What is it with the Darts?
How a game full of charisma and personality has dealt with 2020
When you think of sports, darts is probably not the first to spring to mind. The game is one of skill and psychology, and comes with a lot of high pressure moments just like any sport, but there is plenty more to darts than this.
From smokey exhibition rooms in clubs and pubs to huge indoor arenas across the world, darts has exploded as a sport. Every player has their own nickname, colours and personality which fans can get behind. As my dad remarked, darts is a bit like wrestling for all these factors; except it’s not scripted.
Let’s take a minute to reflect on the nicknames. Which other sport in the world could one have boasted, or still boast, titles such as ‘Darth Maple’, ‘Superchin’ or ‘The Matchstick’? In a sport which relies on the charisma of the individual, it is so easy to get swept up in everything which players have to offer, both on and off the ockey.
Darts can also pride itself on having the first sports tournament final of the year. The 2021 World Championships began on 14 December with the final taking place on 3 January. It is perhaps for this reason why this tournament always feels so festive, it is always intertwined around the supposedly jolliest time of the year.
The sport is also ideal for first time watchers to get into. 95% of players are quick when at the board and many of the tournaments are even quicker. The Premier League sees six matches of a first to 7 structure over a period of four hours. Being in the arena for this is a rush and with so much of the game now on TV, there’s never been a better time to get into following darts.
Like all sports, darts went behind closed doors when coronavirus hit. The 2020 Premier League season was six weeks old when sport was suspended. Players went from playing in front of thousands of fans in indoor arenas to playing in front of match officials and camera crews in function rooms. It wasn’t the same, but the game was back in some form.
The beginning of the World Championships started with the chance to see fans back at the game. Unfortunately, this idea was teased and dragged away almost as quickly when London was moved into tier 3 of England’s coronavirus restrictions. The first night of the tournament may be the only night with fans this year, but it is at least something after a year of suspended sports and empty arenas.
Darts is a game which is accessible to so many people. It is easy to get into, not too expensive to be a part of, and one of the only sports where alcohol can be drunk as both a player and spectator.
*Insert sport here* is nothing without the fans has been said a lot this year, and it is true for all of them. When it comes to darts this is no exception. Many players thrive off of the positive, or negative, reaction the fans give to them whilst on stage. The longer darts goes without fans, the more this impact could come to affect the players of a sport which is built on the charisma of individuals.