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New youth dart leagues attract lots of interest


Jayden Kelly, who shot a 180 on the first day. – Submitted photo

By Jaymie White Local Journalism Initiative Reporter PORT AUX BASQUES — Darts is a sport enjoyed by young and old alike, and according to http://www.westerndarts.com, in Western Newfoundland alone there are 10 total leagues with over 280 players. There are numerous benefits to participating in this particular sport, including the following:

  1. Throwing darts improves your math skills because it can improve a person’s ability to calculate and is an excellent workout for the brain,

  2. Throwing darts improves your social life, it can be an enjoyable way to meet new friends and can strengthen bonds with older friends as well,

  3. It improves your concentration and your ability to think on your feet,

  4. It improves hand-eye coordination because everything happens so fast, within the fraction of a second,

  5. It promotes logical and strategic thinking based on how the game can develop depending on your throwing,

  6. It can improve your mood,

  7. It can reduce your stress,

  8. It helps a person to develop physical self-control and have a better overall feel of your body,

  9. It can be a great way to spend some time outdoors depending on the location of where you’re playing,

  10. It builds confidence as a person practices and is able to improve their skills,

  11. It keeps you moving and keeps you active.

In Port aux Basques, a new youth dart league has been started. Jay Strickland saw a need for a youth league in the community and was happy to get the ball rolling. “The reason I wanted to start this league for youth is because it is the younger generation that will keep this sport going,” said Strickland. “They are our future. Plus, I also love the game of darts.” There was a bit of work Strickland had to do to get the league off the ground so quickly and successfully. “I had to get all the information on how to go about this and get it on the go,” said Strickland. “There was nothing to the process. I just had to find a place to play, and I did. That place was the Legion, and they have been on board since day one.” Social media helped to get the word out to the kids. “I posted it to Facebook and did up a Youth Dart League group. I also had posters done,” said Strickland. The league already has dozens of participants who’ve joined, even though it has really only been going for a few weeks. “Right now I have over 55 players,” said Strickland. “Sometimes some can’t make it, but I’ve been getting really good numbers and this will only be our third week.” Players are slotted onto teams and they are set up with practices as well as games. “Right now we are going with six players on a team. It all depends on our numbers,” said Strickland. “During the league they will play games and practice and we will teach them the rules of the game. As for tournaments, I’m in the middle of that now. There is a tournament for Gander in March and it’s a big tournament. You need to be 10 to play in that one, and we are trying to get a tournament against the (Codroy) Valley now, and maybe against Irishtown-Summerside.” The league plans to continue right through the fall and winter months into next spring. “We started on the 24th of September and will continue until April or May, depending on the numbers,” said Strickland. “It’s been going really well. We’re getting 40 people every Sunday and everyone is enjoying it. Some of these kids have never played darts before.” The league typically meets once a week. “We meet at the Legion every Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., but some Sundays the times can change,” said Strickland. Other volunteers have helped to get this league started and pitch in to keep working with Strickland and the kids week after week. “I’ve got five main ones (volunteers), and I’m very thankful for their help,” said Strickland. “This would not be successful without them. They look after everything when I can’t be there.” The momentum their youth league and other youth leagues on the West Coast have been gaining has been exciting for Strickland to witness, and he hopes to see them all continue to grow. “I am really happy with the interest that I’m getting so far,” said Strickland. “I also want to say that there is also a new youth dart league up in Codroy Valley and they are having a great turn out as well, and I know Irishtown-Summerside has a league too, so that’s three new leagues on the West Coast. If this continues to be successful, we will continue every year.”

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