You seem to be around in American darts for years now - how long do you play darts already?
And how did it start?
I started playing darts in Jan. 1987. It was completely by chance. I was in a friend's bar watching Monday night football and another friend's dart team was short a player. They ‘drafted’ me and I've been playing ever since.
Did you play league at that time and where?
I am still playing today in my hometown of Las Vegas, NV. I play in a Singles league on Wed. nights and on a Masters' Team on Thurs nights at our local dart bar-CDs Lounge.
What was the first tournament you did win?
I won my first ADO tournament at a local bar in Redondo Beach, Ca, in April 1987.
How do you see the situation of women in darts now-a-days? Has it changed? Are there more women involved? Would you say from all your experience that women can keep up with the men?
As far as competing with the men goes, well, it just seems to be a necessity if I want the chance to win any big money or really get ‘known’ in the darts world. Of course, I'd rather compete against the women, but, so far, there isn't an International Organization for the women competitors similar to the PDC. A couple of years ago, Trina Gulliver and Francis Hoenselaar were recruiting ladies to join the ‘LDA’ (Ladies Darts Association) and there was talk of a big, televised tournament that was to be held in Oct a couple of years ago in Germany, I think, with big prize money and guaranteed television coverage. I joined the organization, but, the time came and went, and nothing happened.
Would you personally like to mix with the men in singles competitions or do you prefer only female tournaments and why?
Sure, I wish there was a Ladies PDC, but, for the meantime, I'll just play against the men when I have the chance. If I win, great... if not, I get some of the best practice possible!
Do you think the PDC should do something to support ladies darts and offer ladies tournaments or would that be no success anyway?
The PDC has tried to boost the womens' game along with their Desert Classic. From 2002 until 2006 the PDC offered big money for the women's singles event that was held with the Desert Classic. In fact, I won it in 2003... the only American woman to win that title but with fewer and fewer women entering it, they had to discontinue it. This was probably my proudest single win. The competition was tough and in the final, I beat my good friend, Deta Hedman, whom I greatly respect as a player
Could you imagine there would be a market for female Pro darters or is there just not enough interest? And do you see a possibility that in future thereīll be women able to earn their living by playing darts?
I think it is a bit of a ‘Catch 22’ for the women to get a ‘Ladies PDC’ going. Until there is big money, it isn't worth all the travelling (especially from America) to the tournaments. And until the big names in the ladies game (Anastasia, Trina, Francis, etc) can afford the travel costs to compete... and the sponsors don't want to pay for TV coverage until the prize money is guaranteed... such a conundrum... I don't think I'll see I'll see women from America making a living from darts in my lifetime. And, I think, only the very top few Europeans and UK residents in ladies darts may be able to get by on their darts income... but I don't believe it is a very lucrative living yet. I know I can't quit my day job!
Do you think the PDC Ladies World Championship is a serious chance for female players?
Yes, I do think this World Championship is really a chance for female darters. It was open to every lady darter in the world to try to qualify in just as is the Winmau Masters. I do not believe it is in any way a 'marketing gag' by Barry Hearn-or anyone else. Mr. Hearn is a brilliant promoter who has worked wonders with the PDC and I am hopeful female competitors will take this opportunity to participate in this competition. I remember when the PDC was only a thought and everyone said it would never take the place of the BDO.
Who do you think are the favourites to win it?
At this time I do not know who will be competing besides Anastasia and myself, so I'd have to say I like our chances to be the 'favourites'.
What will the tour card bring for you and would it affect in any way your standing with the ADO?
Also, I do not know to what a 'tour card' may entitle me, but I hope I get the opportunity to find out! I would simply like to have the opportunity to 'push myself' and see how well I may be able to do in a new forum. I do not believe that competing in this Championship will adversely affect my standing with the ADO, except that I believe I may not be allowed to compete in WDF 'World' events such as the World Cup or Winmau World Masters'. I am, however, still planning on traveling in the States and playing tournaments as I have for many years!
