There are many reasons for being a darts fan. The game is easy to understand, easy to play (although very tough to play well), accessible to almost everyone and full of sporting conflict and drama. Darts offers wide-ranging opportunities to all its players, whether social or professional, regardless of their individual differences. In many ways darts is the ultimate game in terms of equality.
From a gender standpoint darts has less reason to separate itself into male/female versions than almost any other sport. There are no physical differences between men and women that create difficulties in competing. In snooker, for example the height of the table and certain physical attributes can be said to disadvantage women. Darts has none of these. A look at Lisa Ashton’s results, on the PDC Challenge Tour, should provide evidence that women can and will compete on an equal basis within a very few years.
From a black and minority ethnic viewpoint the global nature of darts and its popularity with members of all colours and creeds should be obvious. Although much of darts’ UK history is centred in the “white working class” there has long been multi ethnic participation and as the game moves away from it’s “pub game” roots this is likely to expand even further. The recent performances of players such as Devon Peterson and Kyle Anderson should inspire many from differing backgrounds, and cultures, to take up the game. The low initial costs may balance some of the barriers often experienced in sports such as tennis or golf.
Although darts has been viewed as a working class activity this is not fixed and nothing prevents those from differing social backgrounds playing the game either socially or at a higher level. Current players include an economics/business graduate, a lawyer and a policeman. With the high rewards, global nature and improving reputation of the game more participants any snobbery will soon disappear.
The barriers facing those with disabilities are also beginning to be worn down. There are both UK and Worldwide disability darts organisations with a tour beginning to take shape. While many of the societal difficulties, access to venues etc., still exist, the game itself is proving open and popular. The Winmau World WDDA Masters will be held, as well as at least five qualifying events, during 2017.
It will be no surprise if, within a few years, the top 16 includes players from at least three continents, two (or more) genders, multiple ethnicities and all social classes. Not many mass participation sporting activities can lay claim to such diversity and equality.Tags: Column | Darts
Author: Callum Harris