Thursday, 2 June 2011

2011 UK Open

Or rather, the "Speedy Hire" UK Open. At least I have fewer qualms about that than I do the "Cash Converters" World Cup.

I mean honestly - the "Cash Converters" World Cup? Someone should have a word with the PDC Marketing Department, and point out that associating your competition with somewhere you can flog Granny's jewellery to pay the gas bill is hardly likely to evoke sporting glamour.

I don't doubt that Cash Converters provides people with a valuable means of raising cash when in financial difficulty - so please don't sue me; in any case, I'll probably be there myself before long :o) - but that's precisely the point. There's nothing wrong with what they do, but is skint people in trouble really the first thing you want to bring to mind when describing your competition? What next - the "Feeling Down the Back of the Sofa" Masters?


And so we prepare to head for Bolton, that jewel of Lancashire's industrial heartland, and to the Reebok Stadium for the UK Open - if anyone's wondering what Reebok has to do with Bolton, it's because a small shoe company known as J. W. Foster and Sons opened for business there in 1895 before, in a move similar in principle to Royal Mail becoming Consignia (albeit vastly more successful), renaming itself Reebok in the 60s.

I like this competition; it gives us a rare chance to see a much broader range of players on TV, from potential future stars to great names of yesteryear, and it has that frisson of potential giant-killing crackling in the air.

One newcomer getting the chance of a lifetime will be Davey Dodds, a gardener from my neck of the woods (County Durham), who will be squaring up to my girlfriend's favourite James Wade.

It sounds like the Machine has had a heck of a hard time recently - this article in the Currant Bun will give you some idea. I've had Depression, and I've worked with plenty of kids who have ADHD; Depression and ADHD are sometimes treated as jokey non-ilnesses by some people, but they are very real and can be seriously debilitating. Wade was diagnosed with both in the Priory Clinic, and Bi-polar Disorder to boot, shortly before the Premier League kicked off.

Going through with the Premier League after that must have taken real courage; Wade's statement on the PDC Website shows great dignity. These conditions still carry stigma in our society (I used to work for a disability rights group, and we worked hard on these issues), and by being open he's genuinely helping others who have them. I hope he has a great competition :o)

Best of luck to everyone taking part in the UK Open, especially those taking to the big stage for the first time :o)

Beer in the fridge, pizza standing by and darts on the box - ain't life grand? :o)

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