|I can remember just starting out in the game of darts. After a few years of practice I thought I was pretty good. I would go to all the blind draws in the area and if I drew a good partner I had a good chance of winning. These days, I shoot better darts than I did back then and throughout my growth in this wonderful game, I have noticed something quite remarkable.
"The better I get, the better my partners get."
This is a fact! I cannot remember the last time I shot with a beginner who did not shoot amazing darts. Okay, they don't throw them all the time but if you keep your eyes open they do throw them.
And if you expect them to throw an amazing round at any moment, they quite often do. (I want to point out that I used the word 'expect' and not 'demand.') I just expect that they will do their best and the funniest thing happens. "They do!"
This weekend I drew a guy named Tim. I know his name was Tim, though I had not met him before, because he introduced himself to me. There I was warming up on a board, paying no attention at all to the names being called out for the blind draw teams and Tim walked up.
"Are you Karl," he asked. "Yes," I said. "Hi, I'm Tim. I'm your partner. I play on 'D' league and I'm not very good." He put out his hand and I shook it. "Don't worry about it. We all have to start someplace. Just do your best.," I said. Then I turned and went back to my warm-up.
As it turns out, Tim was true to his word. He was not very good; however, he was good enough for one mark a turn and so all I had to do was adjust my game accordingly. I told Tim that we should be playing as much 501 as possible. So, every cork we won, we opted for 501. This way Tim got more punch out of his darts. Tim seemed a bit apprehensive. His hands were physically shaking as he stood on the oche, aimed and threw his darts. I opted not to comment. (His game would come.)
Tim began gaining his confidence back after we won the first game of 501. Then he stepped to the oche for the next cork, won it, and told the chalker in a clear voice, "501."
As he walked back to the oche, he gave me a look (as if to ask) "was that okay?" I smiled and said, "good job! Now go and hit big!"
I think Tim's next throw was a 26 but that was 26 points that we had not hit before. During our games of 501, Tim managed to take out double 16 two times. One of those was after I had missed it and the other was in a do or die situation. Now, that is pretty damn amazing for a guy who is hitting 26's and one mark a round in cricket. Missing either shot would have put us in the loser's bracket.
In another game of 501, we were playing from behind and looking poorly as the double out approached. With 152 left Tim pounded an
81 and that left me with 71 for the out. (Any out is a good out!) The other team threw and ended up on 32. I hit the 71 and the game was over.
Had Tim not hit that 81 at that exact time, I don't know if I could have hit a much higher out. He got that out down low enough so that I had a real shot at the win.
In one of our cricket games, we needed two bulls to finish a close match. I had just hit T15, SB, Miss. The other team needed three bulls to win. Tim stepped to the line and I told him, "Just put one in the black. Look at the center and throw." He hit the double bull with his first dart. What was great about that shot is that Tim had about four of his buddies watching him from behind the oche. He got high-fives from them all.
It would have been great if we had gone on to win. We didn't. We were put out in third place by a very good team that we had previously placed in the loser's bracket. Even so, the games were close.
We won the first game of 501 and they won the second. I lost the third cork and they opted for cricket; a very sound strategy. We did our best and as the game progressed into the 16's and 15's we were also in the 300 points range vying for control. Had the other team made even one mistake we could have taken it from them. They made no mistakes.
In the end, I would just like to share something I have learned from this and my many years of throwing. I have learned to "Let my Partners Shine".
Once I stopped worrying about what other people were throwing and began focusing on my own darts, I got better. Then the most remarkable thing happened. I realized that as I got better so did my partners and now they shine.
Enjoy the Journey!