I, like many of you, have a place in our home that we prominently display all of the awards and plaques that we have earned through our darting adventures. It may be called the 'Ego' wall or the 'I Love Me' wall. I have even heard of someone calling theirs 'The Shrine'. Whatever you want to call it, you are proud of what you have accomplished in earning the award, whatever shape or form it comes in. You carefully find a place for it next to the others or carefully position it to start one, if the award is your first. Everyone once in a while, you stand in front of your award wall and reminisce on how you got the award.
Recently, I had the utmost joy in moving. The last thing that I did, which was made very clear by my wife the very LAST thing to do, was to put up all my plaques. As I unpacked them one by one, I tried to remember how I ended up with them. I couldn't remember them all, but here are a selected few and the story behind them as I remember it.
'BRC Doubles Tourney, 1st Place - 1993' This was my First 1st Place plaque in a blind draw doubles tournament. I did throw some good darts, but mostly, I was along for the ride. My partner was an excellent shooter and carried me the whole way. Nonetheless, it felt good. It gave me the incentive to get better.
'Capital City Dart Association City Championship Tournament - First Place - July 9, 1994' At the end of every season, the dart league here in Montgomery, Alabama has a Blind Draw Tournament. The league kicks in some money and the bar kicks in some more. A pretty good payout for us here. This was the 1st one that I have. As a matter of fact, Tim Cronian (the owner of this web page) was my partner. After the final dart was thrown, plaques and money was awarded, I was on my way home. I was in the process of showing my plaque to my wife and, in my exuberance, dropped it and the faceplate came off. The tape that held the plate to the plaque no longer would do it's job. Good ol' duct tape. The plate, albeit off-centered, is back on.
'Early Bird XV - 2nd Place, Draw Doubles Cricket - March 20,21,22 1998' This one was the first time that I finished in the money in an ADO Sanctioned event. We should have won the event, but I got the case of the stupids. We had won the first game and were pretty near the end. 20's through 16's were closed by both teams. We had 15's closed with 1 bull. They had bulls closed and had 2 15's. It was my throw. I went for bull on the first two darts and missed. I looked at the score again. I thought we were up by 26 points, so going for a 15 wouldn't do us that much. I went for the Double Bull and hit a Single. My partner gave me a look that would have killed. Come to find out we were only up by 16 points. I guess that is what happens when you have been throwing all day and you are finishing up at 2:30 the next morning. We ended up losing that game and the 3rd. If only I could do that throw over again...
'Brunswick Woodmere Lanes Blind Draw Doubles - 2nd Place' In an 11 week span, I showed up at Brunswick 8 times. I missed 3 weeks due to various reasons. I ended up finishing 2nd all 8 times. If there were a written account of each and every finish, you would think that I was coming up with creative and ingenious ways to lose in the finals. One week, we went all the way through the winner's bracket. We lost the first match. Since it was a double elimination tournament, we had another match. It went a 3rd game, cricket being called. We needed 5 bulls to their 1 to win the game. It was my turn. First dart, double bull. Second dart, single bull. Third dart, hit the double bull and fell out. To add insult to injury, the falling dart took the other 2 with it. All 3 darts lay in a heap on the floor. The tournament was over on the next dart. Another week, we ended up losing in the first match. We fought our way through the loser's bracket and won the first match in the final. Again, it went to a third game. 501 was the game. We had 146 and they were sitting on a one dart out. It was my turn. First dart, triple 20. Second dart, triple 18. 32 left with one dart. I then threw the ugliest dart probably thrown by all of mankind. I learned a valuable lesson that night. Darts do not fly that well when thrown without a flight.
'MGCDA Summer 1991, Bronze League, East Division Champions, O'Diddles-Misfits' This one is definitely the one I will remember the most. Not only do I have one of these, but my wife has one also. She and I threw together on the same team for 3 seasons for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Dart Association in Biloxi/Gulfport. She was one good shot. I think that I won maybe 25% of the games that I threw against her. We had our first child and then moved to Montgomery. Before we got involved in darts here in Montgomery, my wife became very ill. Due to her disability, she can no longer throw. As I sit here and remember those days, I came to the realization that, in those 3 seasons that we threw on the same team, we were never partners. I don't regret much in life. There isn't time for that. But I do regret the fact that we never threw together as a doubles team and probably never will. At least we have these plaques.
That's just a sample of what is up on my 'I Love Me' wall. If you do have one of these, take the time and just sit and admire it. Try to remember how you got in the position to take these awards home. Remember how you felt when you won the awards. These awards are yours. You earned them. Remember that.