Wednesday, November 16, 2005

WRITE UP FOR WEEK #8: BATTLE OF THE WEST SIDE

7:29 PM, November 15.

Autumn in New York. People write songs about it. Make movies with Cary Grant holding some dame's hand as they stroll through Central Park and look at the pretty colors. But this was no Hollywood picture. This was dart night on the gritty, gutty Upper West Side, somewhere between West Hell and Heartbreak Avenue. Nobody writes a happy ending for you up here. You take what you can get.

Pike leaned back against the wall outside of George Keeley, and took a slow drag off his Parliament. He kicked restlessly at the broken pavement, "It's quiet in there."

"Too quiet," said Vince.

"That'll change soon enough", said Pike. Vince, nodded his silent agreement, reached into his pocket and fished out a tin of Kodiac. "What you packin' tonight?"

"Widows. 23. " Vince turned and spat on the cracked sidewalk, "Fixed point."

The wind rushed through the thinning trees and carried the sound of a dog barking somewhere in the distance. The November wind on Amsterdam Avenue sends a chill right through you, makes you turn your collar up and your head down. But not tonight.

"It's hot out here".

Vince nodded. "Too hot."

The Dartbags (Drinkin'est and Friendliest Team in the NYDO - TM) were taking on the Gaf West gang; Hell's Kitchen boys. Usually they didn't wander this far north. They knew their place. But tonight the West Gaffers were on Dartbag turf. That meant one thing: trouble. Pike looked up at the full moon. Could be one of those nights, he thought. He took one last drag off the Parliament and crushed it out on the asphalt, "No matter how it goes down in there... I got your back".

Vince said nothing. He didn't need to. He just spat one last time out on the street. The two men looked across the street in silence. Then Vince put out one fist,

"Let's do this thing." Pike met the fist with his own. And with that they turned and entered the bar...

CAPTAIN'S LOG: DART DATE: 11-17-05

After a disappointing loss, an absolute drubbing and two weeks off, the 'Bags were ready to play some darts. They would take on the West Gaf in a battle for supremacy on Manhattan's West Side.

The 'Bags sent IYH Pike up first to face off against Rob. Pike got out of the gate a little slowly before turning on the jets in game two to get the good guys on the board. 1-1

Frank squared off againt Brian and dropped a pair of close ones. The son of a gun just wouldn't miss an out. 1-3

Lou shot well in his set, but likewise dropped a pair, this time to Pat. It was another Claustrophobic match... no windows, and for a moment that sinking feeling returned to GK. 1-5

Vince tangled with the newly acquired Omer in a couple of humdingers. Excellent darts by both and after dropping the first one, 'Cenzo pulled out the second to stop the bleeding. 2-6

We really needed someone to step up. Cup answered the bell. Some fancy shooting (and strange all stars; 116? 132? How do you even get those?) led Cup to a much needed sweep over Tom and the 'Bags almost had their head above water. 4-6

RJ faced off against Dave and couldn't get it going. He dropped the first. The never satisfied one was already unhappy. The delight his opponent took in defeating him did nothing to improve his disposition.

Frank: "There's no way he's gonna let himself lose this one now"

Pike: "Yep".

So, drinking deep from his cup of bitterness and self-loathing, RJ redoubled his efforts and after some suspense, operated on the XX to end singles on a good note. 5-7.

Cuppa Lou started the 'Bags off in cricket against the Irishmen, Walsh and Malone. It only took a couple of bad rounds to create the difference. The Gaffers created the coveted "Snowdem Poll" on the scoreboard (circles all the way down) and walked away with a pair. 5-9

In a bit of a shake up the 'Bags decided to pool some of their firepower and put Pike and Vince ("The Big Dipper") together as a team. It worked. Darts ranged from nasty to sick -- 3 every time -- and the GlennVincent got two off Rob and Omer. 7-9

Frank and RJ took on Tom and Dave in the last set. The good guys dropped the first when they couldn't drive the nail into the coffin. In the second late heroics from Frank (2 C-3s) and RJ (who should change his name from RJ to R7) were not enough to overcome a slow start. And when Dave C-3'ed it to snactch the win, the bad guys had taken two more. 7-11

7-11. Good convenience store. Bad dart score. The 'Bags had to turn it up a notch if they wanted to walk away with a good result.