We had some discussions about women and darts on SEWA -often was mentioned women are not as competitive as men and women donīt take darts as serious = are not as addicted. From your experience is there really a difference in the attitude?
As far as being competitive... I, personally, believe that women are every bit as competitive as men, but we just don't have the incentive ($$) to really travel as much as the men do. It really is expensive to travel, especially internationally. I am fortunate that I have Laserdarts sponsoring me and that helps tremendously.
Do you practice much? And how long and what do you practice? Do you believe there might exist something like a ‘generally valid practice’ or is darts such an individual sport that in the end everybody has to find out what works for her/him?
I really don't practice as much as I should. At this point in my career I rely more upon ‘muscle memory’ than practice. But when I do practice, I try to practice the same way I'd compete in a tournament, that is, to throw for about 15-20 minutes and then take a break - much the way I'd play a round in a tournament, and then wait for the next round. My practice routine is pretty much the same and it is outlined on my web site Stacy's Practice Routines . Everyone should practice the way they feel comfortable since the game is so mental. Feeling good about your dart game is imperative to succeeding so you must do whatever it takes to feel confident.
You have been nominated for the WDF World Cup last year - how does one get nominated for it? And how often were you already part of the World Cup team?
I competed on the World Cup team for my, I think, 6th time. I've competed in Holland twice, Australia, South Africa, Las Vegas and now in Charlotte. I chose to step down in 2003 for personal reasons when the World Cup was held in France and the entire U.S. team withdrew from competition in 2001 when the World Cup was held in Malaysia. There are two ways to make the team... either by being number 1 in ADO points accumulated from the 12 best tournament finishes in the prior calendar year, or by winning the one day National competition held by the ADO.
Why do you think are countries like the UK and the Netherlands so dominant in darts?
I believe the reason the UK and Europe have produced such good competitors is simply because players start playing at much younger age over there than in America. Add to that the fact that Europeans are permitted to compete in bars at the ripe old age of 16 years and the fact that darts is much closer to being a ‘national sport’ overseas than here in the US and there you have it. Cap all that off with the fact that you can fit all of England into the state of Texas 3 times and have space left over and you have the final reason Americans aren't as competitive as Europeans... it is just so darn expensive and time-consuming to travel to many of our country's tournaments.
Can you imagine the US darters will be capable to get involved one day and what do you think are the biggest problems darts in the US has to solve to get there? Have you any idea how to ‘sell’ darts better so it might get TV presence?
As far as selling darts in America in order to get TV coverage, first, I believe, we must EDUCATE THE MASSES! I have been saying this for years. Most Americans don't really know how the sport of darts is played or scored. Until people understand the game, they will continue to channel surf' on weekends stopping at things like Extreme BMX bike riding or skateboarding the half-pipe where they can watch people ‘wipe out’. That is their entertainment.
The PDC only plays 501 single tournaments while the ADO/WDF/BDO tournaments usually offer doubles and teams as well. Is the 501 single worth more in your eyes? And what do you like best?And how do you like mixed doubles or triples and blind draws? Are those just for fun?Would you prefer cricket to 501?
When I compete, I enjoy the singles events most. I have more ‘fun’ in doubles events, but in singles it is just ‘you vs them’ and I enjoy that. I always like to see how my game holds up against others. Blind draws are strictly for fun and the social aspect of the game.
And why is cricket so popular in the US?
I am probably one of the few Americans who prefers 501 to Cricket. Cricket is not played in tournaments at all in the UK and Europe. In fact, when it is played for fun in practice, it is called ‘Mickey Mouse’ or ‘tactics’. I like the fact that you must hit a particular segment (the double) to win a game of 501 while in Cricket, two singles = a double. Why Cricket is so popular in the U.S. is a mystery to me.
Do you play soft-darts as well?
I play soft tip darts for fun, but twice a year, I play for money. This is in April at the NDA Internationals held in Vegas and in May at the Bullshooter Internationals held in Chicago. I, personally, enjoy the ‘purity’ of steel tip darts over the soft tip game. In steel tip, the dart is either in or out... no bounce outs that count or a machine to keep score.
