Old English Dart League

Old English Dart League (OEDL) Philadelphia Pa.

Contributions from: Tom Maroukian: Secretary – 2004

Jeff Baxter Position/Office – Treasurer Occupation – Manf. Engineer

“I (Tom) started in the league in 1987, but the league was formed as a center city Philly league in 1978. The area the league covers is from The Delaware River to the Schuykill River, south to south Philly and some north off Spring Garden to Fairmont. It is mostly center city with a few teams in N. Liberties, Fairmount & S. Philly and the occasional NE Phila. Team. There are 234 members and 28 teams.

The Board Of Directors has six officers: President, Vice President, Treasure, Recording Secretary, Recorder/Statistician and a Chairman who are elected to staggered 2yr terms. All officers are paid a nominal stipend as well as the divisional Director per the By-Laws. Officers are elected by the general membership. Ten Board members are elected by the members and Board members elect Officers from the available Board of Directors. If there are more people who wish to serve than positions we’ll have an election but we haven’t had to do that yet. As a rule the people who volunteer for the Board are in for the long haul because those who volunteer are truly interested in the league, promoting the league and making it thrive. The only time we lose people is when they lose jobs or are relocated or something like that.

Volunteers are asked for at general membership meetings but it is hard to get people. They don’t want to get involved because they might have to work at their job or something else and this is just darts, a night out. This is a fun league and they do not take it seriously.

Committees appointed as needed. If a need for a committee is found a committee is formed to address the need. Like if the membership is getting low a membership committee will be formed to address that need. The membership looks to the board of directors to get the ball rolling on things. It’s like pulling teeth to get these guys to volunteer for anything because they view throwing darts as: I go out on Tuesday, have a couple of pints, throw darts, go home then go back out next Tuesday.

League future is planned one year at a time.

We raise funds through sponsor and member fees. Sponsors receive discounts for multiple teams. A player’s fee is $50 per year and the sponsor’s fee is $200 for the first team and $125 for the 2nd & $100 for each additional team per year. Sometimes a sponsor will pay member’s fees or part of them.

We have two fund raising events, one in the fall and one in the spring, they are all star shoots. Plus an occasional 50/50 at league wide events (All-Star shoots & Banquet). We are a not for profit corporation which limits how much money we can have from season to season.

This is an inner city league where, I guess, 30% to 40% of members don’t drive. They walk or take public transportation to play darts. Players are mostly young urban professionals who shoot darts one time per week. It’s an opportunity to go out, commiserate with their buddies, drink a few beers and throw darts. Many work in the food industry with odd hours. Early on it was a serious league but it wasn’t taken seriously. The gentry of the OEDL is different than other leagues. Mostly bar/service industry personnel and young professionals with ties to Center City bars and a core group of ‘lifers’ round out the rest. The attitude was, if you show up you show up, if you don’t you don’t. It wouldn’t be unusual for a player to miss three or four weeks then show up again. This is probably true of most leagues, especially in lower divisions. Members stay in the league although we do have attrition since the majority of players travel a lot and get relocated. They play on Tuesday night, go home and you don’t throw them again until the next Tuesday night.

In an effort to expand and promote more activity we created a C division with definitions within that division: C1, C2 and C3. That was our farm system where we’d bring the kids in and start them out in the C division and teach them some of the outshots and some of the strategy of Cricket and as a rule we’d have somebody who played on an A or B team who would drop down an become captain of that team. There was no sense having a Captain of a team who’d never played darts before, that just wouldn’t be fair. As Captain I played just enough games each week to remain eligible. The understanding was that you didn’t drop down from A or B to win a championship you did that to promote the game and help the new guys along. Some flyers & notices to try and recruit new teams but not much after this.

We’re not affiliated with a national organization but have some communication with QCEDL between some members of both boards. National groups concentrate on National events and don’t offer much in the area of grassroots.

Historical records/record keeping is sporadic at best, basically anything since George Jones has been Division Director for all divisions.

During the late 1980s and ‘90s we realized we couldn’t stay within our close area and expand the number of teams too, so we expanded out to the northeast and south and even out west to Brittinghams, a bar in Lafayette Hills by the turnpike, in a effort to get more teams. We had to split into two divisions: north and south. There was some cross division play, like in major sports where they play across divisions, but travel got to be an issue.

