A Competitive Perspective
I expect that in all of the many enjoyable things I do, my dart game is one of the most pleasing. I play well enough, but I am not one who could walk into a big tournament and expect to win it. Although I enjoy competition, sometimes the more intense it gets, the more it takes you away from what you enjoy about the game.
I play at a certain level and I am basically happy with that. I'm a pretty good bar player, and even though I'm past middle age, I am still striving to improve. In league play I can still beat most of the up and coming young players-occasionally I can even reach back and somehow beat the best players in our league. But throwing darts has been something of a roller coaster ride. I began playing the game in a tavern in the U.S. Virgin Islands nearly 15 years ago. From the first day, I could pitch with the best bar players there, and when I returned home to Vermont, I joined a league in Canada, where I kept winning more than I lost.
For a long time my game stayed at the level I started at, and then it got worse. I usually played well enough to win more than I lost, but I just never improved. I never became that most intimidating player that I wanted to be. I tried mightily to reach the next plateau for a long time, but it just wouldn't come. For a more competitive player, it might have been the end of darts. But what kept me going was that I simply like throwing darts too much. Winning is more fun than losing, but I have learned to accept the losses. If I am able to throw a ggod game, but get beat, it's a good loss. When I play poorly, I try to figure out why, and always think I will do better next time.
Being able to live with the good losses will keep you in the game. It may even improve it. I was once teamed with a good dart thrower whose own intensity burned him out. Every missed dart was a calamity, and his game deteriorated steadily. For years he persisted, hoping to regain past glory, talking about the way he used to play. But he just got worse. And he got worse because he never understood the point of the game-it's suppose to be fun. Enjoy the wins and learn from the losses.
Win or lose, there is something exhilerating and exciting about playing someone for the first time, particularly someone who plays well. Tournament play affords this opportunity, and some players thrive under the added pressure. Those who fall apart usually do so because they're nervous, and It's hard enough to throw a good dart without adding jitters to the equation.
Experience is the best way to overcome nerves. The more tournaments you play in the more comfortable you are apt to be in this extra competitive enviornment. The trick is not to care too much about it. Unless you are playing for a whole pile of money, why worry. It's only a gameallbeit a very good game, and most often a friendly one.
Until Next Time!