- Being proactive. Some people feel that their efforts are being frustrated by the lack of urgency from Uganda Darts Association or a public rendered ignorant by media that will not attend to anything outside the beautiful game of soccer
A glance through the archives of our sport websites doesn’t reveal much about the game of darts in Uganda.
I would not take this lack of headlines as a measure of appeal though. Because behind the banners, and in the sprouting clubs and their patrons, darts is taking purposeful strides forward.
This is also what I feel when I join in for a game at Regents Park, an old-school-chum pub situated on the road to Kyanja.
The game here is neither a drunkards’ pursuit for activity that requires minimal physical and financial effort, nor a pastime for pensioners. These are middle class types with a desire to play darts and do it properly.
Don’t get me wrong. No one is abandoning their day job for a professional career in darts.
It is clear the game won’t pay for any more than a beers’ worth in a friendly bet. But the quest to get better has bred a contagious competitiveness that spreads beyond, and into neighbouring clubs.
Level of interest
The net effect of this level of interest must be the growth of the game beyond members clubs and I hope into schools as the game should create its own feeder pool. There is no better publicity than that, for this or any game. Which begs the question, why isn’t this happening already?
The answer to that I believe lies in the mistaken assumption that a game’s profile-raising must come from the media as opposed to its ability to reach out and create a market.
It might feel like the chicken and egg situation – publicity raising the profile of the game which in turn attracts more publicity. Nonetheless, I am convinced the more practical approach in the race for minds – for that is what publicity is about, would be for the game to rely on its own mechanisms.
Darts must start to shade its traditional skin as a pub-centered pass time and cloak itself in new ways that endear it to young people, who as its future must be made to feel darts is a career option.
Some of the people I talk to feel that they are already travelling down this road, but that their efforts are being frustrated by the lack of urgency from Uganda Darts Association (UDA) or a public rendered ignorant by media that will not attend to anything outside football. I beg to differ. Darts could make front pages for weeks and it still wouldn’t be a career choice for the young boys playing football on the dirt pitches in the shanty town that lies a stones’ throw away from Regents park. Not yet at least.
For those boys to look up and notice, the game must take the outlook that it is a game in which adults try to throw mini-arrows in a straight line after a drink and flip it into one whose champions are on $400,000 (Shs1.4b) in prize money. In this race for minds, I bet those young boys would be more willing to learn how to throw than read a paper. It’s a matter of effectiveness people.