I have often wondered and speculated on what it would take to turn the game of darts in America to the sport of darts that England knows today. The debate has rolled on and on with a plethora of ideas on what can be done, yet I wonder, how can we really do it? Some say, that a professional tour needs to be developed, yet, what will we develop and who will devote the time and effort to do so? Some say that tournament formats need to switch to less events and higher payouts for the singles. Yet, who is going to make those changes, or try to ensure that this happens? Should we just, as a nation, throw everything as we know it out the door, forget all that has happened, and start with a fresh clean slate?
We often find that we are very much a “stereotypical” type of nation. Once we get it in our heads that this is the way things are perceived, it is a rough road to travel to change those opinions. Could our stereotypical opinion of dart players in the US be changed? It seems to be an unknown answer to a very tough question. In the UK, darts is part of their culture and what they grow up with, whereas in the US, it is not. However, there are many other games/sports that started in other cultures that we seem to have no problem embracing in the US. Why does it seem that darts cannot? Is this why we are failing as a nation to compete?
Many times I wander back in time to the early 80’s where darts was on the rise in the US. What was it then that we are missing today? Why was it so successful, yet now we cannot seem to find that secret to success? Where did it all go? Was it the people involved that disappeared and they did not forward their knowledge on to new blood? Was it the changes introduced in tournament formats? Was it the influx of the soft-tip generation? We seem to want to always find a culprit in the demise, yet we cannot find an answer to fix it.
We tout the US players of today as the legends of tomorrow, yet they cannot seem to step up to the level in international play as much as the actual legends of years before them have done. Yet we do not seem to remember, or even care to know the past legends or their accomplishments. Maybe what made them the legends of days gone by needs to be relearned by the players of today before they can progress to become the legends of tomorrow?
We all have ideas on what could, should or might be done, yet we seem to be stagnating as a nation without any efforts to progress further. What will it take? Ahhh…..the million dollar darting question.
Anne Sleepy Kramer www.sleepykramer.com
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