Stacy Bromberg

Well folks, it is July. What is the significance of it for this blog? Well, on July 27th, Stacy would have celebrated her 61st birthday. While we all are still adjusting to her loss and life without her, many tributes were made over the internet, mostly via Facebook. Last month, the great folks at BullsEye News dedicated their upcoming issue to Stacy, her memory and her legendary status as a player and an all-around great person. It would be Stacy’s final cover of BEN. So I decided that as a final tribute and in honor of her birthday month, I am posting the interview she did for me for my book, The Ultimate Book of Darts, which came out in 2013. Stacy was very candid in her thoughts and I hope you all appreciate this last little glimpse into the legend that was and always will be, Stacy Bromberg. Rest well in paradise my friend. We all miss your beautiful heart and soul.


The Interview:

 

Stacy Bromberg has been and continues to be the most dominating female player in America today. Her path to success is littered with titles at all different levels of play. Since this is a book about darts, it only seemed natural to include a short biography and interview with a player that has achieved such greatness in the game. Stacy Bromberg is America’s best-known and accomplished female dart competitor, having won hundreds of titles in America as well as abroad. For the last twenty-five-plus years, her interest in darts has spanned from the youth level to the more experienced veteran players. She has not only gained fame for her darting victories, but has also worked tirelessly raising funds for children’s charities through her Score for Charity program. Participants in this endeavor throughout the years have included the likes of Phil Taylor, John Part, and Paul Lim. Stacy currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and continues to compete as well as raise funds “for the children” as much as possible, time and schedule permitting. I first met Stacy in 1998 at a national playoff for the World Masters that was held in St. Louis, Missouri. This year was my return to the game after being off for twelve years, so it was safe to say, she did not know me and I did not know too much about her. She was winning everything, I still received the magazines, and so I knew her name. As luck would have it, we were also drawn into the same bracket and she was my last match. At the time, I did not know what that the outcome would determine whether I made the cutoff into the final top eight playoff bracket. I am sure everyone there wrote me off considering my opponent, but I had surprise and some really good darts on my side and was able to get two of the three legs against her and make the final top eight. We later went to dinner with mutual friends and have been great friends since. Ironically, I have yet to beat her in a singles match since then, but with a friend like her, I am always a winner, so the darts don’t always matter. Stacy to not only a great player, but also a fantastic person away from the dartboard. She has undergone so many trials and tribulations that if others had to face the same, they would probably just quit and crawl under a rock. Stacy has faced this adversity time and time again and yet continues to be the great player that she is. It is this reason that I felt she should have a chapter in this book. Not as my friend, but as a tribute to her success both on and off the oche.    


Stacy “The Wish Granter” Bromberg was born on July 27, 1956, in Los Angeles. Stacy started playing darts in 1987. By 1991, she rose through the ranks to become the #1 US ranked lady dart player. She achieved this status sixteen years now, with thirteen of those years being consecutive. Stacy has been a National Team member for twelve years, is a twelve-time ADO 501 National Champion, is a four-time ADO Cricket National Champion, and holds the distinction of being the only player to win six consecutive titles, the last six years the tournament was held, at the North American Open in Las Vegas. Stacy also made it to the finals of the 1995 Winmau World Masters and won the 2009 WDF World Cup Singles Championship. Stacy also has the distinction of being listed in the Sports Illustrated Millennium Issue, in which they announced the top 50 sports persons of the 1900s for each state. Stacy was ranked #32 in the State of Nevada, putting her in the top 66 percent of individuals in Nevada for the century according to Sports Illustrated. (#1 was baseball’s Greg Maddox followed by tennis great Andre Agassi.)


Stacy uses her own 26-gram signature dart for steel-tip play and an identical dart in 18 grams for soft-tip competition. Her sponsor Laserdarts/Horizon Darts markets both (*see note below). She also uses her signature teardrop flight marketed by L Style Global with champagne caps and the L Shafts complete her shaft and flight set-up. Stacy has her own Score for Charity fundraising program where she donates money to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Southern Nevada, which is why she has the nickname The Wish Granter. To date, Stacy, with help from Phil Taylor, John Part, Paul Lim, and darters all over the world, has raised $111,000 for the children.


