For years on end fans and members of the media have debated amongst themselves when it comes to one specific issue – is darts a real sport? There’s a lot of good points on both sides of the coin, but we’re here to try and prove either theory one way or another beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Firstly, you need to address the 400-ton elephant in the room: the physique of some of the players. Now we aren’t saying that you need to be in impeccable shape to compete in any form of organised sport, because we’ve all seen Jon Parkin play football. Aside from this, a pre-match ritual of a pint and a pie wouldn’t exactly be considered a ‘top athlete’s’ diet.
Darts players have more leniency when it comes to these kind of things because they don’t really have to do much beyond pulling their arm back and thrusting it forward. There’s a lot of precision involved, of course, but when you’re 56 years of age like Phil Taylor and you can still perform at the highest level then something needs to be questioned.
Another obvious view point is that if you can play something within a pub environment then it shouldn’t be considered a sporting event, and for the most part, we tend to agree. Obviously these guys and girls do travel to various locations in order to hone their craft, but if you’re able to sit on the sofa and watch Bargain Hunt on a Friday afternoon as opposed to training then you can’t be put in the same category as other ‘elite’ competitors.
The existence of the World Darts Federation raises a flag in favour of it being considered a sport, but the same thing could be said of something like the recently created footgolf. That itself has more of a claim towards qualifying for such status because there’s more technique involved in the delivery.
It’s not like there has to be a ball involved for darts to qualify, as hockey has evidenced, but it makes a mockery of those men and women out there who dedicated their lives to representing their country at the highest level. They get up at 5am every single morning and go to bed at midnight, all in search of achieving their lifelong dream.
Plus, there’s absolutely no chance on this planet that the Olympic Games would go anywhere near darts and that’s about as good of an indication as you can get. If they were to be seriously considered at some stage then there may be a viable argument involved, but they don’t fit the criteria in any kind of way.
The popularity of darts is confined within certain regions of the world and that may tell you all that you need to know. Sure it makes for a good social event to start the weekend, but you don’t go in search of finding out who is the better man – you go in search of being shown on television and cheering whenever there’s a 180.
Maybe one day the tide will turn, but for now there’s no where near enough evidence to suggest that darts belongs in the same category as football, tennis, rugby, baseball and the rest.
Verdict? Not a sport.