There is a school of thought that reckons a couple of beers is good for your game! For some folk that can be sometimes stretched to three or four and more.
I can see the reasoning behind this theory. Whilst it is never a condition to get behind a wheel with, I know that I seem to play darts better after a couple of beers!
I suppose if you analyse it, the alcohol will relax you, you forget your inhibitions, and get in 'the zone'. I have seen many players get in 'the zone' with drinking, then step right through it and come out the other side! The player that has one too many has I am sure, caused consternation and frustration amongst us all.
Long gone are the days of beer swilling darters on T.V. This image came straight from the bars round the world as darts took its place on the global screen. Thankfully the professional game has cleaned up its act, but scenes of drunken darters are still all too common in local leagues.
I played a guy a few months ago, who was asked by his team captain to make up the side as nobody else was available. Fair enough, he agreed to help them out, but he was absolutely 'four sheets to the wind'. He was having a laugh and a joke with his mates then suddenly he's got to play darts! He threw a few practice darts, and out of the nine or so he threw, I think four hit the board sideways, clattering on the wires and knocking out the flights. 'Here we go'...I thought, 'Easy leg!' I know, and have recommended, that you should never think that, but you just cannot help it sometimes!
Just as I stepped up to the line and was about to throw my first dart, the shouter cried '501...Game On...Quiet Please!' My drunken opponent thought it might be a good idea to mimic him and cried out at the top of his voice, 'Quiet Please...All round the room! Quiet Please! Shaddup yer noisy Sods! ...Thank You.....Once again, I Thank Yoooouuu! 501's the name of the game! ...GAME ON! I managed to stop my first throw right on the 'vinegar stroke' and turned round to this guy and gave him the best snake eyed glower that I could manage, the one that I usually reserve for the spotty little oike at the burger drive through that always tries to short change me!
Back to the board .....43 scored.
My opponent stepped up, still exchanging laughs and jibes about his shouter impersonation with his friends, and threw his darts all over the board. Well, you could tell that he could probably play a little when he was sober, as they were up towards the top half of the board and roughly aimed towards the twenty. T18, S5, T12, 95 scored!
"Gerrin there! Yer Plastic Wassacks!", he shouted. This is sort of local language for "Don't you think that was jolly good throwing to say I was using the old pub darts given to me, and I am out of brain with intoxication"
At this point the opposing team captain stepped in to calm him down.....then he was off on another one...."What's wrong we you, yer miserable Git!"....I think you can understand that in any language.
I decided that I was either going to turn round and give this guy a 'Glasgow Kiss' which would have made me feel a lot better, but would have got me barred from the all the leagues in Yorkshire, or I was going to resign myself that it would probably be better to get this over as soon as possible. I thankfully chose the latter. It was then I discovered that I could 'close my ears'. A trance like state when everyone's voice sort of goes distant and soft. I amazed myself. A 100, an 81 and a 140 followed, and I had no idea what my opponent threw. I didn't even look or listen, and just stared down at my darts in my hand between throws. It was me against the board! I never thought I could get myself in this state after what had just preceded, but I did. I took the game out in 19 darts and left Mr Jack Daniels languishing around the 250 mark. On this occasion it worked for me, but I have played and seen other games where these sort of happenings make you lose your cool and focus, and probably the leg too!
He threw his darts on the table and turned on the team captain..."Don't you ever ask me to play again!" he said..."No worries there then!" said the captain beautifully!
Another syndrome of alcoholic arrows is the 'wandering thrower'. This is a different syndrome to 'The Wanderer" mentioned in a previous article. This condition is usually encountered when the drunken offender is due to play his game and cannot be found anywhere. You ask around if anyone has seen him...the answer is always 'No'. You even check the ladies toilets in efforts to find him!
This condition can be cured if you are lucky enough to have a tannoy system in your club or pub.
Bing! Bong!...."Telephone call for Mr Smith, Mrs Smith on the line for you".
Take up your position by the phone and then wait for the offender. A swift kick up the backside, drag him to the oche, place darts in hand and off he goes! Just tell him not to mimic the shouter!
"I was down in the beer cellar, chatting to the landlord!". Of course you were! Why didn't we think of looking there!?
Now I don't want you to get the wrong idea. I, like most darters enjoy a beer or two, and on occasions during my social darts, I have thrown when I probably have had one too many. The difference is that I can recognise when I am a bit 'newted'. The 26's and 41's are coming all too readily and I am likely to end up swearing and cussing at my inability to hit anything decent! The only saving grace is that the company I am in are all likely to be in the same state!
So when I do recognise it, it's time for us to pack in, sit down and have a friendly chat to round the evening off nicely.
Throw where you Look, and Look where you Throw, Rockford