Who got you started playing darts? 


In January 1987, I was at a friend’s bar in the city in which I grew up (Culver City, California) and was watching Monday Night Football. As luck would have it, a high school friend was playing in a dart league there that night. Turned out they were short a player so I was asked to fill in. I didn’t even know how the game was played but agreed when my “teammates” said they’d tell me at which segment I should throw. It was a singles league and I was to play best of five legs, all 501. I ended up winning 3-1 and was then informed that I’d have to buy an annual membership in the SCDA (Southern California Darts Association) for my win to count in their league standings. The next day, I went to the local dart store and paid for my membership. While there, I was talked into buying an inexpensive set of darts in case I was asked to fill in again. And, thus, my darts career was started. 


You have won so many titles, and experienced so many different things in darts, what would you say would be the best experience? 


This is a tough question since I have had so many great experiences throughout the years while traveling to tournaments. The places I’ve visited, the people I’ve met, and the things I’ve done are priceless. Whenever I’d travel to a tournament in another country, I’ve always tried to take in some “extracurricular activities.” For instance, when I attended World Cup in Australia in 1997, I took time to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef and visit the rain forests and Ayers Rock. When I traveled to South Africa in 1999, I added a visit to Robbin Island and the Cape of Good Hope to my schedule. China’s first visit included climbing the Great Wall and visiting Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and Temple Of Heaven. All told there are just too many memorable experiences to mention all of them. As far as darting experiences go, if I had to select only one, I suppose it would have to be when I won the PDC Desert Classic Ladies Singles title in Las Vegas in 2003. The PDC always provides the toughest level of competition as well as the best payouts. Playing in Las Vegas has always been a special treat for me since I live there, but this event was especially good for me since my parents, who have only been able to see me compete a few times, were able to watch my final against Deta Hedman live on Sky TV from the comfort of their living room. That was special to me! 


What would you consider the worst experience?


