Friday, 13 April 2012
It feels as though somebody has scooped my brain out of my head with a rusty spoon, replaced it with a big iron bell then then started hammering on it while dressed in a suit of armour and bouncing around inside my skull. Yes, I have a hangover.
The reason for this delicate condition is that I went to Sheffield yesterday with a bunch of lads from work to watch Premier League Darts at the Motorpoint Arena.
I've always had a soft spot for darts, a sport which involves overweight men standing still and used to involve a lot of drinking and smoking while they were playing. It's cleaned its image up a bit since the old days and there is a lot more money involved however it is still struggling to be recognised as a genuine sport rather than just a pub game.
If archery and target shooting can be Olympic sports then there is no reason darts can't be recognised as one as well other than it's disreputable, working class image.
Anyway enough class warfare, we had a brilliant day. We went around a few bars in Sheffield city centre during the afternoon then caught a tram to the arena. The matches were being televised live on Sky Sports and I'd never been to one of their events before and I have to say it was noisy and over the top with booming music and lasers everywhere.
The crowd were in good form, singing, shouting and wearing daft costumes. We were wearing the loudest shirts we could get our hands on and were sitting near Spiderman, The Mask and a group of lads dressed as U.S sailors.. Every time an ad break came on everybody jumped up and pumped their arms in the air and sang along with the theme music until our throats were hoarse.
The biggest game of the night was Phil 'The Power' Taylor vs Raymond Van Barneveld, both darting giants. The huge screens showed the intro for Taylor with dazzling fast cuts and close ups of his eyes and booming music, it was like a trailer for a big budget action movie. Then a stunning blonde model with more leg length than was feasible led him onto the stage.
Now Taylor is a dumpy little middle-aged bloke who looks as though he has just come to read the gas meter but his formidable reputation and the big build up had the crowd jumping.
And he didn't disappoint. Van Barneveld is the second best darts player in the world but was bulldozed by Taylor, eventually losing eight legs to three.
He is awesome to watch, there is no doubt in his eyes when he stands at the oche and he has remained consistently brilliant for years, winning the world Championship fourteen times. Achievement on this scale should be recognised more in the sporting world but never mind, we loved it.
Afterwards we met up with a few other people from work that had come down for the event and went back into Sheffield city centre for more drinking and dancing before ending up in a fast food shop on West Street at 01:30 am eating greasy pizza then crashing out at the hotel.
Great night but I'm paying for it now. My eyeballs are throbbing and even my hair hurts.