They created the drunk driving laws and when they dropped the limit to .10 ( now it’s .08) if you had more than two beers in one hour you were legitimately fine but still over the limit so we had a membership vote and they did away with the north/south concept. Some bars still wanted to participate and stayed in the league, Brittinghams being one, and again, that made it pretty difficult. You’d play at the Dark Horse one night and the next had to drive fifteen miles to shoot a dart game, and you only went there once in a ten week season. Now, if you got done with the dart game at 11:30 or 12:00 O’clock it made a long night. So we decided, to keep the majority of our members happy, to keep it mainly a center city dart league. Another problem with the center city area is that most bars are small pub like places which couldn’t have more than one dart board so couldn’t sponsor more than two teams. Schedules are designed to have one team home while the other is away. That and some players joining another league contributed to our membership being diluted. In the late 1980s there were over a hundred teams and some bars sponsored multiple teams. The league dropped from over one hundred teams to twenty eight teams with maybe one hundred fifty people now.

There were obviously rules and by-laws and the league was pretty well structured. There is a lot of structure. Thirteen pages of rules by section and subsection (Rule 4.D) and ten pages of by-laws by Article & paragraph: (Article VI paragraph 3), because back in the 1970s when it was formed it was THE league in Philly. Then due to conflicts of personalities with other leagues in the city the OEDL turned into something like ‘take your darts and go home,’ which is not a recipe for growth. The league became very stagnant.

The rules say anyone can be a captain. It is done by consensus of the team unless it is a new team. Then we make sure the new captain knows the rules.

One of the more difficult things the board of directors has to deal with is deciding which players can play on which team. Teams submit player rosters at registration and no restrictions are placed on the rosters (no 2 – Pro limits). The BOD tries to the best of its abilities to seed teams properly in Divisions. In general Team that wins a lower division move up and those that finish at the bottom of a division move down. However the BOD takes in to account if teams pickup or lose players that may affect their team performance either for the better or worst.

Decisions about team and player placement are subjective. We mostly have someone on the board who knows the player in question and we can decide if the player should be allowed to play on a certain team in a certain division. That decision is based upon how well the player plays not where they live or something like that. The league controls who can play on a team through having a player “married” to a team for a half of season. Players who sign for a team and plays one week can not switch teams. That is to prevent teams from loading or stacking a team during the season. That sometime causes a problem because a player who had to quit because of business may not be able to get back on the same team if he returns.

The rule that most members like is the one that keeps people from switching teams because at one time or another this will impact their team. The ones that cause the most conflict are Postponements and Forfeits. Absolutely the most difficult. Basically the rules say you’re permitted to postpone a game and the offended team gets to choose where the match will be made up. Captains were expected to negotiate but conflicts arose so the rules requirement can lead to a forfeit and that causes hard feelings. Especially teams that blow off games when they are completely out of it or way ahead and the team’s forfeit gives the other team enough points to affect the standings. Either way teams that intentionally forfeit games for any reason should be asked to leave. To take care of that conflict one week is open in the schedule where all postponements should be made up. We also said there can be no postponements in the last two weeks of a season. Another effort we made is to keep one sponsor from having two teams in the same division.

There is a maximum of ten players allowed on each team.

Rules are enforced through points penalties. Can’t fine a sponsor, can’t fine an individual or captain if they say they told someone they couldn’t do what was expected.

This is a fun league but for the players it’s an extremely competitive thing for bragging rights. They want their sponsor to get a trophy to display rather than the other sponsor. To my way of thinking it’s competitive for the wrong reasons. It should be because the players are better than the other players. It’s a hard sell to bars to be a sponsor since they equate everything to dollars, which they are business people and they should, so the players think of that too.

Accommodating the dichotomy of players being upset if rules benefit another team, being competitive and this being a fun league where people sometimes don’t show up is a difficult thing. It depends on whose ox is being gored. As a board member we’d like to leave some of the rules problems up to the captains but when a captain does something for one team but will not do it for another it causes hard feelings so we had to say no more negotiations, follow the letter of the rules. We hardly ever have problems with things like someone stepped over the line, or the board isn’t hung right, it’s almost always over some stupid thing where a captain should extend a little curtesy to another but doesn’t.