It’s hard to think of a really bad experience in darts because I love the game. I think the expression goes something like, “A bad day/night of darts beats the heck out of a great day at work!” As in any competitive sport, it certainly has its “ups and downs” but I think my “worst” experience came to me in the form of a “disappointment.” This happened in August 2011 when I was told that I was declared “ineligible” to return to the WDF World Cup to try to defend my 2009 Singles Title. At this point, I had somehow landed in the middle of a big “political” dispute between the WDF (World Darts Federation) and the PDC (Professional Darts Corporation). The whole experience was just so wrong that mere words cannot accurately depict the situation, but I will try to recount the basics. In July 2010, I went to England to participate in the first (only, and last!) PDC Ladies World Championship. It was advertised as being the largest payout in Ladies’ darts (£10,000/$15,000 to the winner and a twoyear PDC Tour Card), so I had to give it a try. The competition started a couple of months prior when I went to Cleveland, Ohio, to compete in the US Qualifier. After winning that, I flew to Barnsley, England to play the competition until there were only two ladies left. The two ladies turned out to be England’s Tricia Wright and I. We were told we were to return to Blackpool, England in July to play our final match on stage at the PDC Worlds! For Women’s Darts, this was truly a huge step! The whole experience was pretty overwhelming. Darts is produced at a whole different level in England. Over there, darts isn’t just a “pub game” but a serious way to make a very good living. Not to mention the “notoriety” that goes along with the status in the United Kingdom. It was crazy. . . . I went to a pub in Wolverhampton once and people wanted to buy me drinks and have their picture taken with me. One gentleman said, “May I get a pic with you? The wife will never believe I met you!”  Same thing happened in London and Belfast, Ireland. Really a great way to meet people but, at the same time, I came to understand that being in the spotlight requires you to let others into your “space.” It was uncharted territory for me. But when I’d return to the United States, no one knew me so it was back to life as usual. I can’t even begin to know what it must feel like to be Phil Taylor or Eric Bristow . . . they can’t get away from the attention. But, I digress . . . back to my story of disappointment. After winning the PDC Worlds and earning a PDC Tour Card for 2011 and 2012, something very coveted in the darting world; I felt I had to take a shot (no pun!) at playing some PDC events. I traveled over to England in February 2011 and played in two UK Open qualifiers and two Players’ Championships. It was an incredible experience and I loved it. Sadly, traveling to England to compete was not going to be a frequent thing for me since it takes about twenty-four hours of taxi, plane, train, and another taxi to get from Las Vegas to the competitive venues in England, and it is quite expensive. So I did not return to England that year. Later in 2011, I was scheduled to compete in the WDF World Cup to be held in Oct in Dublin, Ireland. I was really looking forward to defending my singles title I’d won at World Cup 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Only three US ladies have ever won the World Cup singles so this was quite an accomplishment for me! But, sadly, defending my title was not to be. It seems that the WDF had passed a “new rule” saying that all World Cup competitors had to “play the majority of their darting events with the WDF” to be eligible for World Cup participation. I knew that there was a lot of “tension” between the WDF and PDC, but I never thought it’d be taken to the level it was. After the United States had submitted their roster, with my name on it, it had been accepted and published on the WDF website. Later, the WDF called my “eligibility” into question because a few of the male players had participated in a majority of PDC events and they were comparing their competitive record(s) to mine. The way it unfolded, the WDF decided to exclude me—the defending champion—because they said I had competed in four PDC and four WDF events and that was not “a majority.” I argued that it was also not a “minority” and explained that I had competed in dozens of WDF events throughout the year via my ADO competitions on weekends in the States but they (the WDF) said they would only count their four International events. I stuck to my argument that I was neither in the majority nor minority according to their rule’s interpretation and that, as defending champion, I should be allowed to play, but the WDF would have none of it. They did offer me the opportunity to go to England a week before the World Cup and play another WDF event, at my own expense of course, to “qualify” in but since I felt I should not be disqualified to begin with, I politely declined. I always believed I would compete in darts all over the world for all organizations, but the first organization to demand that I select them over another organization in which to compete would be the first organization for which I would not play! That’s what happened here so I did not get the opportunity to try to be the first US lady to repeat as World Cup singles champion. And the saddest part of this whole story is that after I spent weeks trying to reason with the WDF and they wouldn’t budge in their “interpretation” of their new rule, this same Board met at the 2011 World Cup in Ireland—the one in which they’d used their “majority/minority” rule to rule me “ineligible.” At this meeting, the Board CHANGED this very rule to read that a player must play “65 percent of their events in the WDF.” The fact that they had to reword the very rule they used against me was so very wrong that it left me feeling as if I may not want to participate for them anytime again soon. This situation shows how individual “policies” can hurt sports organizations on an international level for neither logical nor constructive purpose at all.


You are the reigning, and now will always be, the PDC Ladies World Champion. How did it feel to win this title?


