A couple of years ago I found myself living back at home, feeling like a turd in a washing machine, making a mess of everything. I had no fixed job, a failed relationship, no prospects, athlete’s foot but not an athlete’s body, and a really bad Kim Yeong Sun haircut. I was a real Debby Downer. I’d mope about the town like Morrissey would after being forced to club a seal to death.

I could’ve quite easily thrown in the towel, given up on life, ended it all and become a teacher, but I was saved from my certain desperate PGCE fate by discovering a love of darts.

Yes darts, the sport of champions, or of pork scratching munching, beer swilling, diabetic demi-gods. A sport that would change my life.

I had never been particularly fond of darts. Occasionally I would chuck a few arrows and they would wobble dangerously in the air, bounce off the board and strike a passerby’s fleshy parts, but apart from the potential maiming of others it had limited appeal. It lacked the aerobic rush, the physical contact, the close body wrestles of other sports, but then a weekly encounter with the oche arranged by my enthusiastic dart-playing friends slowly began to change all that.

It wasn’t long before I was hooked. Wednesday dart’s night became the zenith of my week, my sole salvation in the melancholy theatre of life.

The mastering of throwing three small metal spears at a coloured, numbered board became a glorious regression to a former tribal self. Like the irrepressible urge to drum on tables or toddlers’ heads; the act of throwing sharpened sticks tapped into a genealogical memory. Where a mono-browed, heavily built me, in a sheep’s carcass, battled against a woolly mammoth armed with a bit of old twig.

A time when glory was an arm thrust away. And yes, on occasions I’d get a woolly tusk in the guts, but it was a simpler time where purpose and meaning in life didn’t involve spreadsheets, or deodorants, or haircuts, or blogs, or selfies, or social media. A time before shoes, carpets, mortgages, furniture, iPhones, vegetarianism, gluten-free, Netflix, toilet paper and Ocado.

Throwing darts stripped away all that modern nonsense to the simple joys of enacting force on the powers of gravity. Like popping your head out of your mother’s womb for the first time and feeling life.

It’s also a great excuse to get pissed with your friends midweek. Friends that shout at you to stop blathering on about being a hunter gatherer, and throw the pissing dart, you prick. I throw a double twenty, and in my head I’ve hit a bear between the ribs, raaaaah.

Words: Stan Skinny


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