Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Darts is Fashionable

According to Jane Fryer in today's Daily Mail it is, anyway.

I guess if you define a sport as fashionable by whether or not celebrities go to watch it then it would be difficult to disagree with that, at least on recent evidence. Whether or not that will last, who knows?

Personally, I hope it will. Some fans may dislike the presence of people who are only there because it's a fashionable thing to do, rather than genuinely caring about the sport, and I can understand that point of view; it makes me feel slightly uneasy. That, however, comes with the territory as darts becomes a bigger, more popular and higher profile sport, and goes beyond a relatively (relative to, say, football) tight-knit group of supporters.

Celebrities mean profile these days, and a higher profile means more money, more tournaments and more players. Personally I dislike celebrity culture enormously; I find it hard to believe that anyone with at least one functioning brain cell would select an interest on the basis that Jordan likes it, but sadly many people do and not only are such people allowed out without supervision but they also have money to spend. Matt Cardle and Kerry Katona are living proof that even celebrities so vacuuous they threaten to tear the Universe asunder can make seemingly ordinary, sensible people do things they might not otherwise have done. However, that's just my opinion and it is only one of many.

If more people are enjoying darts, and some of them happen to be celebrities who can attract more coverage and more ticket sales, then good luck to them I say, whatever reasons they may be buying the tickets for, and long may this trend continue. There's no such thing as a "proper" or "real" fan of a sport in my book - we all have differing levels of interest in different things, and differing levels of knowledge of the same - and sports should be open to anyone.

I only have one concern. It's a very small one now, but I think it will become more important as the years go by, if current trends continue. If darts does start becoming popular with celebrities - be they real ones like Stephen Fry and Andrew Flintoff or pointless Z-list organ banks like the cast of I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here - great, but I would not like to see a proliferation of things such as VIP Areas, Boxes and separate provision for celebrity patrons. A great aspect of darts is that it's open and unpretentious; all fans are equal, and it should stay that way.

Darts needs to make sure it retains its down-to-earth, open and accessible nature as it gets bigger, richer and more popular - that's one of the things that attracts many of us to it; as long as it does that, then let the celebrities (and Matt Cardle) keep rolling in.

I may not be able to figure out how anyone who hasn't had a full frontal lobotomy can be interested in anything Kerry Katona, Jordan and suchlike have ever done, are currently doing or will ever do, but hey - darts is a free sport, and let's keep it that way :o)

PS - there's one thing I'll miss if darts becomes fashionable; the non-conformist in me secretly quite likes the incredulous response you get when some people ask if you play or watch sport and you say 'darts' - "Da-arts?!?". I bet I'm not the only darts fan who secretly enjoys that :o)

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