Credit: Ameer Basheer via Unsplash

The Rise of Darts

By Aaron Purba

The popularity of darts has been on a rapid rise. But just why is it that this traditional pub sport is attracting the masses?

It’s undoubtedly been on the screens of sports fans for a fair while now. Darts, often hailed as the ultimate pub game, has transcended its humble origins to become a globally celebrated sport. Whether it be the World Championships in London, the Premier League in Belfast, Rotterdam or Manchester, or even in Glasgow, darts seamlessly attracts millions to what is essentially a person throwing a small projectile at a round circle. So the key question is, why? What about this sport at a competitive level makes it so enthralling?

Firstly, darts has a certain accessibility aspect to it. Almost anyone is able to pick up a dart and throw it at a board. In comparison to other sports, such as tennis, football or rugby, these all require a fitness aspect or some kind of athleticism. Although darts requires many skills, it does not require the elite levels of fitness that many other sports do. Instead, precision, a steady-hand and profound mental strength are required. Furthermore, this accessibility allows for relatability. Because of the fact that almost anyone can throw a dart at a board, anyone who throws one and tries to hit a score like 180 will understand how hard it is. This therefore allows anyone to watch on in awe, as they know just how hard it is to hit the scores that the professional competitors hit regularly.

Secondly, the culture around darts goes hand in hand with the countries its major competitions visit. The Premier League passes through cities in Ireland, the UK and Germany, all of which are places that are well known to be partial to a drink. Fitting for the ultimate pub sport. However, the culture around darts goes much further than just alcohol consumption. It is often essentially a requirement for anyone attending the darts to wear a costume of some sorts. It is one of the only occasions where you would feel out of place not dressed in a minion outfit. On top of this, there are the chants. ‘Stand up, if you love the darts,’ commonly rang around Glasgow’s OVO Hydro last month, as did some slightly more offensive and adult-humoured ones. The combination of the alcohol, the costumes, and the chants, all inside a packed venue, whilst getting to watch professionals hit darts – that you merely dream about hitting yourself – makes darts a sensational experience and one which appeals to a large variety of the population.

A final thing that attracts people to the darts is the variety of ages present across the competitors. Of the eight professionals who are currently on the Premier League tour right now, their ages range between Peter Wright (53) to Luke Littler (17). Instantly, the two of these competitors alone attract completely different audiences; Wright attracting the more traditional darts fans, perhaps some of the older generation, and Littler who brings it into the eye of the youth. A huge variety of people come together to watch this sport, thanks in part to the diversity of age groups of the competitors. Additionally, with these vastly different ages of competitors brings eight very different looking athletes than the stereotypical darts player. Darts proves to us that athletes can also be of a different build, weight, or physicality and still compete all the same. Its not often we see athletes being old, bald, white men, but their skill and precision certainly warrants their position in the finest eight players that the world has to offer.


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