Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I've always been a pretty fair country dart thrower, about a dozen years ago I got involved in a church dartball league...The Wabash Valley Dartball League was formed in 1938 by a group of Lutheran Churches in the western Ohio east Indiana 70 seasons later the league still exists, but not in the same form. We are now down to 8 teams from different churches, some Lutheran, some not, in Mercer and Van Wert Counties. One of our better throwers, Martin Fancke, has been in the league since it began in 1938....still hitting above .300 in his mid 80s...amazing.

Like most things, unless it's a video game and can be done on the computer, most younger guys want no part of sons are exceptions, Sam has been on the team longer than me, and Hal plays when he's home from school, usually during the Christmas vacation season.

St John's Lutheran has always been one of the better teams in the league, usually finishing behind either Mount Carmel Church of God or Schumm Lutheran....we have won a few tournaments and south division championships the past dozen years. As for me, being a long time bar room dart player, the change from small feathered overhand darts to large feathered underhand darts came fairly easy, it took about a year. Since that time, I have managed to win a couple of RBI championships, finished near the top in average, and been on the league All-Star team for 11 years in a row.

Dartball consists of a baseball field type set-up on a cork board...the boards run about $100 and have to been changed every couple of seasons(which run from October to March), a dozen darts costs the church $30 or so. You must stand on a foul line at least 20 feet from the board, and toss the darts underhand towards the target(field)....the easiest way to score is usually rotating singles and triples to get your "runs" the board is an out, the rest of the game is pretty much self explanatory....each Monday you play 3 nine inning games against one opponent, the season is split into 2 halves, with the division winners facing off at the end of the regular season.

We play on Monday nights, each team has a home field, and you play each team twice, once at your church and one on the road.....All Star games and end of season tournament as well as the season ending banquet come in March.

I've managed to luck out and bat at least .400 for 11 straight season...with my back issues, I may have a time trying to make it an even dozen....our first regular season games are this coming Monday at Bethany Church in Celina...

{dartboard, darts, and a few of my trophies from the past decade}


Anonymous said...

I've never heard of dartball. Must be a Northern thing.

Mushy said...

Darts were never in my future...I once had a dart board and a handful of darts, but I once accidentally hit my mom right in the chin bone with a dart. My dad whipped me and threw the board away...I have attempted to improve my aim since.

Buck Pennington said...

Like The Hermit...I'd never heard of dartball, either. All I can say is the Brits would go absolutely ballistic at the very thought of dartball! Heresy! Sacrilege! And all that... ;-)

I threw more than a few darts down at the pub during my time in England but never joined a league or anything. The Second Mrs. Pennington said I wasn't to be trusted with anything sharp and pointy...

BRUNO said...

I'm ignorant, too!

But I sure could go for that number 42 race-rod up there on the shelf!

pat houseworth said...

"42" That be Richard Petty's Daddy...and the car is from my birthyear...A 1949 Plymouth gave me that on my 50th birthday and the 50th Annv. of Lee Petty driving it.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

I had a dart board growin' up, but it was always more fun throwin' darts at other things. I think it had a baseball field thing on the back, but I never knew what that was for. My dad got me a blow gun at one point, and I used to blow darts at the dart board for practice. Then my sis got one of those hair pieces to make her hair stand up behind her head, like a weave today, and I used the styrophoam head it sat on as a target. Shot my buddy in the hand once when he reached for a dart he'd just shot and got in the way of mine. He ran scramin' home and I got in big trouble. Let's not even talk about Lawn Darts. Jesus!

Anonymous said...

I live in northwest indiana And have played dartball for 9 years. I am 26yrs old and i relly like the game. In our league we only have 5 teams and we play twice a week. We have About 88 games a season. The only difference is we can throw the darts overhanded or underhanded.

Anonymous said...

I just saw a dart ball game in Toledo, Ohio at the P.R.C.U.A. club, their foul line is 25ft from the board. Throwing a 2oz wood dart 25ft and hitting the target is not easy, but a lot of fun.

Anonymous said...

I live in Hunterdon county N.J.
and have been playing darts in a church dart league for about 20 years now. Our board is similar but not quite the same. Our league has been around since the 50's and we are now down to five teams. We can throw overhand or underhand. Most of our darts weigh from 22 grams up to 40 grams. Not too many people use wooden darts in our league. We stand 25 feet from the board.

Phil said...

I play dartball in what may be the oldest league in existence. This year we are celebrating 75 years of dartball in Peoria, IL. I've played over 50 years, and we have some that have played over 60 years! Love your website. Would like to hear from other leagues that claim to be older. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I came across your page. I am on the Wisconsin State Dartball Committee. We have a web site that has a lot of imformation about dartball and dartball leagues from all over the country. I would like to add your league info to our web site. Any chance you could send me a picture of your dartboard, or see if it is already shown on our web site? Please check out our site. You can contact me through our web site: Thanks, Scott Peterson Green Bay, WI

Pat Houseworth said...

Phil and Scott...thanks for stopping by. Our Wabash Valley League began in 1938 for Lutheran Churches in the just 4 Lutheran(one Mizzou and 3 ELC) and 4 of our top players Martin Fancke is 92 years old, an original member of the league and still is shooting well over .350.

Phil, I used to live in Wausau(wife is from Oconomowoc) and will add your site to my mail list.

Pat Houseworth said...

Should say Scott, I will add your site...thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hermit: Must be... hear in eastern PA, we have two dart baseball leagues in the same area (Bethlehem Inter-Church Dart Baseball League [started in 1930] and the Suburban Inter-Church Dart Baseball League [1954], both based in Bethlehem, PA [the Bethlehem league is the senior of the two]).

Both leagues have about a dozen teams each year. In the early spring, there is an All-Star game between the two leagues with the top 2 players from each team attending. Then, after both leagues decide their own individual champion, there is a best of five Lehigh Valley Championship.

PRH: It looks like you use the same darts (#2), but we play with a different type of board... I have to get an image of it and post it for you...

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I am a fan of dartball also i been only playing for 3 years but my uncle has been playing 72 years now

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Anonymous said...

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