I used to play in the local dart league with the lovely Belle. I even worked my way up to the top division, but that was long ago. She still plays in the top division. Might be twelve years now.
In the tournaments you play male/female pairs, selected by a blind draw.
My partner last night, was still nursing a hangover at 8pm from the previous night, so she was drinking water. (noooo, it was not Belle)
Now it is a well known fact that at least three containers of aiming fluid, also known as beer, are required to get your mojo going to throw well. It is precisely three, one less or one more and you go out of the zone. (sounds reminiscent of the holy hand grenade). Maintaining just the right serum level of aiming fluid throughout the night becomes a challenge.
Being that my partner was not consuming aiming fluid, and I haven't thrown in a long time, we did not do so well. We were in the losers bracket after our first match, and we were out of the tournament after our first match in the losers bracket.
Nonetheless, we had a good time.
Soft tip dart players are an interesting breed. Everyone gets knuckle bumps when they come off the line, regardless of how well or how poorly they threw. Noobs get encouraged by better throwers, and frequently get coaching if they are receptive to it. Partners offer strategy advice, if you are open to it. Sometimes, competitors offer strategy advice, and actually don't sandbag you.
If you throw a lights out round, your competitors will tell you "good darts", even if it takes them out of the tournament. Occasionally some jackass will get all pissed off at his partner. Those are always the noob dart players that think they are gods gift to darts. They either get a change of heart, or they don't play in the tournaments for long. Arrogant a-holes aren't encouraged to stick around.
There is something about playing competitive darts that transcends daily life as we know it. When you are playing a league match, or a tournament, for a few hours, there is only one race, "dart thrower". Perhaps it is just the character of the people that gravitate to the endeavor. You compete against yourself as much as your opponent. There is no one else to blame if you throw poorly. I guess folks that can not deal with that move on to other things. Those that remain tend to be of good character.
For the remainder of the night, I watched Belle and her partner play until they got taken down. It always makes me smile to watch her walk up to the line and throw a hat trick, three darts in the bullseye. She came back smiling and said she'd probably duff her next attempt. Then she walked up, put two more in the bull and the third just outside of it. That's five darts in a row in the bull.
Sometimes, when she and I throw a round, she let's me win. She's nice that way.