FanDuel - WFBC

January 03, 2006

Phil "The Power" Taylor wins his 13th World Darts Title: Regardless of where you stand on the sport/not sport issue (and according to UK Sport, darts is a sport), this is impressive. Martin Kelner enjoyed it too. More inside.

posted by JJ to other at 08:27 AM - 37 comments

I'm not bothered if this turns into a sport/not sport debate, but in case it does: 1) You need hand-eye coordination 2) It takes physical endurance to play to a high standard for a sustained period 3) It takes nerve by the bucket-load 4) You can improve by practicing All of which points fairly squarely at it being a sport in my book. There's even talk of getting it into the 2012 games as an invitation sport. Regardless, nice work Phil Taylor.

posted by JJ at 08:32 AM on January 03

Those criteria are transparently biased to make sure that golf is not excluded! (It does pass the Poker Test, though, i.e. poker is not a sport by these rules because no hand-eye coordination is required.)

posted by Amateur at 09:09 AM on January 03

And what the hell is an "invitation sport?" The press release reads: "darts ... would be proud to be considered as the host nation’s ‘invitation sport’ in 2012." And later "We will now continue to lobby for darts to be considered for the 2012 Olympics – possibly as the ‘invitation sport’ to which London as host nation is entitled." Well there is absolutely zero hope of darts being added to the Olympic programme for 2012. That decision has already been made. And there have not been any Olympic demonstration sports since 1994. The IOC decided in 1989 to place a moratorium on demonstration sports. Or maybe they are thinking about something like what wushu is doing in 2008; that is, there will be a tournament held at the same time as the Olympic games, but not associated with them in any way. In which case I suppose the host nation (erm, London apparently) is "entitled" to as many invitation sports as they please!

posted by Amateur at 09:20 AM on January 03

1) You need hand-eye coordination 2) It takes physical endurance to play to a high standard for a sustained period 3) It takes nerve by the bucket-load 4) You can improve by practicing And people say that NASCAR isn't a sport! NASCAR meets all of these requirements also.

posted by grabofsky74 at 09:41 AM on January 03

And if somebody won 13 NASCAR titles, we'd probably post it here too. The debate will rage on, but the feat is still impressive.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 09:47 AM on January 03

Sport or not, darts is fun thing to do inbetween cocktails.

posted by HATER 187 at 09:56 AM on January 03

darts is fun thing to do inbetween cocktails Some drivers might say the same thing about NASCAR.

posted by Amateur at 10:28 AM on January 03

Some drivers might say the same thing about NASCAR. Just Shane Hmeil...and maybe Kurt Busch... That said, good on Phil Taylor. I love watching those dart competitions on Fox Sports late at night, if only for the guy that announces the round scores after each players trip. Me and my buddies do that all the time at the bar when we're throwing...."one hundred-FORTY!!!!" And one other criteria for darts-as-sport...there is a definitive winner in every match, not a panel of judges voing for a winner...

posted by MeatSaber at 10:40 AM on January 03

I was flipping through stations the other day and saw a match with Phil Taylor in it (in Vegas, I believe). My favorite part is that when he entered the arena, the music playing was Snap's "The Power".

posted by blarp at 10:46 AM on January 03

I love watching those dart competitions on Fox Sports late at night, if only for the guy that announces the round scores after each players trip. That guy is brilliant. He could announce my checking out at the grocery store and I'd get amped up.

posted by YukonGold at 11:08 AM on January 03

And what the hell is an "invitation sport?"... there is absolutely zero hope of darts being added to the Olympic programme for 2012. Evidently, the importance of alcohol to the sport in general has spread to the governing body. Olympic or not - alcoholic or not - darts is a great sport. Do you wrong-side-of-the-ponders get Sid Waddell on your commentary? If not, you're missing a treat. He has a thick Geordie (Newcastle) accent which masks his clasical education, and he says things like this. [My favourite - but you have to imagine the pitch of his voice rising to near hysteria towards the end of this: "When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer... Bristow's only 27!!!"]

posted by JJ at 11:35 AM on January 03

Oooooone 'undred and twwwenty-five!

posted by JJ at 11:36 AM on January 03

Yuuuuuuuukon, you require nnnnnninety-seven. [treble nineteen, tops, for those of you trying to work it out]

posted by JJ at 11:38 AM on January 03

Sport, game, whatever. Any activity can probably meet many of the criteria set to determine if something is sport or game or both. People in competitive dart leagues around the country probably think it's the epitome of sport. I see it as a fun and challenging game, and like to compete against others while doing it, so it does sound a lot like a sport.

posted by dyams at 12:03 PM on January 03

It is a sport. A sport with a beer in one hand, or a plate of nachos, and lets not forget the fact that you have the smoke in the eyes thing going.

posted by Turbo at 12:18 PM on January 03

"When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer... Bristow's only 27!!!" Reminds me of the mini-golf announcers in the Simpsons: "This is the most stirring display of gallantry and portsmanship since Mountbatten gave India back to the Punjabs."

