I can’t say I’ve watched a lot of darts in my life. But lately, while watching Sky Sports (sort of like a European Sportscenter), I’ve been catching highlights from the Ladbrokes World Championship, and it has me intrigued.
And this morning, I caught the story of Michael van Gerwen pulling off “one of the greatest sets of darts ever played”, in which he nearly completed back-to-back “nine dart finishes” (I hope I’m saying that properly).
I did a quick search to understand the significance, and found this article, which contained the following passage:
To put Van Gerwen’s feat into some sort of perspective, it is necessary to delve into the history of the nine-darter, the equivalent of snooker’s 147, baseball’s perfect game, cricket’s six sixes. So rare was it that it for more than three decades after ITV first started broadcasting darts in the early 1970s, it was once something elusive, almost mythical. Cash prizes for nine-darters were often worth more than the winner’s cheque. Not until Taylor at the World Matchplay in 2002 was it achieved live on television.
Beyond being impressed by the rarity of this feat, I was struck by the atmosphere that seems to surround this sport. The crowd is NUTS. Costumes, signs, drinking, cheering, chanting. I had no idea darts had this sort of passionate following (there are even near fights). I may have to become a darts follower now.