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Percha's “Ally Pally”: Organized Darts in Economics of the SCP

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Von: Michael Grözinger

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Three from the hard core: Franz Palm, Karl Heinz Sydow and Klaus Schneider (from left) in front of the two dartboards in the SC Percha restaurant.

Three from the hard core: Franz Palm, Karl Heinz Sydow and Klaus Schneider (from left) in front of the two dartboards in the SC Percha restaurant. © Andrea Jaksch

One of the few organized dart groups in the region plays at SC Percha. There one hopes for inflow through the World Cup euphoria. A separate department is conceivable.

Percha – Aren’t we all a little bit gaga? Millions of TV viewers in German living rooms asked themselves this question around the turn of the year. But that wasn’t because the TV audience doubted their own mental health, but because of a man, more precisely a darts player: Gabriel Clemens, nicknamed “Gaga”.

SC Percha dart players cheer on Gabriel Clemens at the World Cup

The 39-year-old from Saarland was the big sensation of the 2023 World Darts Championship in the legendary “Ally Pally”, as the sports facility in Alexandra Palace in London is called. Only in the semifinals was it over for the German, who had not previously been in the top 20 in the world rankings. With his rousing victories during the World Cup, Clemens brought the darts boom in Germany to an early peak.

Karl Heinz Sydow also regularly sat in front of the television in the evenings from mid-December to the beginning of January and kept his fingers crossed for the “German Giant”, as Clemens’ official competition name is. “I was rooting for it,” says the 67-year-old. He is a passionate darts player himself – in the premises of SC Percha, one of the very few places in the district and the surrounding area where fine motor concentration sports can be organized and regularly pursued.

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From sheep’s head to darts in percha

Interestingly enough, the darts in percha chapter began with a Schafkopf tournament around five years ago. The winner won a dartboard and decided to hang it up in the SCP’s restaurant on Heimatshausener Strasse. A new meeting place was born, it started with a handful of men.

Darts requires concentration and fine motor skills. But for Karl Heinz Sydow it’s all about one thing: fun. © Andrea Jaksch

The tribe now includes eight people between the ages of 40 and 67, including Sydow, who meet regularly. Guests and sporadic players complete the octet. They throw the darts, which weigh around 25 grams, at their now two targets three times a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. and Sundays from 4 p.m.

Dart euphoria in Germany: New department at SC Percha?

The darts players are not yet a separate department under the umbrella of SC Percha. Karl Heinz Sydow does not want to rule out this step, but he makes it clear: “Then you would need other premises.”

In the medium term, there would be no way around the need for more space anyway, should the darts trend in Germany spill over noticeably into the district. “I can imagine that the aftermath of the World Cup will attract more visitors,” says Sydow. “Above all, we are – as far as I know – the only ones in the area who offer darts.” Interested parties are always welcome to the practice sessions: “We are always happy about new players.”

Fun is the priority for dart players in Percha

The Percha darts players have not yet pursued great competition ambitions. “For us, having fun is the priority. We play against each other – and the last two pay,” says Sydow with a smile. “And if someone throws a 180, which happens a couple of times a year, we’re happy,” he adds. Two to three times a year he and his fellow campaigners also organize a tournament with usually 20 to 25 participants. “It goes on all Saturday. There is a stake and, accordingly, a win,” explains Sydow.

We play against each other – and the last two pay. And when someone throws a 180, which happens a few times a year, we’re happy.

The 67-year-old cannot say exactly what appeals to him so much about darts. It is only after much deliberation that he finds an answer that may seem banal but is at least 100 percent true: “It’s fun.” And it doesn’t matter where you throw the darts at the target: in a packed sports palace Millions of television viewers or in small groups in the economy of SC Percha.
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