Falling Awake

Just Darts Since 2009

Category Archives: Winter 2010

Playoffs Week #1 — Post-Mortem

We don’t get stats updates during the playoffs, so I’m afraid I can’t prove that we all stepped up our games last week.  But we did.  Especially Vulture, who played the best darts I’ve seen from him in a long time.

It wasn’t enough, though.  One guy on their team was just lights out all night, and sometimes that all it takes to win a match.

We lost, 8-5.

So that’s it until the fall.  I was asked to play in the All-Star match next Tuesday, which was an honor.  Then it’s the banquet, and done.

See ya in six months or so!

Muggs Away – Week #11

This match could have used a good color commentator.  There was controversy, and tension you could cut with a knife!

Here’s the back story: last time we played Muggs Away, they used a ringer and ended up beating us 8-5.  It was the only time we’ve lost to them in all the years we’ve played.  (To be honest, that sounds like we’re more dominating than we are.  We had won every match 7-6.)

It wasn’t just that they used a ringer, though.  It was that they lied to us about it—-and not even good lies.  First, they put the ringer in under one of their regular’s names, as if we didn’t know who was on their team.  Then they explained that their regular had been called away suddenly—to go on his honeymoon.  Then we were told that the ringer was actually supposed to be on the roster, but the league office hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

So, the day before this latest match, I sent an e-mail off to the head of the league:

Hi, Rick.

Last time we played against Muggs Away, their best player was not on the roster. When we questioned this, they said that you hadn’t gotten around to putting him on yet.

I’ve been watching the stat reports, and still don’t see him, so I wanted to ask you in advance of our match against them tomorrow: is he on the roster? His name is Justin, but when we played them he played under Mike’s name.


I knew there’d be repercussions.  We both play out of Tiernan’s, we’re friendly with each other, and—get this—the captain of  Muggs Away owns the bar.

But what’s right is right, right?

Anyway, the bartender called me “Benedict,” and the bar owner was loudly talking about me being a whiner.  He called me out and announced he would kick my ass in every game we played against each other.  (I’m not sure how that worked out.  I know he didn’t win every game, because I won our first match-up.  I couldn’t tell you if he won all the others or not, because I was just focused on playing well, whoever was my opponent.)

Meister had the best line, though.  When we were jawing at each other before the match, he came up and said, “Wait a second.  Who cheated again?”

The bar owner was on fire all night.  He’d played well below his potential all season, and was determined to make up for that in this match.  I was honestly pleased by this.  He’s generally a good guy, and I don’t have any problem with getting beaten by a superior player—provided that player is on the roster, of course.

What made this fun was that we stepped up our game, too.  Matched them dart for dart.  Even with the lousy music playing.

Oh, didn’t I mention that?  The owner jumped on the jukebox before anyone else got there and played hour after hour of the most god-awful dance music.  He knows that Red, in particular, is sensitive to the kind of music that’s playing while he’s throwing.  It didn’t bother him this night, though.

The result?  Back to normal.  A 7-6 win.

Unfortunately, that resulted in a tie between the two teams, which was won by Muggs Away because they beat us 8-5.  With a ringer.  (The killer is that they’re the only team we have a losing record against this season.)  So we play them again on Tuesday in the first round of the playoffs, as the visiting team, but in our home bar.

That’s never bothered us before, though.  (I’ll go out on a limb and predict a 7-6 win.)

What will the atmosphere be like?  It had all blown over before the match was halfway through.  When he saw that I wasn’t going to bite on the provocations, and that I was honestly happy that he was playing so well, the bar owner and I made up.

I just better not see Justin there on Tuesday, is all.

Off the Tracks – Week #10

This is about as late as it’s possible to post about last week’s match, which should give you a hint about how it went.  Not as a night—it was actually not a bad time at all.  The result, though?  Not so good.

First, Tracks has rethought their dart board positioning, and it’s much improved now.  Where you used to have boards all lined up against one wall, like a series of lanes at a bowling alley, now the boards are positioned back to back, freeing up some (but only some) space for people to stand.

When we arrived there were three boards set up for playing.  Unfortunately, there were four matches scheduled.  Before it became apparent that all the boards were occupied, we were jumping from board to board to try to warm up.  When we got thrown off the last board like a sandlot baseball team off the little league field, our hosts pulled out the fourth board.  We started about half an hour late.  And I would have a legitimate complaint about that if one of our own players didn’t show up at that exact moment.

When you go down 4-0 to start a match, there’s not much you can do.  The one thing that you mustn’t do is get frustrated.  Our team had mixed results on that front.  It sounds simple, but it’s hard to let go of the bad games you throw.   There’s no alternative, though.  You can’t have those back, and if getting worked up over not playing well is going to continue to throw off your game, you’ve got to take a deep breath, forget the past, and get in the moment.

