Archive for the ‘Darts’ Category

In the latest of my reviews of sporting media coverage, I have turned to the world of darts.

In particular, the man falling under the glare is Sid Waddell and his style of commentary over the exaggerated pub game.

And there will be nothing but praise on my part for the man that has transformed the game of darts from a way to idly spend hours in a public house, to an arena sport, given massive coverage by massive broadcasters like Sky Sports.

Obviously Barry Hearn has to take some credit for this transformation, as he was the man to take darts from dingy little clubs to the arena and turn it into a party atmosphere.

However, he tried the same with snooker. And Premier League Snooker has yet to really take off, with publicity minimal and general interest still failing to generate on a big scale.

Darts has taken off because it has been backed up with the wild, whooping man on the microphone, Sid Waddell.

There were reasons Sky sought him out after securing the rights to Hearn’s brainchild and that is because he has the most infectious style of describing the action.

His analogies will sometimes border on the ridiculous and his words will occasionally be garbled by his own hollering, but this is what makes his style so unique.

It might only be in darts where one can get away with this as well. It is a sport which needs some livening up, as without the madman on the mic, it is simply a case of throwing pointed sticks at a target.

It is easy to simplify any sport to form a derogatory opinion, but darts would simply not be the same without Waddell.

A Cambridge graduate, Waddell brings not only passion to the sport, but a fantastic knowledge of the history he studied. It’s the air of sophistication he brings despite the madness that makes him so appealing to everyone.

He has made darts accessible and acceptable to everyone. Those that looked down on darts as a game for the working classes are being drawn in by the intellectualism he brings to the oche, whilst he brings a level of energy and enthusiasm which is hard to resist.

Few commentators possess so many memorable quotes without being relegated to the role of ‘Colemanballs’ or commentary faux pas’ for those unfamiliar with this form of jargon.

But Waddell’s interweaving of historical stories into his observations on the sport make for fascinating listening, even if the matchplay itself is not to your interests.

Many commentators will be remembered as great, but few will gain the title of ‘voice of the sport’. Sid Waddell is to darts what the Pope is to the Catholic Church.

Few men will define a sport like Waddell has. He has done so as much, if not more as Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor has. That darts would not have the same widespread appeal without him only speaks volumes for the man.

Waddell is as much of a salesman as he is a commentator. I can only have praise for a man that has made an entire sport his own.