posted by yerfatma at 12:28 PM on January 03

One 'undred 'n' AY-TAY! ...I don't even play darts and I love hearing that. Didn't some Canadian player beat this guy a couple of years ago for the title? Or maybe it was some other major darts tournament? I just remember the Canadian press made a big deal about it for a couple of days.

posted by grum@work at 02:11 PM on January 03

Phil "The Power" Taylor is my favorite darts player. I often watch UK sports and I always rout for him. His matchups with (and victories against) Mardle are great. I watched him win #11 and #12 on live TV. 11 was in London and 12 in Vegas alast summer. We really have got to shel this idea of sport/not sport. If he delve into this subject too much, we will find ourselves talking about billiards and poker, and then NASCAR. If you believe NASCAR is a sport, and I do, you cannot doubt even pro fishing. For our Southern friends and our fans like me, February is the Apocalypse without Daytona. Pull out the Rebel Flags and turn on your engines!!!

posted by Joe88 at 02:29 PM on January 03

That's also one of the best things Kelner's written. Thanks JJ.

posted by owlhouse at 02:37 PM on January 03

I wonder, can you drink a cocktail while driving in the Daytona 500?

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:51 PM on January 03

Don't they have cup holders as standard on all NASCAR models?

posted by owlhouse at 07:19 PM on January 03

I'd consider it more of a sport than poker. At least in darts you can actually have a crowd cheer for a great play and actually see what is going on without watching it on tv. As long people enjoy watching darts, i think it is mostly a sport. I don't think it will catch on here in America though as far as a spectator sport goes.

posted by garnet&blackattack at 08:27 PM on January 03

Sport, hobby, recreation...WHATEVER!!! As is always the case, someone has to step up and declare HIS "love" is the only real thing, and everybody else's ain't squat. I've played baseball, football, basketball, soccer, been hunting, thrown darts, been to NASCAR and played poker. Enjoyed it ALL! Get over this macho crap and let people just enjoy themselves, WHATEVER their "game"! JESUS!

posted by Thumper at 09:04 PM on January 03

13 years as the best in the world at anything is impressive.

posted by chicobangs at 09:22 PM on January 03

BY ALL THE CRITERIA THAT HAS BEEN LISTED...SEX IS A SPORT TOO! A sport the United States would kick ass in if it were an Olympic sport! Make it a team event, like rowing! Two athletes in a bed and the team captain sitting on the headboard chanting.."STROKE....STROKE...STROKE". GOLD MEDAL TO THE UNITED STATES!

posted by CountDracula58 at 10:55 PM on January 03

ROFL, CD, ROFL! Where do I sign up to do the judging?

posted by billsaysthis at 11:55 PM on January 03

I don't know. Smart money would be on the Swedes and the Thais, methinks.

posted by chicobangs at 01:16 AM on January 04

Would Viagra and Cialis be considered "illegal enhancing drugs" in this case. "AND THE GOLD MEDAL GOES TO PETER NORTH!"

posted by Ricardo at 02:28 AM on January 04

... and it also meets HATER's criteria

posted by Amateur at 06:57 AM on January 04

In the Guardian today, a "debate" between Phil Taylor and Tom McNab (former driector of coaching for British Athletics) about whether or not darts should be in the 2012 games. As amateur has already pointed out (and McNab reinforces), darts won't be in the London games regardless of what anyone thinks as to whether it should be or not. That aid, it's interesting to read the two opinions. Taylor's is verging on illiterate begging, while McNab's is just completely inaccurate in places and makes up a new word ('Olympism' anyone?). One thing I will say against the latter's final argument ("There is a minimum level of physical activity which is required and that means darts cannot be considered.") is that although there is clearly very little physical activity involved, surely there is more than there is in prone rifle shooting. At least the darts players have the decency to stand up while they're playing their sport.

posted by JJ at 10:30 AM on January 04

Ricardo...You Da Man! Thats funny!

posted by CountDracula58 at 10:54 AM on January 04

And prone rifle shooting can go too. Why is it the oddball sports (at least mostly) are the big olympic draws...Who watches bobsled or luge or figure skating when it isn't wrapped in olympic rings?

posted by Ricardo at 11:08 AM on January 04

Yes JJ, he keeps coming back to that point -- and although I agree that a minimum level of physical exertion is required, it is hard to argue that darts requires less than some of the current 'sports.'

posted by Amateur at 11:25 AM on January 04

Ricardo, why should the size of the audience be used as a measuring stick of a sport's worth?

posted by Amateur at 11:28 AM on January 04

That is a little backwards...I think a sport, or activity, has its' worth determined by the audience it attracts. I just think the Olympics would attract a much huger audience if more high profile sports were included.

posted by Ricardo at 08:21 PM on January 04

After all, an enormous audience was exactly what Baron de Coubertin was after. Don't forget the Olympic ideals - faster (news coverage), stronger (advertising), higher (ratings).

posted by JJ at 04:14 AM on January 05

Well Ricardo, you're right about the second part. I'm sure that the Olympics would attract a "much huger" audience if they included a Formula 1 grand prix, world cup calibre men's football, professional golf, and world cup calibre cricket. In my mind, though, that isn't really the point, and you're the one that's got it backwards.

posted by Amateur at 07:22 AM on January 05

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