Considering the start, and the fact that Off the Tracks not only is a very good team, and that they staged an improbable comeback to win a game of cricket that 95% of teams would have given up on, the final score was not so bad.  We beat them 9-4 in our place, and they beat us 9-4 at theirs.

What’s interesting now is to look at the standings:

This is about as fluid as it gets going into the final match.  Four teams have a legitimate shot at the final three spots.  The only thing I’m taking out of this is that we need to win tomorrow.  I could look closely at it and say, well if we win 6 we’re in, or if we win 5 let me check on our record against Brickhouse, but that’s the wrong mindset.

The goal tomorrow is a win.  We don’t need anybody’s help, we just need to have the right attitude, and stay in the moment.

T E R D – Week #9

This post is really, really late, so we must have lost big, right?

Nope.  We did fine.  Don’t know why it took me so long to post, besides not feeling like it.

Anyway, we won some games we should have lost, and we lost some we should have won.  These are a good group of guys to play against—just a lot of fun and a relaxing evening.  There are teams that you really need to beat, and teams that you really can’t allow yourself to lose to.  T E R D is neither, just a bunch of good dart players that are right at our skill level, and who have the same attitude towards the match that we have.  It was a relaxing, fun evening.

And I’m not saying that just because we won.  I’m sure we ended up winning because we were relaxed.  It was just a different atmosphere from what we’ve had the last few weeks, and it was like that from the very start of the match.

(I could point out that we were up 7-3, and really should have won by a larger margin.  Yeah, we kicked ourselves a little bit for not bearing down harder at the end, but it wasn’t a night-ruiner.  Actually, I guess I did just point that out.)

I was going to say something about my cricket score continuing to plummet inexplicably as the season nears its end, but I just looked at last season’s cricket stats, and it’s not inexplicable.  Allow me to explicify:* it’s called regression to the mean, and I’m still shooting better than I did at almost any point last season.  As a matter of fact, we all are shooting at least as well as we did last time.  It just doesn’t feel that way when you’ve hit a bad patch.  To go with the cricket, here are last season’s 501 stats.

So that’s why I post this stuff here.  Because I won’t remember it otherwise.

Final score: a 7-6 win.

Next week, it’s into the lion’s den at Tracks.  I’ve heard they’ve rearranged the dart boards since the last time we were there, which would be a blessing.  They’re pretty far out in front of us, so we’ll just relax and do the best we can to catch them.  I hope.


*Pronounce ‘explicify’ with a hard c.

Dart Fellas – Week #8

Hoo, boy.

This was pretty disastrous.  Needing to win in the double digits to give us a shot at catching up to the first place team, we were at home against the last place team.

We’d beaten the Dart Fellas at their place 11-2, so everything seemed lined up for us to make a run at regaining the top spot.  Our schemes were well-laid, to say the least.

When it became clear that we weren’t going to win at least 10 games (at about the time we were trailing 3-1) I began thinking about how I’d start this post.  I’d tie it into last week’s, when I talked about losses which didn’t hurt so much.  This would be an example of wins that were devastating.

Reality didn’t comply with these plans either, because we didn’t win.  We flat-out lost.

The details aren’t important.  We just seem to be caught in a funk, and time is running out for us to get back on track.  It’s a crisis of confidence.

So let’s look at this not through rose-colored glasses, but at least without being too colored by our recent failures.

We’re in second place behind a team that we’ve beaten already this season.  We play them one more time before the end, so we can gain some ground there.  We have another match against T E R D, who we’ve beaten 8-5.  And one more against Muggs Away—who will not be allowed to play a ringer again if I have anything to say about it.

And if we can’t make up the ground, I hope we can at least get back to having fun playing darts.  It’s not the losing that’s getting us down, it’s the feeling that we’re just not playing the way we should be.  Let’s loosen up, get our heads right, and have fun against  T E R D on Tuesday.  If we can do that, we’ll improve our chances at the top spot, but that’s just a byproduct of our real aim.

Let’s have some fun out there.

Final score: a 7-6 loss.

Brickhouse I – Week #7

Although there’s no such thing as a good loss, this wasn’t a particularly bad one.  We were playing in their place, and they’re a talented team.  When it comes down to it, since the standings are based upon individual games won or lost and not matches, a 7-6 loss is not so much worse than a 7-6 win.

And yet it did bother me.  Mostly because I shot very poorly in cricket, my worst showing in that game in at least a year.  If you think  I’m exaggerating, check out the stats above.  It takes some very bad shooting to drop that far in only one match—just two games of cricket.

On the positive side, also take a look at my teammates’ cricket scores, and see how they all picked their games up to compensate for my woes.  Red in particular had the best two cricket games he’s shot in years.  So all in all, this could have been much worse.

