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     I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was

    General Dart Topicstaechon writes "I love the game of darts. I play for the competition. I practice hard and I want to get better. I want to play the best in the world. I want to beat them. By these standards, I am not your average recreational player. I have a bit more time and personal involvement invested in my own progress and therefore a bit more emotional attachment to the games I play. So isn’t it reasonable that I might show a little bit of extra emotional disappointment at a loss? And wouldn’t it be even more reasonable if the game were a soft tip match in which an opponent entered as a level 10 player and then shot like a 17?

    If you have not yet figured it out, I hate handicapping systems. If you think you are an, ‘A’ level player, step up to the plate and prove it. If not, you really don’t belong on the same board as me. That is not arrogance and it is complete arrogance for anyone to call it that. I’ve put in my practice time and paid my dues. Until you have done the same and can play me as an equal, you just don’t belong. Winning with a handicap is no win at all. So, you can see how I might be a bit upset at a player who professed to be a level 10, received a 120-point advantage in 501 and a 7-mark advantage in cricket and then proceeded to shoot like a demon (scoring a 130 average in 501 and a 4.7 average in cricket). I know a sandbagger when I see one. Or so I thought!

    If you have not yet figured it out, I lost those two games and that put me out of the tournament. And while the games were fairly close, I still felt cheated. Everyone knows that Sandbagging is a part of soft tip darts but little has ever been done to address it.

    There in nothing more frustrating than these people who shoot below their actual level so that they can get handicap points at a tournament and have a better chance at winning? The excuse that, “everyone does it,” just doesn’t fly. Plain and simple, it’s poor sportsmanship and downright cheating!

    So when the guy extended his hand at the end of the match, I knew I had to shake it. I pride myself on being a good sport regardless of what happens at the oche. But to my surprise, I was not shocked and even felt a little justified when the words, “You’re a level ‘10’ my butt,” slipped easily from my mouth.

    The guy smiled back at me and said, “They will probably raise my level for the next tournament.” “A lot of fricking good that does me,” I thought to myself. I’m sure the word “sandbagger” went through my mind. I’m know I felt like doing a lot more complaining, and I did, to some of those closest to me. “One reason to hate playing soft tip is all the sandbagging that on.” You may have guessed that I was not in the best of moods.

    Well, a friend of mine, an excellent dart player, was next in line to meet this sandbagging low-life. I remember telling my friend, “I’ll share a taxi with you after the match.”

    The names were called for the board and the game was on. My friend was in form and rarely missed a shot. The sandbagging low-life threw darts exactly like someone who was a level ‘10’ should have thrown them. In two legs of 501, he missed the bull entirely. His darts regularly missed the triples in the game of cricket. I suddenly realized that the only low-life jerk at the tournament today was me. My presuppositions had caused me to jump to the wrong conclusion without any real evidence to back it up. Amends were in order.

    I found the low-life s***** after the game and politely commented, “Sorry to see you lose, you really shot well against me.” And of course he replied, “I told you I was a 10.” “Yea, well, sorry about that.” I humbled myself, “I’ve been struggling all day with my own darts and just feeling frustrated. You really did shoot a hell of a game against me.” The guy went on to explain how much he practices and how he really wants to be a higher-level player. Yea, I felt like a real ‘idiot.’ (This is a public forum and I can’t use stronger language, though I would if I could.)

    We talked for a while and in the end got to know one another a bit better. He was a nice guy and genuinely motivated to do better in the sport of darts. After our talk, I found those people I had complained to, all but one, and told them I was wrong, the guy had just had a really good game against me. He really was a level ‘10’ player. Finally, I realized something important about myself, “I was not the loser I thought I was.”

    Sportsmanship is a great tradition. It means handling both victory and loss with grace, style and dignity. It means playing fair, following the rules, respecting the judgments of those in charge, and treating opponents with respect. One might say that good sportsmanship is the ‘golden rule of sports.’ More to the point, we should treat those we play against, as we would wish to be treated ourselves, win or lose. Sportsmanship is an attitude of style and grace that has a positive affect on the sports we play.

    In the end, I have not changed my opinion about the problems inherent in the soft-tip darts handicapping systems. Anyone with a grain of intelligence knows they are a problem. Those are my opinions and I am entitled to them. Soft tip needs to organize players into ‘Masters, A, B, C, etc., and allow players of the same level to battle it out. I really believe that these are the changes that will bring respect that is currently lacking to the sport of soft tip darts. Furthermore, I strongly encourage open level play where participants can play against one another without handicaps. Isn’t that what a real sport is all about? While I am of the very strong opinion that it is, I have recently added an addendum to my opinions and it goes something like this.

    “All that stuff needs to be left in the dart case before I step up to the oche.” While I hold all the above to be true, the oche is not the place to express it. The tournament itself is not the place to express it. In the future, I hope to be the looser I think I am. I will strive to lose my games with style, grace, respect for my opponents, and in the spirit of good sportsmanship. Lesson learned!


    "I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was" | Login/Create an Account | 14 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by 313 on Thursday, November 29 @ 06:55:57 UTC
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    That was beautifully written and sensible advice for us all. Hats off. also, along with some other things I've read about soft tip handicapping in here, made me very glad this system isn't in use here in Norway.

    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by BlackHorse on Thursday, November 29 @ 10:29:38 UTC
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    Great story, Tae. It's terrific that you shared all that went through your mind, before, during and after. Well written, humbly yet from strength.

    Cool lesson which I hope will be taken to heart by all who play, not just soft tippers.

    Great article.

