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Darts 2: Drink and Skill

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63243.  Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:06 am Reply with quote

[NB: this is a supplementary question, following on from Darts 1; the question will probably be redundant, if the panel raises the matter of drinking; then, only the notes would be relevant.]

How do professional dart players go about getting themselves nicely into the zone?

Getting drunk.

Some players use meditation and massage or yoga, some practice robotically for hours before going on stage - some might, indeed, have a quick gargle. But drinking and smoking on stage was banned by the British Darts Organisation in 1988.

However - there is plenty of drinking before and between matches. And on Sky TV’s breakaway version of the professional sport, they (according to Sid Waddell) drink during commercial breaks. Most people, professional or otherwise, find that they play darts (and many other sports) better with precisely the right amount of alcohol inside them; enough to induce relaxation and confidence - enough to push towards the zone - while not quite enough to make them fall over or vomit.

Having said that, the current world champion, Jelle Klaasen, is teetotal, and it doesn’t seem to do him any harm.

Many people in the world of darts want darts to become an Olympic sport. Well, why not? Pistol shooting is. 1000 points bonus if you can explain why shooting should be, and darts shouldn't, without using the words “working class.” But to qualify, darts would have to place alcohol on its list of banned performance-enhancing drugs. Quite clearly, it is a performance-enhancing drug.

Is darts a sport?
Yes - it officially is, as of 2005. In England, that is - elsewhere in the UK and abroad it has been for much longer. Ironically, in England, the sport’s birthplace, it has been a long struggle to get it recognised as a sport.

One of the ways in which the BDO convinced Sport England to reclassify darts as a sport, rather than a game, was by attaching pedometers to two players during the World Championships - England captain Martin “Wolfie” Smith and England international Mervyn “The King” King.

En route to being beaten in the final, Adams walked 23.57 kilometres in practice and match play. “That amounted to a staggering 33,310 steps up and down the oche!”

Dr Peter Gregory of the Sports Medicine department of the University of Nottingham, said:
“Darts involves physical activity that is of sufficient intensity that many of the general populace would benefit from taking it up on a regular basis.”

Darts is being used by the government as part of its “Get On” campaign aimed at improving numeracy.

Legally, darts has been recognised as a game of skill since 1908. (Note that the facts in this case are much disputed and mythologized; this version is the result of research by the world’s leading darts historian:)

William ‘Bigfoot’ Annakin worked in a forge in the Kirkstall Road, Leeds. Annakin was the best darts and dominoes player in the Adelphi Inn, a beerhouse near to his place of work. When the landlord of the Adelphi, Jim Garside, was summoned to Leeds Magistrates’ Court to answer the charge of allowing a game of chance to be played on his premises, he contested the charge on the basis that darts was a game of skill, and therefore legal.

To prove this, a traditional Yorkshire dartboard was set up in court, and Bigfoot threw darts into segments of the board as nominated by the magistrates. His consistency was clearly beyond chance, and therefore darts was effectively legalised in pubs.

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Picture ideas:

Darts World, July 2005


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