Thursday, October 18, 2007

Juuust A Bit Outside!

Since I started this blog, I haven't done a whole lot of blogging about darts, which is probably for the best, because let's face's not exactly a hangin'-on-the-edge-of-your-seat topic, is it?

But since it's the pastime that actually gave this blog its name, and since I had a chance at that elusive ton-fifty-one a couple nights ago, I figured I'd tell y'all a story.

Tuesday night was my first night of dart league for the year, as I'd skipped the first week for a chance to see one of my new favorite writers who happened to be passing through the state. (talk about a good move! hilarious, popular, engaging writer, or...dart league. what would you pick? I know I made the right choice, and he'll be the subject of a blog post in the next few days.) Anyway...last week our team had a bye, so three weeks into the season, I got my first chance to shoot some darts, after not having picked one up since the season-ending state tournament in Green Bay back in mid-May (where I shot like a second grader, I might add. and that's an insult to second graders! not......a pretty way to end my season.)

I got to the bar a little early, which doesn't happen too often during the season. Usually, I just show up at about the time we're starting, and am ready to roll without any warm-up darts. But I knew there'd be substantial rust to shake off, so I wanted to throw at least a couple dozen before they counted.

And boy was there rust! Every time I tried to shoot a straight, hard dart, it'd fly about two inches above the bullseye, and I couldn't correct it. I resigned myself to the fact that I might be in for a lonnng, embarrassing night.

Thing is...there's something about shooting practice darts vs. shooting darts in a game that counts for league, or in a tournament game. Often times (not always, mind you...or I might be some kind of touring pro by now) I can flip a switch and if the darts count for something, they start to find their way to their intended target with a lot more regularity than when I'm practicing. I think part of it is just because I've been doing it for so long, that when it's time to get serious, it's easy enough to focus and concentrate on upholding my good name as a dart god. (yes, I just wrote that. no, I'm not going to delete it. and no, I'm really not one.)

I must admit here, however, that this psychic, magical power becomes a totally moot point as soon as I cross the county line. I wish I knew why, and how to fix it, but it's been proven over the years. When we were ├╝ber-serious about our darts, we used to shoot a lot of tournaments on weekends. And anywhere in the county, we were good. Really good. Like, "Run for your lives! Tommy and Gregg are here, they're gonna wear out all the bulls and triples on the board and take all our beer money!" (I'm embellishing just a tad.)

When we'd go to Green Bay or Appleton or Oshkosh to shoot, however, my darts took an embarrassing downturn. I'd still shoot...OK...but I have very few tournament titles and very little prize money during my "career" that came from outside the county. Some, but not enough to brag about. Over the years, our league team has shot state tournaments in La Crosse, Milwaukee, Stevens Point, Appleton, Green Bay, Wisconsin Dells...and we'd always shoot well enough on the weekend to make it to the Sunday morning final round, only to bomb out and pout all the way home.

I guess that's why it's just a pastime, eh?

Sorry. Back to Tuesday.

League began, and my darts were hitting the bull quite a bit more often than when I first arrived. Before I knew it, I had a handful of tons and a couple/few hat tricks and a few wins on the stat sheet. Whoo hoo! I didn't totally sully my image of dart godliness on the very first night. That would have been depressing.

As I hinted up above, one of the hat tricks I had was at the beginning of a game, which meant I was left with (ready for it?) a ton-fifty-one for my second round. A perfect game just three darts away. Not an easy three darts...but three darts, nonetheless.

My first dart of my second round found the bullseye, did my second. One dart left in my hand. One triple-17 left to hit for a perfect game. One very cool way to start my season.

I wish I could tell you here that I paused for a moment, stepped off the line, closed my eyes and got a mental image in my head of my blog title, gathering up all the hopes and dreams of my dozens and dozens of readers (ok, three) inside of me and as I let go of that dart it guided itself into the triple-17, and lights flashed, fireworks exploded, dancing girls...danced. (and that's how it'll be when they make the movie of my life, I can guarantee you that right now.)

Instead, I let out one big exhale, leaned in and aimed...and let 'er fly.

While it's only about eight feet from the line to the board, sometimes you can tell just as soon as the dart leaves your fingertips how badly you've fucked up. And my dart, sticking in the board about two inches north of the triple-17, was evidence that I'll have to wait for another day to proclaim the great news that I got my six-dart out for the season.

But it sure is fun to shoot five bulls in a row, and have that chance.
I'll get one for ya this year. Hell, I'll get one for me this year.
And you'll be the first to read about it.

"Wit is a treacherous dart. It is perhaps
the only weapon with which it is possible
to stab oneself in one's own back."
—Geoffrey Bocca

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