Darts has certainly evolved over the past couple of decades. The split between the BDO and PDC has seen the two organisations take different paths, in more ways than one. In the PDC, we’re used to big money, glitz, boisterous crowds and eccentric outfits, from players and fans alike. BDO supporters often pride themselves on providing the “best of order” for the competitors, and enjoying the contest, rather than the spectacle.
Striking the balance between atmosphere and etiquette isn’t always easy. Take this year’s PDC World Championship semi-final between Michael van Gerwen and Rob Cross. Although undoubtedly one of the most thrilling matches in recent memory, one couldn’t help but feel slightly frustrated by the hostile whistles MVG received as he threw for a double.
With big-time darts selling out arenas throughout Europe on a weekly basis, is it reasonable to expect silence as a player throws? Would the players rather a return to the “good old days”? Presumably not if the prize money returned as well.
There were also moments in this year’s edition of BDO World Champs, where the best of order was not maintained. Could this just be attributed to modern culture? Does it matter? Who’s to say? One thing is for sure; the eerie silence of the crowd-less PDC UK Open reminds us of the value of a vibrant audience. The tournament has seen a resurgence and reemergence of some former household names. However, “The Asset” and “Darth Maple” (amongst others) would probably have rathered be seen by a few more, than just those, literally in their households.
There is a certain joy in moments of silent tension, and a convincing argument that they should be preserved. We do, however, need to remember that darts has come a long way, and that is certainly a good thing.