Thorn Around the World

"A Double Dose Of Dardos Ticos"
My three month adventure around the globe had been filled with amazing highlights so far. I played with Team Iceland in Reykjavik. I attended the WDF World Cup and traveled around Ireland with a US pro. I spread dartboards around Holland and was in the Dutch broadcast booth with Jacques Nieuwlaat for the PDC. I helped start a dart league in Barcelona, Spain, and crossed the Atlantic looking for darts on tropical islands. Now, I was in Costa Rica, where an undiscovered hotbed of darts was hidden in San Jose. Today, I'd attend another big shoot with Gustavo and see more of the talent in the land of Ticos.

But first, I had to sleep in from the previous night's antics and excitement. I'm sure I woke up late, had another pancake and banana breakfast before joining Jules on the internet, researching and planning our next leg north into Nicaragua. We planned on leaving in two days for Grenada, Lake Ometepe, and beyond.

But, by afternoon, I was back at Ozzy's Sports Bar, just a few blocks from Galileo Hostel, throwing darts, waiting to hear from Gustavo, and what he had planned for us tonight.
While I waited, I met a couple other gringos in the bar, and after a couple quick lessons on how to play, enjoyed an hour or two of 501 and Cricket with some fellow travelers. Cervezas were flowing like water.

Eventually, around six o'clock, Tavo arrived after his busy day driving. This time, he came with another friend, Eduardo, and two lovely young ladies. There was another Ticos Dardos tourney tonight, in another barrio I never would have found or explored on my own.
Tonight's shoot was even bigger than yesterday, with approximately forty players warming up when we arrived. The venue was a bar called Las Tuquitas, with at least five or six proper dart boards. The place was dark and smoky, with lots of laser beam dance lights dancing around.

While others warmed up, Tavo and Eduardo introduced me to a favorite liquor in Costa Rica called Cacique, a wickedly strong clear elixir. To be honest, between the pre-shoot beers at Ozzy's and the Cacique at Las Tuquitas-plus the childlike excitement I had attending another unexpected darts event in San Jose-I barely remember playing in the shoot. I'm sure I got bounced early to the surprise of all the local shooters who expected me to be a more formidable opponent. But, I didn't care. I was just as happy to spectate and photograph the scene, chilling with Eduardo and the girls, while Tavo went deep into the playoffs. Again, I noticed several other players of top notch quality, and the tourney went late into the night before a climactic, albeit blurry, finish. I met as many people as I could, took some great photos, and promised to help spread the word about the talent I'd seen in San Jose.

But, overall, once again, it was an unforgettable experience being lost in the barrios of the capital city, playing and exchanging cultures with authentic tungsten-tossing Ticos. It was three in the morning by the time we loaded back into Tavo's taxi for the ride home to Galileo.

On the ride home, I thought about how I could help promote this unknown league of San Jose. They had no connection with world darts, and I made a mental note to write to the director of the WDF in the Americas, to see if I could help bring Costa Rica into the international world of darts.

As I snuck into our private bunk room back at Galileo, Jules stirred awake, happy to see me back safe again. "How was it mate?" she's whispered in a sleepy voice. "Awesome Jules. It was awesome," I said.

Over and double out.

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