Since David Faulkner started playing darts, he’s never gone to a bar unless it was to shoot.
The 71-year old is originally from Massachusetts, but moved to Anniston a decade ago when he was hired as an instructor at the incinerator. At the time, there weren’t any dart leagues in the area except for at the American League in Bynum.
When Faulkner retired in 2008, he set out to create a dart league and did just that.
He founded the Central Alabama Dart Association and with promoters around town started the league, which originally featured five teams of eight players. The next year, there were twice as many teams.
The association, which is now managed by Gary Trapp, plays at close to 10 places around town and is registered as a civil organization and is not for profit. They also do a lot of charity work and events.
Faulkner, who prefers steel-tip darts, has played since 1976, including in Maine, Massachusetts and Alabama. He said Massachusetts has the largest league, which features around 190,000 members.
Faulkner has been married to Donnalee for 16 years. They have two boys and a girl from previous marriages and five grandkids. When Faulkner isn’t playing darts, he said he enjoys being outside and working on websites.
Recently, Faulkner sat down with Anniston Star sports writer Brandon Miller and answered 10 questions.
Question: How did you get into playing darts?
Answer: I moved into a little house in South Portland, Maine, and decided to take a walk up the street to a local pub to have a beer and I was up there with a bunch of guys and a dartboard. They were all throwing darts and they all encouraged me to get up there and try it, and it didn’t take long for me to get hopelessly hooked. I enjoyed the dart league in Maine, and at that time there were only nine teams in the whole state. But, I moved to Massachusetts and got involved in the big dart league down there and would compete in the big three, four-day events. I didn’t win any money, but I didn’t care.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about darts?
A: The social aspect and fun, but it’s also bringing new people on board and coaching them. I love watching the passions grow, and that’s basically what I’ve been doing since I started this thing. I put a brand new team together the season before last and we won a grand total of two matches all season long, but last season we missed playoffs by one game. That’s a fun accomplishment.
Q: What advice would you give to new players?
A: Come and try it. Come in and try it. Just because you didn’t do as well as the people around you that first or second time, you just have to keep trying. But, when you get that first victory and have that first success, it’s going to give you the greatest feeling in the world.
Q: What’s your favorite dart game?
A: The one that’s my favorite we don’t play around here. What I was always the best at is what they call 301, Double In, Double Out. We had to start by hitting something in the outer ring, bring the score down from 301 and end the game again on the double ring with exactly the right number. If you have 30 left, you have to hit a double 15 to win. I like the 01 games the best because I do better at them.
Q: What’s been your favorite tournament that you’ve competed in?
A: I think my favorite was back in Massachusetts when I was going to the Witch City opens. I watched a fellow walk away with $50,000 for winning the men’s singles finals. It’s a big party. You start Friday night and it gets over sometime Sunday. It has different games all weekend long and you get into whichever games you want to.
Q: How often do you play darts?
A: We’re between seasons right now, but normally when I’m on a team it’s a couple nights a week. We’ve got league night or we’re traveling to a tournament.
Q: Do you prefer playing individually or with a partner?
A: That’s a tough one. I’d much rather be able to stand on my own individually, but reality kicks in and nowadays I’m just not that good anymore. Partners are fun.
Q: You mentioned that your hat is your signature. How’d that get started?
A: I’ve been wearing a tilley hat for years. Of course, when this oddball comes up here and starts a dart league, he’s recognized as Crazy Dave the Dart Guy with the tilley hat. They know how to find me. I started wearing the tilley hat when I came across them in Fairhope, Ala., since sometime back in the 1990s.
Q: Do you have a uniform for tournaments?
A: It depends on the particular bar that you shoot for. The bars, most of them, sponsor this. The ones that sponsor their teams also provide their teams with shirts. That’s a big thing to go out for a match and you’re all wearing matching shirts.
Q: You said you created a game for charity. What’s it like?
A: It’s a turkey shoot. It’s done on a steel dart board, the numbers are completely covered and the board is spun so you don’t know where anything is. You pay $3 a turn and you get three darts. Everyone gets identical, old-fashioned wood darts with turkey feathers on them. Whoever scores the highest score wins a turkey or a ham, which are all donated by the local supermarkets. The donations go toward whoever puts on the event.