According to the American Darts Organization, more than 17 million Americans play darts. It is a sport that is not only competitive and fun, but also sociable. Darts is the ultimate indoor game that can be played both in your living room and down at the bar with friends. The sport, which originated in England, has been extremely popular in the UK for over fifty years. There are major televised leagues and competitions that attract big names and big money. It is only in the last twenty years, however, that we are starting to see a rise in the popularity of darts in America.
A sport for everyone
One of the reasons that darts has begun to flourish so well in America, is that it is an inclusive sport. You don’t have to be a world class athlete to be able to compete; you just need a little dedication. You may have noticed from watching darts, that even in the world-class professional leagues, the players are all ages, shapes and sizes. They are still dedicated to being in good physical condition for playing though. Like all sports, if you want to play, it is important to warm up well first – repetitive movements in darts can cause injury, such as tennis elbow. But if you follow a good practice regime, your playing will benefit. Darts is also a sport that can be played at any age – you are certainly not considered past your best at 40, unlike other sports such as soccer.
The big leagues
Darts has definitely been moving out of the pubs and bars in America, and there are now some big leagues and competitions that are attracting a new generation of players. The American Darts Organization was founded in 1976, and there are now 250 clubs and over 50,000 members. They sanction thousands of tournaments every year, offering substantial prize money. Both amateurs and professionals can also enter the US Darts Masters and the World Series of Darts, gaining a reputation and following across the country – all they have to do is qualify. These events are televised all over the world.
One of the reasons that darts has become so popular is that it is a sport with some big personalities. Many of the professional darts players are not only outstanding at their sport, but they are also showmen. Darts isn’t just about getting that 180 score – it’s about doing it in style. The spectators at the competition aren’t just there to watch a thrilling darts match; they’re there to shout, encourage, and sometimes even boo, but ultimately, they’re there to have a good time. There is a real sense of theater, pantomime and camaraderie about it all. But unlike some sports, there is no sense of anger or aggression if their favorite player doesn’t win – darts is all about the taking part.
You only need two people to have a game of darts. This simple sport can be played by anyone, no matter what age. It’s no wonder that it has begun to take America by storm.