Two youth from Sooke will be competing at the 2013 National Youth Championships in St. John’s Newfoundland.
Rachel Spencer (13 years old) and Randy Bell (15) of Sooke are two of the seven members of the B.C. team. They played in a qualifying tournament in Esquimalt on March 2, and are now preparing to travel to Canada’s other coast in a Canada-wide tournament happening from May 17 to May 19.
A full dart team consists of eight players: two junior (up to 15) females and two junior males; and, two senior (16+) females and two senior males. This year’s B.C. team is short one junior female, which meant that Rachel was playing against adults in the qualifying tournament.
Rachel was introduced to competitive darts by her father, Chris Spencer, who is a former player himself. Rachel and Randy are currently under the tutelage of Randy’s father, Richard Bell. This is his first year working as a volunteer coach.
When asked about why she likes the sport, Rachel answers, “I find it a lot of fun. It takes focus and aim. And you meet a lot of interesting people.” To which Chris quickly adds, “It helps with math.” Truly a parental incentive! Chris says that players have to add and multiply their scores quickly so that they can set their focus for the next shot and strategize accordingly.
And focus is a very important part of the game. Part of the training, Rachel says, is practising throwing darts amidst of a lot of noise. When she and Randy train with Richard Bell, Bell will add a fair amount of external stimuli, thereby sharpening their focus.
“When you are playing, it’s very noisy. So you have to learn to zone things out,” explains Rachel. Training in an abundance of noise gets you focussed, and prepares you for the tournament she adds.
The game of darts is a very accessible activity for youth. The cost is nominal. All you need is a dartboard, a set of darts, and a backdrop board to hold the board.
A quick search on the Internet will set you up with the rules. Players learn how to aim and focus. Math becomes fun (an applicable to life). And, as Rachel says, you get to meet a lot of nice people.
Rachel’s hopes are high for a well-played tournament this year. “We have phenomenal players [representing B.C,] this year.” She spoke highly of Quinton Hope from Esquimalt, who is the number one senior boy in B.C.
The B.C. team is currently looking for team sponsorship for the jaunt out to St. John’s in May. Other provinces have more formalized sponsorship, including from the provincial government. In B.C., it’s still a relatively young activity that is looking for regular support.
The Youth National Championships are held in different locations across Canada each year, and brings together Canada’s Top Youth dart players from coast to the coast to coast (north, west and east).
As you can imagine, it will cost a fair amount to send our players to the other coast for this event. The Darts BC Association is currently raising funds through sponsorship. For information on how to sponsor the BC Youth team, email firstname.lastname@example.org.