In our league we have two halves. One starts in September the other in January. We set a deadline for submitting rosters. In the summer teams sign up for the fall session. Most are guys who have played before. We promote new bars who are not in the league with flyer handouts. We contact captains and sponsors by word of mouth, email, snail mail. When the roster sheets are in, the board assigns teams to divisions and we make up the schedule. The schedule, rosters, rules and other information the captain needs make up packets and these are handed out to captains as information packets at a scheduled meeting prior to the start of the season.

The OEDL has various schedules that can accommodate fair & balanced schedules. The recorder makes up the schedule using a formula. Other members on the board also are familiar with the formula. Division directors, who are members of the board, over see scheduling of the division that is their responsibility.

Teams are assigned to divisions based on subjective judgment of the committee. Typically 6 divisions seeded with the best teams in DIV 1 and then down to DIV 6. We have no special youth, women, or Pro/elite/advanced divisions. The application requires information on background as far as where they have played which helps. Division A people want to play in A. B and C may have people who are better than B or C people. In these cases we’ve found it is better to let them go into the lower division. The winner of B or C division moves up to the next level. A division teams stay in A.

The league plays on Tuesday night and in DIV 1&2 15 games : 3 X best-of-3 501 single matches & 1-single Cricket, 3X Doubles D/D, 301 best-of-3, 3x doubles cricket rest are different versions of s/d ‘o1 games. DIV 3-6 13 game with 2X best-of-3 single S/D 501, 3x Doubles D/D 301, 3xdoubles Cricket rest are different versions of s/d ‘o1 games. There is a ‘C’ division format that has not been used recently, it is 12 games no singles matches and only 2X double d/d 301. middle 4-man s/d 801 is worth 2 pts.

Board meetings are held once per month, 2 General Membership meetings per year or 1 per half-season: membership meetings and package pickup, basically to inform the teams of rules & situations so that they can’t claim ignorance when they violate rules. Also to make sure the league collects dues in a timely manor. Captains or 1 representative are required to attend or penalty points will be accessed. Anyone can attend but usually teams only send what is required.

Membership contact has improved through using email addresses and snail mail to sponsors and captains as well as email. We use our Website, Phone, Registration Mail-out to all teams for sponsor & captains. Usually no News letter.

Mr. Sr. Phila & each Division have an All-star/singles match for each half-season. We are trying a roving Luck of the draw this year. It will move from bar to bar. We have two singles shoots, one at the end of the fall season and one at the end of the spring season, called All Star Shoots, and at year end we have a banquet with a luck of the draw tournament where achievement awards are presented. We have a year end Banquet for Fall & Spring seasons. Recognition awards – teams – Plaques for 1st place & playoff Champions teams get shirts/jackets for 1st place & Mugs for playoff champions / individuals. – High-On & high-off for each division for each half-season. Also T-71+ for anyone who shoots one. There are pewter plates for sponsors, certificates, jackets and patches for individual accomplishments in high scores and out shots.

Sponsors need to provide a safe environment and playable board. BOD checks setups of new teams and investigates problems if reported. Sponsors must have a dart board, lighting, toe line, score board. The board checks this. Sometimes, when there aren’t many sponsors, you might let one slide, but by and large the sponsor must provide us a safe place to play. They must also supply a contact person.

As a matter of policy the OEDL has records of meeting minutes and accomplishment awards. Dirty Franks, in the League since early 80’s, acted as the league clubhouse, but no longer.

The best thing about the OEDL is the competition. I enjoy the competition. There is consistency in who you play. Most aggravating is getting people to show up and help. Plaques encourage team success and format allows a greater flexibility for later arriving players.

The most troublesome is getting matches started on time. By-laws mandate eight PM as the starting time but it can be as late as eight forty five before the first dart is shot. That is way too late to start a 15 game match. Not so much a problem in A division as in B and C.

What’s unique about the OEDL is it is mostly a safe league, it’s a gentlemanly league, most bars are close together and most of the sponsors take an interest in what we do. Nothing special except to play darts in a team atmosphere.

Contact information for questions and comments may be found on the website: oedl.net.

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