REALITY DARTS!

With the political hoopla of late, the party conventions and the ever-present speculation about who'll inherit Clinton's Oval Love Den, I, like millions of other Americans, have been absolutely captivated by --WHAT ELSE!? --the going's on in the Big Brother House. And, of course, on Survivor.

Like you, I'm sure, what's got me most intrigued are the similarities, and dissimilarities (yes this is TOO a word -it is, it IS!) between life on these new-fangled reality television shows and the real world of competitive darts. It blows my mind that George Will hasn't already penned a ditty on this himself. Perhaps George will ...

I'm the first to admit that this stuff is so incredibly obvious that you've probably already thought of it. Therefore, I'll take no offense if you choose to crumple up this column now and use it instead the way the Tagi Tribe's, Rudy, suggested using the Bible.

Think about it ...

In all of your darting experience have you ever wished, even for like a moment when your wife wasn't around, that you could recruit a topless dancer, like Big Brother's Jordan, for your Monday night league team? OF COURSE YOU HAVE! This is what is called a similarity.

Imagine then, that you actually HAVE a stripper on your darts team. This is what's called a DISSIMILARITY. Imagine further, that your cute little stripper team mate shoots like a toad with fat fingers. Would you banish her, as the Big Brother family did to Jordan? Would you send her crappy-dart-shootin'-fine-ass-body packin'? NO FRICKIN' WAY! Talk about dissimilarities.

Try another one ...

Say your team's short a player. You've been forfeitin' matches to teams which, under normal circumstances, couldn't touch Helen Keller. You're bummed. But then along comes this nice homosexual fellow who can scorch the sisal off the board. Would you pick him up? Pardon the pun, but OF COURSE YOU WOULD! That a player's race, creed, or sexual persuasion is unimportant is just another similarity between reality television and our wonderful sport.

But take it one more step. Visualize this new team mate of yours steppin' up to the line. Visualize him callin' "heads", throwin' cork and shakin' his opponent's hand. Visualize his first three darts as they arc their way into the triple twenty. Now -- and this is the important part -- visualize him doing all of this just once, let alone week after week, BARE-ASS NAKED like Survivor's Richard. Would you send him packin'? OF COURSE YOU WOULD!

Jeez.

Of course, there are other similarities and dissimilarities between this season's reality television families and the characters we all know and love in the world of darts. Tell me that Dayton Strawbridge doesn't remind you of Big Brother's Will "Mega"? Tell me that Deb Lewis doesn't remind you of Survivor's Susan? Tell me thet Big Brother's Eddie doesn't kind of look like Dave Marienthal and remind you of EVERYBODY you know in New York and New Jersey! And just TRY to tell me that Tee Ruelman doesn't make you think Jordan. THIS is what's got me bugged!

In its infinite wisdom, CBS didn't have the sense to set up a darts Immunity Challenge on Palau Tiga Island or install a board on a wall in the Big Brother house. Either simple act had the potential of turning the entire world on to our sport. It would have been only a matter of time before televised tournaments were airing in prime time. But no. The network honchos have the reality television families competing at pie eating contests instead.

Even worse, I read recently that the networks have a whole new crop of reality television shows in the pipeline. For example, Fox has already bought eight episodes of Boot Camp, where something like a hundred participants will scale walls and clean latrines and, then, one by one, be voted off the show by their drill instructor. Chains of Love, to be aired by NBC, will feature four men chained -- literally chained -- to one woman.

Every twenty-four hours the woman will cut one of her potential suitors loose. When it gets down to the final guy the pair will decide if they "want to date". Then there's The Flat which is being considered by several of the leading networks. In this one, five young women will share an apartment with a male maid who is required to do whatever they ask. At the end of each week the women decide whether or not they want to keep him.

THIS STUFF IS ALL ABSOLUTELY TRUE. Not one single word of it is made up.

SEE why I'm bugged? Darters everywhere should be asking themselves the EXACT SAME QUESTION I have been asking myself in the face of this avalanche of reality television programming. And that is: WHAT ON EARTH have our leaders -- the ADO's Sandi Cain and the ADA's Glenn Remick -- been doing?

Why haven't they been knocking on Hollywood's doors pitching the show that could instantaneously make our sport famous? Perhaps they've been hanging out with the leaders of the NDA, whoever they are and whatever they do. Who knows. The concept is so simple. So obvious.

So I took it to Hollywood myself.

Reality Darts will feature ten carefully selected representatives of the sport of darts as they compete for three months in a monster '01 marathon -- without a chalker -- in Bud's Country Lounge in Peoria, Illinois. They'll be sequestered from their loved ones. They'll exist on nothing but beer and steamed hot dogs. The juke box will play just one song: Margaritaville.

The ten Reality Darts participants were chosen only partly because of their skill at the line, though all are outstanding shots. Owing however, to the tremendous stress each will be expected to endure, the key consideration in the selection process was temperament. Only the most easy-going, most diplomatic, most unlikely to be riled, of our brethren made the final cut.

AND THE REALITY DARTS FAMILY -- curiously an all male contingent -- IS: Darrell Berry, Dayton Strawbridge, Sean Downs, Scott Wollaston, John Kramer, Craig Lehman, Darin Young, Mike Sansoucie, Bruce Marshall and, representing the entire country of England, Eric Bristow.

One of the really exciting features of Reality Darts is that the winner will NOT be determined by games or sets won, high ins and outs, ton-plus scores or any of the usual criteria. And the winner will NOT walk out of the bar with a million smackers. This would have been too much like Big Brother and Survivor. The networks weren't interested.

Nope. The championship of Reality Darts will be accorded to whichever tough-guy contestant -- after three months of being locked up, with pointy objects, OUTLIVES THE OTHERS. And EVEN BETTER than a million bucks, the winner will be awarded round-trip airfare to Washington, D.C. and a night in the Oval Love Den or, alternatively, the chance to be a future contestant on Chains of Love.

From the Field,

Dartoid

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