tag 7

Follow up with Benjamin Dersch

In my first blog, I covered the amazing accomplishment of Benjamin Dersch, with his win of the 501 and Cricket Singles at the Las Vegas Open, a feat that had not been done before by any single player. So I decided to delve a little further into Benny’s mind and get some thoughts and feelings from him after learning all of this, gaining the invites to the World Masters over in England, as well as an automatic invite to the qualifier for the Lakeside World Championship, if he does compete at the World Masters.

1. When you won both singles events, how did you feel and what went through your mind about being able to win both that weekend?
How did I feel? Loaded question for sure Anne! To be totally honest, going into the weekend I felt the best I had in a very long time. My expectations were pretty high for myself on the Cricket Singles due to my style of play and the success I had at this same tournament two years ago. As far as the 501 event, I really wasn't sure what was going to happen. Two years ago, I took a top 16 finish losing to Gary Mawson. I scored pretty well, but missed too many doubles. The old saying is for sure true, TRIPLES FOR SHOW, DOUBLES FOR DOUGH! But after I played about 3 matches, I started feeling pretty comfortable (I was hitting doubles) at the line and the results showed just that.

2. When you realized the enormity of the situation, how did you feel after that?
I normally don't get too excited about winning an event, but after I hit the double top for the win, my insides started going absolutely crazy. I'm not one to show much emotion because I feel at times it's like showing your opponent up. Salt on the wound, if you will! So only after I found out that this feat had never been done before (to anyone's knowledge), that was when I really got excited. I also had no idea what was to come from winning the 501 singles.


3. Do you see yourself doing anything differently as far as the when, where, and how of your play? Will you play more steel tip? Or just practice more?
As far as playing more, I am super excited with the opportunity to play doubles with DAD (Larry Butler) in Virginia Beach, and hopefully, a trip to the Charlotte Open after that as well. I plan on playing as much steel tip as I possibly can this year. Most don't know this about my practice regiments, but I don't own a "soft tip" board. All I have is my steel board at home and that's all I've thrown on for a long time. I actually love the challenge that comes with it.

The last question stems from the invites that Ben will receive as a result of his winning the 501 singles at the Las Vegas Open. Ben will now receive an invite to compete at the WDF World Masters in England later this year against some of the best steel tip dart players in the world. Also, as a result of this win, once he competes in the World Masters, he will receive an automatic invite to compete in a qualifier for the BDO Lakeside World Championships. There will be four spots available from this qualifier, so if Ben can make it that far, he will be competing at the BDO Lakeside World Championships at the end of the year.

4. So this question is.....how did you feel once you learned that you will get an opportunity to compete for a spot at the World Championships?
So after I found out about the invite to the World Masters, I got pretty geeked out. I've done a lot in my dart career (on the soft tip side), but getting just a chance to go showcase my skills "ACROSS THE POND" is definitely something I had never imagined would ever happen. I understand it's only an invite, but I'm going to play my backside off and hopefully take this opportunity and run like hell with it. It's been a long while since I've been excited with darts and this may just kick start my hardcore playing back into high gear! Like I said before, the spot in the World Championships is all just exciting icing on the dart cake! Hopefully I can do well and just keep inching towards bigger and bigger things.

In closing, Benny wanted to also give a huge thanks to his sponsors for helping him to be able to achieve these goals: Dynasty/A-FLOW, L-Style, RedEye Rhino and Ultimate Team Gear.

I know we all want to wish Benny all the best on this new adventure! Good luck, Benny! We will all be following along!

Anne Kramer

Darts and the Almighty Dollar

My curiosity is getting the better of me and I have to ask these things otherwise I spend all night awake because my brain refuses to stop thinking.

When we compete in softball, we invest in equipment, pay our money to play league and tournaments without a thought as to where the money was going, who was doing what with it, and the dreaded topic….were they making a profit? We didn’t care because we had a passion for playing the game and competing at the highest level we could. If you play, do you ask the organizers or field owners if they are making a profit? Do you ask them what they do with that profit? Do you demand of them that they should then share some of that profit with you?

Many compete in paintball and end up working their way up to tournament teams. During those years, they invest in equipment, only to invest in better equipment, and continue on as technology progressed and newer, more advanced equipment became available. They never think anything of it because it was a passion that they have to compete and be the best that they could be. And players went to events and paid money to play without a care as to the payouts for winning or the rate of return on their investment to get there to compete.

I bet almost all of us that compete at darts have probably at one time in life competed in some of these other events. So the questions of the day are….why do dart players insist on knowing where all the money goes when someone creates and operates an event that allows you to compete? Why do dart players insist that an event not make a profit?

I recently heard about one such event in South Carolina called Ghost on the Coast, a well-known steel tip dart tournament. The tournament flyer with tournament prize size and payouts was posted many months before the event even happened and people made plans to attend because they always have a fun time there. The organizers that run the event were blasted over the internet multiple times from many sides because their event was so well attended that they made a lot of extra money. It seems the players there thought that they should have put that extra money back into the event payouts.

Honestly, do you play your round of golf, notice it is a fabulous day out, see all the extra people out playing a round that day and go up to the owner of the course and demand that since so many people are out playing today, he should then take some of that profit and offer it back to the players that were there that day? Sounds ludicrous, doesn’t it? So what makes darts so special that the players have determined that no event should be for profit and no organizer should actually have a positive balance in their account after the event has taken place?

I was talking with Charles at RedEye Rhino about this very subject, which then sparked the idea for this next blog post. It’s not something new. I had done a similar article for a web based darts forum back in 2007. Things are still the same. The mentality hasn’t changed.

Charles wanted to speak particularly about the Premier Cup Amateur Qualifier, which drew 64 players with an entry fee of $50 each. Total for the first event was $3200. It seems that some people are concerned about what is being done with that money.

His replies to my questions were, as follows: “Most players have no regard to the business and its operational cost. For the Saturday event at the Premier Cup, there is blind draw paying out a guaranteed $10,000. Not one person has asked where that guaranteed money comes from or where the $5,000 that is being added to the main event is coming from. Then of course, there is the cost of running the event including, but not limited to venue fees, board rental, travel and hotel cost for the staff, which can run us $8,000 easily. I’m failing to understand why do some dart players feel that every cent is owed to them?”

None of the companies involved in the sports I noted at the beginning of this blog work for free, so why do dart players insist that any companies related to darts have to be a not for profit company? No one in this country in darts should work for free including tournament directors, especially when those directors have to deal with the scrutiny of people who feel entitled or feel that events and leagues should be free. We all know money doesn't grow on trees and neither does the idea of improving darts. From a business perspective, it takes money to make money, and for darts it’s the same thing.... if we want the bigger sponsors they are going to have to make money in order for them to invest. If a company is not making money, do you expect them to stick around? Yet it seems that all dart players are concerned about is if 100% of their money is being paid back to them. Go ask the PGA or PBA that question and see how far you get.

So the next time you catch yourself counting the entries, take a moment to stop and think about the value you are getting for the money you are spending. For a majority of the players today, remember that you are not making a living playing darts. Darts is a hobby and we are being entertained, like all the other sports we participate in. And as with any type of entertainment, you pay to play.

Anne Sleepy Kramer