I’ve started playing darts again in recent weeks, and it reminded me of when my best friend, Willie, and I were maybe twelve or thirteen and hung a baseball dartboard on an old grey wooden door that led to his backyard. We didn’t always hit the dartboard, so the door had plenty of holes in it.
We spent hours down there playing that game. He had a notebook and kept track of every hit, out, or run we scored. He could go back for months and recount previous games we played.
We even took it a step further. Willie was a big Dodgers fan, and I was a Royals fan. In his notebook, we would fill out our favorite team’s lineup and then work our way down the lineup, as if each at-bat belonged to someone on our favorite team.
The funny thing was, George Brett seemed to have just as much of a knack for doubling in the dartboard game as he did in real life, even though I was the one throwing the darts. Maybe I tried harder when I glanced over at the notebook and saw that he was up. We also played the part of a pitcher on our favorite teams – mimicking his delivery and style.
It’s amazing how much fun a couple of kids can have with a little imagination. If I told this story to a young person today, he would probably think I was nuts, given his opportunities to play X-box or PlayStation.
I’m not knocking technology. If my friend and I would have had it back then, we would have been immersed in video games. But I’m not sorry that we grew up before technology was so advanced. It was a grand time to be alive.
We kept score in notebooks, and I still like to track things in notebooks. We compiled statistics, and that helped me with my math skills. And we mostly used our imaginations, and now I write novels.
Now I feel like I’ve come full circle. I’m not playing baseball on the dartboard on Friday nights, but my friends and I laugh and strategize as we play a different dart game. Part of me thinks I need to be taking a notebook to track all the results. The only problem is, one of my friends wins most of the games and I don’t want a record of that. It’ll give him a big head.
But I must admit that one day, when we’re all sitting around in the commons area of the nursing home (wouldn’t it be ideal to have all your best friends with you in the same nursing home?), it would be fun to bring out that notebook and reminisce – even if I did lose most of the games.
Now I just wish I knew if Willie still had his notebook.