I did something yesterday that I hadn’t done in nearly twelve years.  I participated in a dart tournament.  I had forgotten how much fun this activity was, but it all came back to me quickly.

In my younger days, I had been talked into playing darts by a friend and co-worker.  I had enjoyed it so much that I went out and bought some darts to call my very own.  I’d played enough sports in my life to know that when you have your own “equipment”, your game has a better chance of improving.

For one reason or another, I had stopped playing and proceeded to file away my darts to that secret storage place we all have – the box in the corner of the top shelf in the closet!

A couple of weeks ago, while searching for something else that had been put into storage, I found my old stash of darts, along with a box of replaceable tips.  I took a moment to reflect on the fond memories of my playing days, and then placed them back in the box.

Late last week, while doing my monthly look at Facebook (no, I’m not a big fan), I came across an invitation from an old high school baseball teammate, inviting me to a dart tournament for charity at his bar on Saturday.

It only took a second to put the two events together and realize that I was meant to attend.  My lovely bride of the past quarter century agreed. So I put it in my calendar.

Was I ever glad that I did!  Although I didn’t know any of the seventy contestants, I felt like I was with friends.  Everyone was in good spirits and most seemed to have a good time.  Of course, there are always a handful of players that felt they were in the Super Bowl (just a tad serious!!), but most were like me…there to have a good time for a good cause.

Speaking of which, let me explain a few things about the tournament and where it was located.

The bar, as I have been calling it, is much more than that.  It is called Bullshooters and is owned and operated by my aforementioned former high school baseball teammate Mike Bates.

Mike was a big name back in high school, as he was one of two first team all-state pitchers on our team that won the 1976 AZ state championship, took second place in the southwest region to the team that ultimately won the national championship (Santa Monica, CA), and finished as the number ten team in the country.

Nowadays, he is famous for having the number one pool hall in Phoenix, number one dart location in Phoenix, and is a 2010 inductee to the national Hall of Fame for darts.  Not to mention that Bullshooters recently put up the team of four that won the men’s national title in darts.

The tournament itself was put on by Mike’s friends and family members to raise money for the AZ Humane Society.  On one Saturday afternoon of a bunch of dart players, over a thousand dollars was raised for this cause.  I was proud to have taken part in this, even if it was simply as a player.

At the end of the day, I found that my love of the game of darts had been rekindled and I have already made plans to get back into playing shape.  (You may think I’m kidding, but after warming up for over an hour, then playing a couple of sets, I woke up with a very sore right arm this morning!)  I’m not about to call it a sport just yet, but you are definitely using muscles you may have forgotten you have.

What is really bringing me back for more is the people and the atmosphere.  There I was, a stranger among scores of people.  Yet I was welcomed into the fold, partnered up with someone I had never met before, and was able to compete, laugh, good-naturedly rib my competition, and just have a good time, while raising money for a good cause.

Playing darts at Bullshooters – absolutely a good time for all!!



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