The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

June 18, 2014

DARTS — A BRIEF HISTORY

Early beginnings

The popular belief is that darts was created as a result of the boredom of being a warrior in medieval times.

During downtime between battles, soldiers would challenge each other to games of throwing short spears at a thin slice of a felled tree.

The age rings in the wood and the cracks that developed from drying created a simple likeness of a modern dart board comprised of multiple lines and many different scoring areas. The game became quite popular in the middle ages as it was used to keep soldiers’ throwing arms in practice.

A game for everyone

The sport of darts eventually became more widespread and even noblemen would be known to shoot a round from time to time.

In fact, history shows that England’s King Henry VIII was given a set of darts as a gift. The game as we know it was in jeopardy of being changed over the years.

People tried many different variations such as using a blowpipe to direct the dart.

Some Scandinavians still play a version of darts by throwing foot long small spears from several yards away.

Almost never was

As it grew in popularity, the game of darts has defeated multiple attempts to have it banned.

Many people believed that darts was a game of chance and not a game of skill, so it had to be settled in a courtroom in 1908.

The game was banned in Scotland as a corrupt influence but the public outcry made it short-lived.

Millions play today

Today, the sport is most popular in Britain, where there are millions of players and thousands of registered clubs, however it’s quickly becoming an international pastime.

The game is popular in the Netherlands, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. In the U.S. hundreds of thousands of dartboards are sold every year and millions of Americans play darts every week.

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