It was 1996 when my wife and I last stopped by my local darts supply store (Truman's, 608 Main Street, Route #28, West Yarmouth, on Cape Cod) to pat the head of the dog that hung out there, a sad-eyed mixed breed called Jack Daniel's. My wife liked this old fellow. She's always been impressed that he could somehow stuff five tennis balls into his mouth at once. For my part I could never figure out why he'd want to...
For only the second time since moving to Florida, I visited the Cape last weekend...
Truman's is (or was) a hell of a darts shop. The owner, George "Truman" Lewis stocked everything you could ever want. I think the dog was part of a complex sales scheme. Fools like me would come in to say "hi" to Jack and end up walking out with a dozen sets of flights we didn't need.
But that's the way I am. I wonder about things. I don't nonchalantly accept much at face value. Take, for example, bad darts. or the view still held by a dwindling few that the ADO is relevant.
Now, I don't know about you, but I just can't figure out why bad darts happen. What I can't fathom is why, so damn often, flashes of brilliance are followed by a trip to breakfast. T80, 26 - it just doesn't make sense.
That is, of course, if you've never heard of "chaos theory." This concept may just offer the answer to one of the great mysteries of the sport of darts.
According to the chaos theory there is a sort of order to even the most unexplainable events in life. From the ups and downs of the stock market to the unpredictable slumps that frustrate professional athletes - in mathematics "laboratories" around the world studies continue to try to make sense of these most complex, most mysterious, of "systems" around us. Personally, I don't think these guys have a clue what they're talking about. but then I barely made it through high school algebra.
What I do know is that if there is any merit whatsoever to this New Age math then there might be something to my own theory that bad darts happen . because bad darts are supposed to happen! Sometimes stocks go up. Sometimes the home run-hitting phenomenon just keeps striking out. And sometimes, no amount of practice or focus will stop three darts from flying to strange places like the four and twelve.
Take for example what once happened to me during league play at Cousin's Pub (731 Route #28 in South Yarmouth). Now, Cousins is (or was) a great darts bar. Five boards. A couple of pool tables in just the right spot - miles away from the dart boards. The light was low. The crowd was friendly. The beer was priced right. And the chalkboards sucked. But what else is new ...
Cousin's darts teams had been piling up the awards. The "B" and "AA" teams had cooked the competition the prior year. My team, Cousin's Cannibals, was in a tough match with the only undefeated team in the league. I'd warmed up well, so I stepped to the line with confidence for my 301.
I went in strong with a T12 and my opponent missed his double. Next, I hit a ton. My opponent missed his double a second time. So, I'm looking at 89 for an eight-dart game. Let the chaos begin...
Ten minutes later, after wiring my way to the Madhouse and after throwing at that little green sliver of slime for what seemed like an eternity, my opponent checked out d16. Humiliation in the first degree. I was now a card-carrying member of the infamous "I blew a 299-point lead club". I never thought it could happen to me.
Next, consider what happened to me (and for that matter, every single one of my friends) at Molly's Pub (585 Route #28 in Yarmouth). No clue if it's still there. John Lowe and Cliff Lazarenko were in town for an exhibition.
Just a half mile up the road from Cousin's, Molly's is (or was) the premier darts bar on Cape Cod. Eight boards. Matching chalkboards - which hardly anybody liked because you had to squirt little bottles of water on them to clean them off after every game (I used Budweiser). It was a great set up though in most every respect, and over the years Molly's attracted some of the best players on the Cape. This was the natural venue to bring in the pros... and on this night chaos was unleashed big time!
Except for the 82 points I had remaining when Lazarenko checked out d10, I remember very little about my 501. One of my teammate's memories was even worse. With some 200 people watching from the sidelines, he was left with 346 points. Lowe cleaned his clock with twelve quick darts (85, T80, T, T36).
At the end of the day, I suppose there isn't much to my theory of "chaos and bad darts" that a little more practice, a lot more concentration, a hell of lot less beer - and perhaps, some more new flights from Truman's wouldn't resolve.
Still, it's comforting to know that somewhere out in the world some squirrelly little guy with a slide rule in his pocket and a computer on his desk is hard at work searching for a better excuse for my deficiencies.
From the Field,