Next week we have our second match against the Dart Fellas.  They’re a nice bunch of guys, but we have to aim not only to beat them, but to beat them big.  (It’s the games won that count, remember, not the matches.)  It’s not a coincidence that the two teams that have more wins than we do are the only teams to have played the Dart Fellas twice.  Just to keep pace, we really need to win in double digits.

And to do that, we’ll all have to play well.

Final score: a 7-6 loss.

Muggs Away – Week #6

You may have noticed that I tend to post these recaps very quickly after a win, but it can take a while for you to learn about a loss.  I assure you that this is no coincidence.  After a loss, it can take me a couple of days even to open up the e-mail we’re sent with our stats and standings.

If you check out the stats above, you’ll see that although we dropped our game a little overall, there was no collapse.  We didn’t play as well as we could have, but then we rarely all do.  If you look only at our stats and the relative standings of our two teams, you’d be left scratching your head over this loss.

I’ll explain it to you, but first let me give you a little background.

Part of the challenge in assembling a dart team is getting four people who you can depend upon to show up every Tuesday night.  Getting two others to agree to be subs (who may not play a single match and yet will willingly jump in at the last moment to fill in) is even harder.

Several years ago Red and I were on a team where all the other players dropped out or disappeared on us.  We’d let the other team know the situation, and we’d pick up a couple of players from the other team’s bar to stand in for us.  (They only allowed us to use bad players, and rightly so.)  Sometimes, Red and I could only scrounge up one extra player, and then we’d have to go through games skipping our team’s turn every other time.  Red actually won a game of cricket playing without a partner, which is one of his proudest achievements as a dart player.  (If you don’t realize how difficult that was, then trust me.  It was amazing.)

This is all my way of saying that if a team is short a player, they should tell their opponents to see what can be worked out.  Matches can be rescheduled, and substitutes can be found.

In other words, when the best player on a team—by a long shot—answers to a name that’s not the one he’s playing under, there’s something funny going on.  And not “ha-ha” funny.

We don’t check people’s IDs in this league, and I don’t think we should.  But it’s tough to operate under the honor system if you lack the obvious requisite.

Final score: an 8-5 loss.

(Incidentally, there was a mix-up setting up the match, and Muggs Away played as the home team.  They agreed that we’ll be the home team the next time we play, so I’ve updated the schedule to reflect that.)

Off the Tracks – Week #5

I was a little nervous coming into this match.  We’ve been here before, climbing to within a game or two of first place and getting beaten badly enough to send us into a downward spiral for the rest of the season.

I’m happy to report that didn’t happen this time.  We played up to the competition last night, and our competition was very good.  Off the Tracks is the best team we’ve played since Casey’s RBs last season, with no weak link to target.  We didn’t all play consistently well, but when the shots had to be made each of us managed to pull it off.

A very big “thank you” to Moose, who filled in for Vulture last night.  Actually, he’s a good example of what I’m talking about.  In his first game—not just of the evening but since early November!—he started off very shakily and was freezing me at one point.  It looked like a loss for our side, but then he banged out a hat trick and suddenly it was the other team that was frozen, and we managed to snatch an early win.

I am also very happy to report that yet again, our opponents were really very classy and gracious.  I make a point of mentioning this because in the past this unfortunately hasn’t always been true.  In that respect, this may be the best group of teams I’ve played with.  (And since the whole point of this league is to have fun every Tuesday night, that’s really the only respect that matters.)

Which brings us to next week’s match against Muggs Away.  They are a wretched, mean-spirited, whiny collection of sociopaths.  Pure evil.  So, say a prayer for us next Tuesday, so that the forces of darkness may be vanquished.

Final score: a 9-4 win.

Bye – Week #4

No match for us last Tuesday, and no change in the standings this week.  Off the Tracks played Brickhouse and won 8-5, which actually hurt their win percentage and leaves us one game behind them for first place.  We play them on Tuesday, so we’ll see if we can take advantage of that.

Congratulations to the Dart Fellas.  They won their first match of the year against Muggs Away, with a score of 7-6!

Dart Fellas – Week #3

This is a brand new team, which was bumped up from C to B division in the last-minute schedule changes.  This was unfair to them, but I suppose that in order to have each division have an even number of teams, some team always gets the shaft.

They have talent.  Their cricket play is very good, and it took some very strong play on our part just to split those four games.  As usual with new teams, it’s the 501 games that gave them trouble.  They just need more practice, and to learn their outs, and maybe by the next time we play them they’ll give us a run for our money in those games as well.

The main thing, of course, is that they were good sports and fun to play against.

Final score: an 11-2 win.

Stats updated above.

(We may be moving our match against T E R D from next Tuesday to our bye week.  I’ll update the schedule if we do.)