For me, the best sporting week of the year isn’t the Six Nations finals, Wimbledon, the FA cup, it isn’t even the Olympics when it finally comes around after a 3 year hiatus. In honesty I’m not even sure if my favourite sporting event of the year can be classified as a sport*, but that does nothing to diminish the love I have for it (I am literally gutted that I have to wait until 12 months to watch the action). It is of course the Lakeside World Darts Championships.
Now, when I tell people that I love darts I can immediately see the scepticism in their eyes. Their first reaction is that I surely must be taking the piss, a passtime not entirely foreign to me. But then it begins, my explanation as to why I love the darts, probably more than is socially acceptable. Firstly I love the characters, you can keep you pretty footballers with their womanising ways, faux dives and trendy haircuts I like my sports players to enter a room to their very own theme tune, to have a ludicrous nickname and be able to rival a heavily pregnant woman in the swollen belly stakes. Even the players that you think look slim initially you come to realise only appear this way due to the fact they’re standing next to a man mountain. Maybe that’s why I feel such an affiliation with darts, it’s a sport where fatties are champions.
|Wolfy Adams has lost and still looks that happy.|
Not only are they larger than life in multiple ways but they play fair, in fact, the players seem to like each other. These men are friends. This year in the quarter finals two men played against each other, one of which had given the other a lift to the venue. Whilst in the semis Wesley Harms asked for the board to be changed because his opponent (the legendary silverback) has had too many bounce-outs. Then of course there are the wives and girlfriends, by the end of the week you could pick Ted Hankey’s mother out of a crowd and could name each of Wolfy’s kids.. and possibly even the grandkids. That’s how the Lakeside makes you feel, like your part of some darts family and it doesn’t really matter if you’re there dressed up as Red Riding Hood or at home biting your nails willing that dart to go in the double, you're still just as included.
That's why when the Olympics come to London this year I won't be brimming with excited, I've had the climax of my sporting year in the very first week.. and it didn't run £9billion over budget.
* Of course when you think about it darts involves competition, hand to eye coordination and lengthy periods of standing up so I’m going for a resounding yes.