Frank, still fuming from cricket teamed up with Marty to renew hostilities with Tom and Dave. The first one was a close affair that featured a Ton-21 from Farticus. Not enough. In the second match, FrankenFart again went in right away, a ton by the capt. and 3 60+ rounds by Marty provided edge in a nailbiter. Frank took out a double 5 for an 8 Round win. Good darts all around.

Pike teamed with Big Friendly Tim (who played his first darts in over a month) vs Rob and Omer. Despite the layoff, BFT would make his large (and amiable) presence felt. Pike provided the artillery in the first, with a double in, double out and with 237 ASPs.

The second game was the match of the night. It would feature some highlight reel stuff, but it started out like a clunker. The 'Bags forgot how to double in and spotted the Gaffers a lead. Then Tim remembered how and got them in on 32. They had some catching up to do. But Pike hit a Ton-27 and pretty soon the 'Bags were back in it. With the Gaffers holding a 40 pt lead on 141, Omer stepped up. First dart, T-20. Second dart, T-15... holy sh*t... Third dart... just high on the double 18. The whole bar let out a collective "OOOOOHH!!". Almost a huge out. Pike answered with a solid 83 to quietly put Tim on 92 (Captain's Note: At the risk of foreshadowing... this is why you HAVE to pay attention to giving your partner good leaves). Rob stepped up and the the Bags dodged a bullet when he wired the Double 18. Then Tim stepped up. Remembering his riflery training, he did his patented "one eyed sniper squint". Zzzzzzzip. Trip 20. Next dart... squint... pump.... fire.... DOUBLE 16!

And a might roar went up from the crowd! Glasses were raised! (Manly) hugs exchanged! And there was much rejoicing among the Keeley faithful. Great game all around. Great big darts by Tim, taking out 92 with a dart in his hand. And with that it was 10-12.

But back to business. Vince'nCup had their work cut out for them. The deadly Walsh-Malone combo had been rolling all night. 8 and O between the two of them. The 'Bags got out of the gate slowly. Suicide against guys like this. Vince's heroic 102-On and Ton-40 were not enough. The 'Bags got within seeing distance before the bad guys took it out. (Walsh-Malone... 10 and 0). But in the second game the 'Bags hung in there and when Cup took out X, the 'Bags took one more point to make it a respectable, if disappointing, 11-13 finish.

I know 12-12 sounds a lot better than 11-13. But in my book 11-13 sounds a hell of a lot better than 10-14. When it's 10-14, not even a field goal helps you out. 11-13 is a near even contest. Great dart night all around. All 'Bags were present except the enigmatic Microwave, Colin O'Donnell who had his Bi-Annual Meeting of the Free-Masons to attend in their underground temple deep beneath Grand Central Station. (I'm not kidding. The Society of Masons exist And their presence in this city is all to real, holding positions of power at every conceivable level of goverment and busines... but I fear I've already said too much.)

Thanks to Nell and Hope, The 'Bag Ladies (somehow I don't think that one will catch on) for contributing their good cheer as well as Emily and Ginz for making the scene. My apologies to those I forgot. This was a great dart night, folks. The Gaffers were as nice a bunch of guys as you could hope to meet. We played some pretty good darts and all players contributed. And perhaps most importantly, we set a record Bar Tab for the year, pushing 4 Bills. (Which reminds me... if anyone forgot to pay.... talk to Vince/Glenn.) Sure we wanted more wins. And yes, there were times when we were disappointed in our play or simply lost to better darts, but overall this was a what dart night is all about. Good work. Almost forgot... Line of the Night.

Tom Lally, the white-haired gentleman on the other team, commenting on Vince's shooting and presence that evening:

Tom: "He's a really good shot. Right on everything (pause).... not the most approachable guy..."

Indeed he is not, Tom, God love him.

Megaprops all around but especially to Cup for his needed sweep, Pike for his studly darts, Vince for his nasty darts, and Tim for his heroics.

All Star Round Up.

Pike: 656
Vince: 467
Cup: 388
Frank: 340
RJ: 240
Lou: 198
Marty: 121
Tim; (honorary 92)

Next week at O'Hanlon's. Remember those guys? See you then.

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