“Incredible, amazing, and fantastic” would all be a good start to describing this experience but that would just be scratching the surface. Nobody in the world hosts a darting event on the level of the PDC. This was the break for which women’s darts had been waiting! An incredible venue at the Winter Garden in Blackpool, England . . . the largest purse ever offered to the winner . . . and International TV coverage! In fact, it was even broadcast in 3-D for those who had 3-D televisions. It was July 2010 when I returned to England to play the PDC World final and I was really looking forward to it. I’d put in more time than usual practicing and I felt pretty good going over. At this point, my toughest decision had already been made. I had selected my PDC “Walk On” song . . . Tom Petty’s “American Girl”. I’ve always liked this song, so I thought it fitting that from this point forward, I would always fondly think back on this World Championship whenever I hear it. Prior to the World’s, we were at the first UK competition in June in Barnsley, England, the event organizer, Tommy Cox, told us straight-away that this was NOT intended to be a “one and done” event. Naturally, all would ultimately depend on the audience’s and the sponsors’ reaction to the event and decisions for any further competitions for the ladies’ events would be made accordingly. Later, at the last minute, the scheduling for the ladies finals was changed.  We were originally scheduled to play immediately prior to the men’s final on the last Sunday of the tournament. For whatever reason, our final was changed to being played after the men’s final. This minor move would have a huge impact on my own personal take of the future of the PDC Ladies’ darts. The reason this schedule change affected the audience’s response was that it lost a lot of the live viewing audience in the venue since they came primarily to watch the Men’s final and many were actually getting up and to leave as Trish and I were waiting for our “cue” to walk out to the stage. Had we played first, perhaps many spectators might have seen our match and realized that watching women’s darts can be exciting too! But this lack of interest by the audience told me that there probably wasn’t going to be another PDC Ladies’ Worlds. So while I was on “Cloud Nine” as I prepared to walk out to the finals stage, in the back of my mind I was thinking, “These people leaving is definitely NOT a good sign for the future of ladies’ darts.” As things turned out, I was right. We were not given a specific reason for the discontinuation of the Ladies’ Worlds . . . just that it had “been scrapped due to lack of participation by the women.” Truth be told, many top lady UK and European players were afraid of jeopardizing their standing with the British Darts Organization (BDO) and World Dart Federation, so they refused to even try to qualify into the PDC’s event.  Turns out that the lady players in the UK and Europe that did play had been given a “pass” by the BDO/WDF and suffered no repercussion. But I made the best of it, played my heart out, and won in a very tightly contested match winning 6-5 in a best of 11-leg format. And so it goes . . . one of the best darting experiences in which I was ever to compete, did in fact, turn out to be a “one and done” experience. But I am not sorry in the least for playing in it. The stage, the venue, the professionalism with which the PDC presents their tour events was one of my best darting experiences.  I was even honored with a chorus of “Walking in a Bromberg Wonderland” by the audience, a song usually reserved for the one and only Phil Taylor. And finally, the fans that attend these events are the best! Their enthusiasm overflows during the match. It was definitely an experience I will never forget and I will always be grateful to the PDC for allowing me the one-time opportunity to be a part of this darts history. I suppose I’ll always be the PDC Ladies’ World Champion . . . at least until there is another one held. But I wouldn’t hold my breath for that to happen.


Is there a title that has eluded you? If so, what would that title be?


For the most part, I am content with my tournament performance over the past twenty-five years. I have won many events, both on a national level and an international level. I would have loved try to defend my World Cup singles title but that was not to be. So, in the alternative, I’d like to win an Open PDC event but I believe that door is now closed for me. I have won a few Men’s/Open events in the United States, but that is just not at the same level of play that is in the PDC. The way things seem be going I now am turning more of my attention to soft-tip (electronic) darts. This is huge in Asia and, I believe, will be an even greater force in US darts in the future. I would like to, someday, win a DARTSLIVE stage event since these are also “Open” events where the men and women compete against each other in singles matches. To me, therein lies the real challenge! 


What do you feel is the biggest differences in tournaments or the darting experiences of yesterday compared today? 


The biggest difference(s) between tournaments of “yesteryear” and “today,” in my opinion, are both social and financial.  Socially, years ago, many people went to tournaments to touch base with friends not seen frequently and/or to simply see friends in a somewhat social setting. This has changed with the “Internet Boom” to a great degree. Now people simply “Twitter” or “Facebook” each other to keep on touch on a minute-by-minute basis. Times change so methods of communication change.  An even greater change has resulted through a “financial” means in several ways. Costs, such as airfares and hotels, have skyrocketed making travel for the “recreational” tournament player nearly impossible. Even to drive to a tournament has become more costly in that fuel prices have also surged! Combine these facts with the reality that, since late 2007, when the US recession set in, many corporate sponsors cannot continue to financially support tournaments. This, as well as the limited finances of most dart players makes traveling to tournaments on a regular basis very difficult today.  I, personally, am most baffled by airfare costs. A round trip airfare from Las Vegas to the US east coast may cost as much as $600, while a round trip ticket from Las Vegas to Shanghai may be found for less than $900! So, in the modern era, travel becomes a huge issue when considering which tournaments to attend.  


*note: I recently spoke to Terry Maness at Horizon Darts about the availability of Stacy Bromberg’s signature dart and Terry indicated that at this time, they will still be manufactured and sold with the proceeds continuing to go to Make-A Wish in Stacy’s name.  


Steel tip and soft tip versions https://www.horizondarts.com/catalog/steel-tip-darts/laserdarts/stacy-bromberg.html


Anne Sleepy Kramer www.sleepykramer.com  

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