Darts is a proper Olympic sport…said no one ever…
However, why isn’t it? I’ve just watched Rob Cross beat Phil Taylor in fantastic exhibition of skill watched by thousands live and thousands more on TV in absolute classic encounter.
I am going to be controversial here but I reckon it is hangover from the class system otherwise there is no reason why cycling is more of an Olympic sport than darts.
Cycling and athletics has far more game enhancing drug cheats than darts but, ostensibly, it involves middle class, middle aged men so it is brushed under the carpet.
I reckon if I spent ten hours running and ten hours on the oche I would be further up the queue in terms of ‘good’ marathon runners as opposed to ‘good’ darts players.
I can’t think of any of my friends who have been more excited by Chris Froome and his Tour de France success as opposed to Cross winning the PDC darts world championship for the first time and on his debut appearance.
I had a tremendous debate about this today over a few beers and no one can still tell me that cycling, running and rowing requires more skill than darts. So why is darts not an Olympic sport? I blame Baron Pierre de Coubertin.
The French Educator and historian and founder of the Olympic games was not a member of the hoi polloi, so the thought of men throwing darts with minimal movement whilst hordes of working class people drink beer is arguably anathema to Coubertin.
However, I think we should cherish pub sports and darts is undoubtedly that. The beauty of Rob Cross’ win is that he was an electrician less than 12 months ago and has suddenly won £400,000. Therefore, any pub with a dartboard could have a potential PDC World champion waiting in the wings.
I have to be honest and say whilst I thought the 125 – Freehold Tavern DE11 0LH was a cracking local boozer in the centre of Newhall, there was no sign of a future Rob Cross. There was a dartboard, jukebox and a pool table along with a DJ booth but no sign, as yet, of a future world champion.
I popped in for a Pedigree (Marston’s) and whilst I had a half I could have had a pint for only £2.30…that means I have been to Newhall twice and yet pay more than £2.40 for a pint of either Bass or Pedigree!
It was a cracking local pub with a group of eight locals – male and female – having a raucous conversation whilst another three were religiously following The Chase and there was music on in the background.
But this is the sort of place I could imagine a Rob Cross materialising from… There was a cracking old boy who nodded at me on my arrival, didn’t say a word throughout and then said “see you later” as I was departing…classic Derbyshire understatement. They also had some classic Derbyshire breweriania on the walls…
However, I noted that the Freehold Tavern were currently seventh (just above the relegation zone) in the www.jccars.co.uk Hartshorne & District Darts, Dominoes and Cribbage League. But that means they are currently the best in Newhall as they are ahead of the Lamb Inn and The Royal Oak!!
They are competing well in the Trent Valley Darts League http://www.trentvalleydartsleague.co.uk/downloads/stats/winter-2017/tables.pdf but it is clear to see that a Rob Cross character would give this pub’s dart team a huge boost.
It would be fantastic if darts was recognised like other upper class sports such as rowing and cycling, which are predominantly wealthy sports – no one rides a grifter anymore – There might have been someone in the Freehold Tavern tonight who was a future world champion.
That’s why dart boards and pool tables are so important in pubs…The Freehold Tavern had a cracking darts board that, on this occasion, wasn’t being used but it is easy to see how someone could be the next Rob Cross.
The fact that darts annoys the bourgeoisie is even more reason to enjoy it and the sooner it is an Olympic sport the better.
Anyway, suffice to say, a cracking little two roomed boozer that was pretty full late on a Thursday afternoon and clearly there are a lot of locals who enjoy coming to the Freehold Tavern.
So, a sport with no drug cheats, no discernible cheating and a fan/player base who love attending pubs! Darts for the Olympics…it’s a no brainer.