OK, it's soapbox time. Over the past couple of months, I have seen some darters act in some extremely inappropriate way. Between being obnoxious, both at and away from the line, interfering with a person's throw, and being 'drunk as a skunk', someone's actions can, and often does, take a lot of fun out of a night of darts. After dealing with and suffering through partners that have acted, in my opinion, way out of line, I have to get this off my chest. I'm not trying to stop people from having fun. After all, that way most of us throw darts in the first place. I'm trying to stop people from ruining it for everyone else.
Where is he/she now? When your match is called and you are either looking for your partner or one of your opponents. I can understand if, every once in a while, you are not immediately available, i.e. getting a drink, or using the restroom. What gets real irritating is every single time that your match is called you are searching high and low for your partner. You spend 5 to 10 minutes looking for your partner, and when you finally find him/her, he/she looks at you with a puzzled look and asks 'Are we up now? Give me a couple of minutes and I'll be there'. This not only frustrates the partner, but it also slows play down. Some of these big tournaments have a hard enough time keeping on schedule when people are ready to play. This just exacerbates the problem.
The Loudmouth. You can't miss this person. You can hear him on the other side of the dart hall. This person has the uncanny ability to yell across the room when someone is throwing a clutch shot. I know you have to learn to block out your surroundings, but this is up and beyond what you would consider a 'normal' tone of conversation, even in a crowded pub. I can understand a inadvertent outburst once in a while, but when it comes to a Primal Scream at the top of your lungs, it can be a real distraction to the other throwers.
Temper, temper. After a bad shot, this person lets loose with a very loud and vocal string of self-degrading statements. To make matters possibly worse, this person, instead of walking up to the board and removing the darts, does some strange tribal dance, with arm flailing like a madman. This may not bother your match, but as often the case in league and tournament play, you do have a match next to yours. It's a big distraction when you are focusing on your game and you see some flailing arm in your peripheral vision.
WOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! I actually had a partner not to long ago that said this, standing about 2 feet from the person at the line while that person was throwing. I asked him to tone it down while others were throwing. I know that a couple of other people asked him to do the same thing. It was getting to the point that our opponents were actually not able to throw at all because he would stand no farther than a yard away from the person at the line and let loose with a 'WOOOOO'. I have never seen an entire group of players cheer against someone. It was unfortunate for me, because I had a decision to make whether to keep playing with him and his antics or find a way to get out of the tournament. What was the final straw was my partner 'accidentally' bumped into the guy at the line when he was trying to take out a D15 for the game. Since it was a soft-tip tournament, and we already back-up the machine once, there was no way to back up the turn again. I gave them the game. My partner wasn't too happy about it, but he was warned many, many times to stand away from people while they were at the line. At that point, I lost any desire to win anymore. You may say I 'tanked' on him. Maybe I did. As bad as he was acting, it was probably the best thing that could have happened to the tournament.
Hey, did you hear the one about... This parallels the previous paragraph. When someone is at the line, the opponent will start having a conversation with him/her after the person starts his or her turn. And the conversation continues, even if the person at the line is trying to ignore the chatterbox. But it doesn't stop at that throw. Sometimes it'll continue for the entire game or, worse yet, the entire match.
Drink first, then throw darts. I'm not trying to stop the consumption of alcohol during the matches. I enjoy a few brews just as much as the next guy. But when someone is drunk to the point where he can't even stand at the line, it's not just a matter of throwing decent darts. It becomes a matter of safety. I have seen, in years past, 3 scorekeepers get nailed with darts because the person was too drunk to be throwing them in the first place. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, but it could have been much worse. To even make matters worse, he'll tell you, 'I'll throw better, I promise' and the proceed to drink even more. There is nothing like throwing in a blind draw Cricket tournament, when your partner can't hit the broad side of the barn from the inside because he had way too much to drink.
I'm sure there are many more instances where people have said or done something that can ruin a night out throwing darts. I'm not against people having fun, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Here is my personal code of etiquette that I try and live by.
Keep emotions in check. I know it is sometimes hard to suppress the excitement of winning a game, or hitting a great shot, or showing disappointment on a lousy one. After you throw your darts, immediately retrieve them and step away from the playing area, allowing the next person to throw without unreasonable delay.
Other matches are being shot at the same time as yours. Try and keep the celebration or dejection down to a minimum. As stated before, you may have a match being thrown immediately next to your board. If you are going to celebrate, keep it well behind the line as to not interfere with other matches being thrown.
Respect the thrower and leave him alone. Once the person has address the line, that area is his and his alone. You have no business either talking to him or invading his space. Try and give the thrower at least 3 feet of space. And, if possible, don't stand directly behind him.
Don't keep your partner or opponents waiting. Keep an eye/ear open on when your next match is being played. You may have a few minutes to get a drink or use the restroom. Don't wait until your match is called to grab that beer. Do it while you are waiting for an open board.
Keep the drinking in check. I don't want to sound like a party pooper, but if you drink yourself silly, your dart game will start to suffer. Not only that, the booze has a way of affecting your attitude towards the game and others. Once that is changed, one or more of the previous etiquette rules will be broken. It may get so bad that not too many people can handle your obnoxiousness.
These rules of etiquette are not meant to restrict the fun that you may have. All these are, are guidelines to help improve the image of the sport of darts and the darters as well. Following these rules will show respect for the game and your fellow darters. After all, most of us continue to throw darts because we enjoy the sport and have fun doing it. What good is it when one person destroys the fun for most people by his antics? Just remember, when more people have fun throwing darts, chances are, even more people will throw. Isn't that what we all want in the end? A sport that we can be proud of?
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