George Haines Interview – Part 4

The game we play is, well that’s where the name comes from, baseball. We play one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and nine, in that order. There’s no defense, make as many points as you can with three darts. The triple ring is on the outside of the board, which is the double in the English game, and one reason for our success in the English game is we (American Dart shooters) are not afraid to go after that outer ring. The idea is to shoot for the red, that’s our double and it’s next to the triple and about twice as wide as the triple and it’s your biggest scoring area. It only gets two but if you miss a bit and it hits the triple that’s a good thing. If you’re trip hunting and you’re not getting them you’re not going to score very well. And of course if you hit inside the double you only get one. Unless you quit or pass out (I’ve seen it happen!), you get 27 darts every game and the average comes from the score from your twenty seven darts. There may be a mental advantage to going first or last because some like to know what they need to make so there might be an advantage to taking the hammer. We shoot cork at tournaments to get choice of going first or second. Sometimes going first isn’t a bad deal either because you get to put pressure on. But both competitors get twenty seven darts so it’s not like playing 501 where going first is a clear (at least three darts) advantage.

The A.B.D.A. is trying to attract more leagues to participate. We talked about geography, where the game is played. We found the Lehigh Valley area turns out to be a good location to hold our national tournament (run by Keith Bauer) because it doesn’t cause too much travel but we haven’t attracted players from Maryland, because I think they just don’t want to come up to PA. They don’t come up here and we don’t go down there. If we could get a Qualifier Tournament in MD it would add something to our National Finals. A team could say that because they won their division they got their way paid into the A.B.D.A. National tournament. That might give them extra incentive to come up and compete.

There are generally five players on a team although I’ve seen as many as six and as few as three or four. That’s where the A.B.D.A. comes in. If you start looking at team averages in the newspaper and see really high ones you may find there are six players (instead of five) on a team and that’s misleading.

I have some old records. A few years back we were trying to determine who was the oldest American Dart League and the Delco Dart League claims they are the oldest and I was not able to disprove that. The Bux-Mont Dart League and Delco Dart League both started around the same time but they have records that show they started in 1948 or 1949 and we don’t.

We have a “Wall of Fame” that was started with the PA State Tourament and is named after it’s founder Michael “Shakes” Lozniak. It’s an open tournament, any three players can get together and enter it, only a handful of them have a snow ball’s chance in hell of winning it. And we all know that. Now how may other competitions are there where you can compete with the very best, side by side, you know for a couple of bucks. You go to test yourself.

The center of our cork is 63″ from the floor. The line, now you get to where we’re trying to standardize from league to league. The standard was set about 35 years ago by the PA State Dart Tournament and we picked up up on what States uses – seven feet three inches from the FACE OF THE BOARD – NOT from the wall. Not all walls are straight or floors level. So we decided we could also use the hypotenuse from the cork more accurately and conveniently. It’s actually one hundred seven and a half inches and there is the line. Some may have a seven foot line, I’ve even heard of a six foot nine line. That’s what divided up the Delco league. We toe this line. The oche is a toe board. We have a curved toe line, and why I’ve no idea but we’ve been doing it that way for years. It’s based off the cork and we only shoot the cork to see who starts the game. You will find straight lines in some places.

The A.B.D.A. is a hobby for me. I manufacture radio frequency identification devices that people with dementia wear to help keep track of them and keep them in a safe area. Darts is a labor of love for me. I take care of the A.B.D.A. website.

Author: bob

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