    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by petro on Friday, November 30 @ 06:43:52 UTC
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    Well put together. I am always struggling NOT to let my emotions get the best of me. Nowadays I bite my tongue a lot but still have a ways to go to match your attitude on the oche. I will admit I do admire your normal domineer while playing. You rarely give hint to your feelings whether you are playing well or not quite up to your caliber. You always seem to be friendly to all of those you play. In that I break one of those deadly sins and envy your attitude. You put a lot of time into this game and know you are a great player but you don't let that knowledge negatively reflect on others. I on the other hand seem to wear more of my emotion on my sleeve and come across more brash at times which I do believe turns some players off to my style. Again I tip my hat to you sir ( the next part don't tell anyone around these parts) but I actually do try to emulate parts of "your" game. Keep up the great work and I look forward to shooting against you again.

    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by dsm1mtm on Friday, November 30 @ 16:55:04 UTC
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    Great story Tae! I had something similar happen to me when I first started playing, except I was on the opposite end of you. To your credit at least you had the class to reapproach the guy and apologize, I wan't that fortunate. It is a great lesson for anyone!!


    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by SeaHag on Monday, December 03 @ 13:05:02 UTC
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    WOW...I haven't been around for a while, but I see you are still writing truly insightful stuff. Great observations.


    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by Boddington_Paul on Tuesday, December 04 @ 11:20:04 UTC
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    I still have to ask: How do you Sandbag? Not that I want to do it because I don't like LDD's. but if you go to a tournament for the first time I am sure you get a ranking (that much I know because you have to play at the vendors games constantly to get a ranking if not you get a high ranking.) Now if you play your heart out everytime you use those damn machines (like I know me and every decent darter and dartette would do) How can you get a low ranking if you are really a high ranker? I might have asked this before but I just don't get it! Maybe cause I see this sport to be a sport of honor and I would not cheat anybody out of a win or a loss.

    So can anyone explain to me (like a 4 year old) How does that actually happen?

    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by Taechon on Tuesday, December 04 @ 12:53:20 UTC
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    Here is one way. Some guy named Whitehead, who was a very good player (and I may have the name wrong) Threw for a season on a mixed triples team with his wife and partner to be. They were so far above the rest of the players that they dinked around all season to lower their averages to a level that qualified them to play with one another.

    Here is another way. Three good players join a team and rank themselves as seven, ten and 11. They have a team spree of 31, which they must maintain throughout the entire season. If they go over the spree, their team will be disqualified. During league play, the captain watches the sprees and when there is a significant lead, darts are intentionally throw to miss targets so as to lower the averages of the team members and stay within the spree.

    The real problem with soft tip is that players do not "throw their hearts out." That is just not the way you win at this game.

    Seoul Korea, Dec. 1 and 2 at the Walker Hill, Hotel and Casino. The winning team for mixed doubles was two Korean guys. One had entered as an 11 and the other as a 5. Together they were a 16 and I think the cap for the event was 21. I was a 17 and had to throw with a 4, and I think I was maxed out.

    The guy ranked 5, averaged level 12 for the entire tournament with some games hitting 15. The guy ranked 11 threw 15. They won.

    Log into any chat room that discusses tournament results for soft tip and you will always find upset players and accusations of sandbagging. It has been a serious problem since the conception of the game. Do just a bit of research and you will find that not only is this true, but that the vendors do nothing at all to stop it. They are more interested in the coin drop than the sport.

    All one needs to do to see the problem is look. It's great that you approach the game with honesty. If there were more players like you, soft tip would have a much better reputation.


    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by boogymann06 on Sunday, March 02 @ 17:13:57 UTC
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    sandbagging is easily explained you purposely shoot crappy to lower your rateing and get your handicap then you shoot your nomal level in the tourney


    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by DougM on Thursday, December 06 @ 08:50:04 UTC
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    Well, I am glad I read the entire article because at first I was going to say you where wrong. I am glad you figured it out for yourself.

    People can be ON one moment and not another.

    I don't play soft tip and I donot agree with handicapping in anything. Even golf lol

    Have a goo done


    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by jcneb on Friday, December 07 @ 23:18:28 UTC
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    Handicapping is why I play NDA rather than Medalist. No handicapping, just leveled by league stats, and you must play at least 96 league games to be eligible for the championships in Vegas. The only complaint I have is that they treat '01 averages the same whether you play in an OI/OO or a DI/DO league. Plus once you have played in Vegas, they take the higher average, what you shot last year out there, or this year in your league.

    Good luck and good darts!

    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by SLEEPYKRAMER on Sunday, December 09 @ 01:20:00 UTC
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    Open mouth....insert's them shoes tastin' anyway??? ;-) Just kidding! It takes a great person to not only recognize their mistake, but actually make an effort to own up to it and correct it. Very cool, Karl....very cool....we all can wish that all the players of today had such class.

    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by millertime on Wednesday, January 30 @ 20:35:12 UTC
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    hey Tae,

    totally agree about the sandbagging and the fact that lower rated player can ovver the course of game or two raise their skill level .... you will remember Medalist Bangkok where anyone ending up 3 points higher (on the day) than they registered would be busted and not allowed to take the top prize.

    this helps.... at least a little bit...

    BTW... did not see u at the Macau Bullshooter 4.... where were were u ?

    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by boogymann06 on Sunday, March 02 @ 17:09:29 UTC
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    my partner and i just started playing in tourneys in washington state, i had not played in 10 years when i came back to it i came in at a 2 on adoi and medalist rateings as did my partner, we played a team that was rated a 12 and they accused us of sand bagging after the first round even though they took a 9 dart in 501 then in cricket the first 2 rounds both shot a white horse and a hat trick even with our handicap we didnt stand a chance but like i said before we were the ones sand bagging

    Re: I’m Not The Loser I Thought I Was (Score: 1)
    by Erik on Wednesday, March 15 @ 09:41:01 UTC
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    How's it going now?  Where in WA?


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