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Darts in General
Member Name: yabbadabbadoo
Darts in General
Date: 04/01/10, updated on 14/02/11 (178 review reads)
Advantages: Perfect for those left wallowing on the sofa in post Xmas haze!
Disadvantages: Probably not the best start to the New Year's health kick
After all the indulgences of the Christmas holidays, just as we dare to think of New Years resolutions, getting in shape and the like, for the people of Britain, there's still one more particular peculiarly British TV sporting tradition to savour and enjoy.
Oh yes, tis the season of World Darts!
I ask you, what better way to feel better yourself whilst sprawled out on the couch trying desperately to stuff extra chocolates into your over filled guts, than to tune in to watch hour after hour of sharp-eyed, waddling supremos chucking tiny metal spears at a colourful board?
But if proof were needed of the astonishing appeal of this sport, just take a look at the crowds watching these events. I kid you not; there are huge arenas packed full of hundreds of tables, all awash with pints of foamy gubbins, the halls packed with thousands of merry punters dressed in all manner of comedy attire, there for the flimsiest of sporting reasons.
~~~~Its a bulls eye!~~~
For the uninitiated (come on, what have you been doing with your lives?), the basic rules of the game are simple enough. Each player starts on a score of 501, and throws darts at a board with the numbers 1-20 spread out in sectors around the board. There's chances to score bigger, by hitting little segments in each number, potentially doubling or tripling your score, (mmm starting to sound like playing scrabble with arrows) , so the most you could score in one attempt is a whopping 180 (with 3 treble 20's).
You basically have to finish on a double, and the goal is to "check out" your 501 in the fewest darts possible to win each "leg". Each player has their own favourite method of checkout - and rest assured these guys are not just physically blessed in the beer gut department, they also have to be wizards in the Maths department , having to quickly calculate how many points they have remaining.
The fancy pants way to finish is of course with the 50 point bullseye right in the middle of the board, but if you miss it could be costly and ruin your chances of checking out quickly.
~~~~From Pub to Olympics?~~~~
But enough about the ins and outs of scoring, lets just glory in the spectacle of two sweaty fellas, alternately chucking bits of plastic and metal at a wagon wheel whilst being cheered on by a multitude of baying boozing spectators who can frankly see no more than the view of their well honed derrieres.
Just to give it that added intrigue, like in Boxing believe it or not there are actually two rival world darts ( I say world - let's be honest the vast majority are from the British Isles, but you do get a smattering from Holland and Northern Europe, plus the odd American and Australian) organisations in operation. The Professional Darts Corporation is now universally accepted as being the best championships, mainly because of the vast sums of money pumped in by Rupert Murdoch's Sky TV Broadcasting, it attracts the best players. Yet one man, the mighty Phil "The Power" Taylor (oh yes it's a must to have a nickname), has remained dominant and reigned supreme on no less than 14 separate occasions as World Champion (Stop press he's just made it 15!)
Just like with boxing, they have the added razzamatazz, as each player walks on to their own signature theme tune surrounded by a bevy of beauties as they take to their stage. The poor relation, the WDF (World Darts Federation) still shows on good old BBC TV, a bit more like watching the standard down your local pub, but in any case the good news is the two events run back to back so you can enjoy a 15 day festival of darts all through the holiday period.
Will it ever achieve its destiny to become an Olympic sport - who can tell?
One thing's for sure , watching those guys under the spotlight, handling so much pressure is always going to be compelling viewing. In the words of one of British TV's most committed commentators, the mighty Sid Waddell who has watched this stuff for 20 years or more with schoolboy levels of enthusiasm, "you can get Shakespeare on BBC two, but you can't beat the darts for drama"!
Summary: Keep out of the black and in the red....