Hitting the Bull: The Game of Darts

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Many of us
have a favorite watering hole where we to go to unwind and have
a good time. Some of us may prefer the dive bar, others the neighborhood
brewery; some appreciate a younger crowd or the club/bar scene.
I personally prefer the cozy pub, and in my town I’ve found
one of the best I’ve come across. It’s an Irish pub that
generally plays classic rock or doom metal music, it has an easy,
neighborhood feel, and the best part? It’s unwavering dedication
to one of the greatest pub games of all time: the game of darts.
The pub boasts an entire room dedicated to the miniature arrows
we so hazardously hurl at their Christmas-colored targets.

But this article
is not about my cherished “Poet and the Patriot” pub.
It’s about darts. Today we’ll talk about the different
dart games that can be played and then next time we’ll provide
a primer on dart throwing technique.

Origins
of the Game

According to
the dart historian, Patrick Chaplin, the game of darts has its roots
in archery. Other early origin possibilities include javelins and
crossbow bolts, but seeing as how the early game of darts made use
of an archery-like target, and the fact that the game is also widely
known as “arrows,” it becomes rather clear that archery
then, is its most likely ancestor.

I have to admit–I
do not understand how this transition could have happened. Imagine
some muscled, bow and arrow-wielding warrior saying to his compatriot:
“Dude, imagine how much damage we could do if we made these
things like an eighth the size, and then we threw them with our
hands!?”

Just doesn’t
seem like a natural progression, does it? Maybe it was something
thought up for the kids to do, who knows? At any rate, the game
came to life in various disparate forms throughout England in the
early 20th century. It was brought to the States towards the end
of World War I by U.S. soldiers who played the game while in Europe
and then brought the darts back home with them.

The world has
never been the same. Happiness levels in bars throughout the world
increased by leaps and bounds. Leagues were formed, events were
planned, teams and friendships were forged. Despite a few traumatic
pitfalls over the years regarding league recognition, the World
Darts Council (now called the Professional Darts Corporation, or
PDC) took the game to new levels. Currently, there is a world circuit
with high profile competitions such as the Grand Prix, World Matchplay,
the Las Vegas Desert Classic, and the World Championships.

Quick Note
About the Dart Board

The dartboard
is set up with three main areas: The single area, the double ring,
and the triple ring. The ring on the outermost edge of the board
is the double. If you hit a number in that ring, you get two marks,
or, double points. The thin, inside ring is the triple. If you hit
a number within that ring, you get three marks, or, triple points.
The green bull’s-eye area is a single. The red is double. So,
from outside to in, the dartboard is arranged as double ring, single
area, triple ring, single area, green bull’s-eye, red bull’s-eye.

Read
the rest of the article

December
24, 2010

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