What was your greatest achievement so far?
I think my greatest achievement(s)' would have to be winning the North American Open ladies singles event 6 times in a row and/or being ranked number 1 lady competitor in America 16 out of the last 18 years. I think those records will stand forever.
What is your attitude in relation to alcohol and darts?
Darts and alcohol...sounds like 'ham and eggs', eh? Personally, I don't believe great darts and alcohol go together very well. I prefer to compete sober and when I was in the players' room at the Desert Classic this year chatting with Phil Taylor before he was to go on stage, I noticed he was drinking straight cranberry juice. And he is the best in the world so you can just take it from there! What makes Phil such a great competitor is his intensity when he competes. Just look at his eyes when he is throwing. Nothing else in the world matters except hitting his next target with his next dart. It is an incredible ‘tunnel-vision ability’ that sets him apart from everyone else.
And do you see darts as a sport and might be once in the Olympics?
I am hopeful that darts will someday make it into the Olympics. Considering curling and archery are in, I hope that darts will be added in London in 2012. We'll have to wait and see!
During the LVDC you always organise a charity event - how did it happen you got involved in this, who gets the money and what kind of event is it?
Every year I organize a charity event in conjunction with the Desert Classic. This year I held my 12th annual fundraiser. All proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Southern Nevada. To date, we have raised just under $105,000.00 for the kids. I am very proud of this and plan to continue it for as long as possible. Donations can always be sent to MAW So Nev, 3885 S. Decatur Bl. #1000, LV NV 89103. All donations should be marked ‘dart donation’ so we may keep track of how much is raised from dart players.
Will the new Las Vegas tournament be a good substitute for the LVDC?
I have heard that there will be no more Desert Classic, and that is a shame, but a tournament cannot continue to sustain a financial loss year after year. It was a huge undertaking that, unfortunately, did not work out so we must all move on. I know very little about the tournament that will be replacing it this year so I really can't give an opinion on whether or not I think it will succeed! I certainly do hope so!
What is your profession?
Having just left the legal profession after a 27 year career, I am now working for the Make-A-Wish Foundation until summer ends. Then I am back to teaching with the Clark County School District here in Vegas.
Would you think that getting ‘older’somehow affects your darts?
As time goes on, it will always get harder to travel. That is just the way life goes, but my personal darts mentor, Lil Coombes, was 64 when I met her and we then traveled for about 5 years!.
Did you have some kind of models when you started to play or some players who helped you on?
Lil was, and always, will be my personal role model, along with the likes of Phil Taylor, Paul Lim, John Part, Ronnie Baxter, and Darin Young. Unfortunately, Lil passed away in June of 2008, but she is always with me when I compete.
Do you still have goals you would like to achieve?
I think everyone has goals they set for themselves. As a competitor, it is only natural to ‘set the bar’ higher and higher for yourself. I would still love to throw a perfect game in a major competition. Hopefully, some day...
What do you think makes you such a successful darter? Is it more talent or mental strength or just your personality?
I suppose the reason I have become a successful darter is because when I first started playing, I practiced for hours and hours every day. It is important to develop the proper fundamentals from the beginning. Darts is all physics. Follow through, concentration, practice, practice, practice... all the components must come together to comprise the final product - a winning game!
How would you describe your personality?
I think I would use the words ‘confident’ and ‘determined’ to describe my personality, but, I, like most dart players, still love to have a good time!
What would be the advice you would give to a young and talented female darter?
I would give a talented young female darter the same advice I give everyone... “Don't take yourself too seriously and second: enjoy the game!”
You play darts for a very long time now - does it still fascinate you and what is it that fascinates you?
The thing(s) that keeps me interested in darts is two fold..
1) I am fortunate that I play darts well, and, let's be honest... we all like to do things we do well! and
2) the people I have met and places I have visited keep me coming back! Darts has been a great ‘ride’