little farther away than your arm’s length.

Tony: You’re just jealous because you’ve always been, sort of, OFF TARGET.

Mike: So, what are you watching on TV tonight?

Tony: I’m gettin’ out the hot buttered popcorn and I Tivo’d Olympic Curling for tonight. Hmmm.

Goodnight Canada.

February 10, 2010


THE GAMES WE PLAY: REVISITED

I got a great e-mail after posting last week’s Mostly Bull comment.

I agree with your article The Games We Play (below) on your website.

I wanted to recommend a strategy that I've been using for our West side Silver 1&2&3 divisions... on the Singles matches, we're playing 2/3 but only one game everywhere else. In fact though, we've talked with teams and asked them prior to the start of the match if they'd play ALL games 2/3, but normally we end up compromising on just singles. Heck, anything is better than nothing.

Just wanted to say a kind word and give some "thumbs up" on the site!

Cheers!
-Eric Belloma

And as the Webmaster for the CDC, Eric has put our site on the front page of the Club web site.

Thanks to you Eric


Harbor Inn Award in Scene Magazine
Maybe it should be Granddad?

Click Here


February 3 , 2010

THE GAMES WE PLAY

I found some old records I had kept from the 1970s of the Flight’s matches. It started me thinking about a recent e-mail I received from the club. In the e-mail we were told that our Silver East Divisions don’t have the choice of best-of-three for game points. I understand why this rule exists. At the skill level of most players in this division, it would make the matches much too long.

That is true, I think, because we’re playing 13 points a week. But, what if we were playing 11 points a week — as we did in the 70s?

Back then, we played 4 singles best-of-three, 4 doubles best-of-three and 3 team games at one point each. That's an 11 point total.

I’ve always believed that best-of-three was the REAL test of darts. It gets you over the hump of a slow start. One game seems to be over too quickly to allow for “collecting your thoughts”. And not all games would go to the full three.

Although more games would be played during a match, the players would stay at the board and quickly get back to playing on. Much of time spent during an evening of games is to find the player who is in the john or hangin’ at the bar.

Just a thought.


Harbor Inn Gets A Blurb In Cleveland Mag

Click Here

 

January 27 , 2010

WALLY WORLD MARKS HISTORIC WALL





January 20 , 2010

THE BULL STARTS HERE
OR HERE
OR MAYBE HERE



I noticed something during last week’s match that I should have been aware of long ago. It was those universal yellow tape toe lines that seem to be in every dart bar. Easy to apply and resistant enough to last through frequent cleanings with mops or vacuum cleaners. I never actually read the small print.

AXIS RECTIFIER SCALE?
Now that got me thinking. Do I need my axis rectified? Is that the reason I can’t hit what I’m aiming at any longer?

We’ve all given beginners instructions on how to the play the game and how to hit their target. Balanced stance,elbow extended toward the target, head perfectly still, wrist flick. I can’t imagine that the instruction would include, “And oh hey, make sure your axis is rectified”.

“What?”

“Your axis needs rectified about 1.75 inches to the left. It’ll make all the difference in the world. Trust me.”

No kidding, The bull really does start here!

I think the tape should read “THIS IS AN APPROXIMATION OF THE CORRECT DISTANCE AND WAS STUCK DOWN HERE BY SOMEONE WHO DIDN’T KNOW WHERE TO CENTER OF THE BOARD WAS”


January 14 , 2010

THE MUCH LARGER WORLD OF DARTS

During the holiday break I wandered through the international dart websites and British newspapers for dart news and discovered that the 2010 World Championships were being held in North London beginning December 16. It lasted until January 3. A fortnight, as the Brits say. 72 entrants, one dart board and a total prize of £1,000,000. That's over $1.5 mil folks!


It sure helps to have a title sponsor that's literally made of money. Ladbrokes is the largest on-line gambling site based in a country that loves betting.

Of course all the smart bets were against 14 time World Champion Phil Taylor winning his 15th. They lost as Phil took it all again.

The only game of the tournament that made it to Youtube that I could embed is the 9 dart game of Raymond van Barneveld. (Watch it elsewhere on this page.)



And if you have 2 hours to watch the entire final 13 set match Phil Taylor vs. Simon Whitlock click here.


2009 Columns