So I Joined a Darts Team…

I was wandering around town my first weekend here in Shanghai and happened upon a bar called the British Bulldog. Five hours and two beers later (buy one get one free!) I had unofficially, verbally committed to the bar’s darts team. Three days later, on the eve of the one-week anniversary of my arrival in China, it became official and I legitimately became the rookie member of the Bulldogs. We played another team of expats at the Big Bamboo, which is apparently a pretty popular bar in these parts. It was a great night. I was the youngest player by far; everyone seemed to be in their thirties and up, and they were a lively, friendly group. A teammate of mine from Britain bought me my two beers for the night, and we had free food on the house! All for playing darts! Can it get better??

I wasn’t too nervous, even though it was my amateur-league debut. I ended up somehow winning both of my singles games, thankfully making up a huge margin in the first with a pair of lucky shots to end the game. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs came up short in the final game, where we had a chance to draw; I didn’t do so hot that round. It was all great fun. Why do I tell you this? Mostly because I’m eager to share how odd it is, when I look at it in a detached way. My roommate and I started playing darts over the summer, and I never imagined that it was through such a random pass-the-time activity that I would find something that could end up being a weekly highlight. People are like tree frogs; when we jump to a new place we tend to find somewhere to stick, and while usually we can predict where we’ll land, sometimes it totally takes us by surprise. I guess the niche I’ve landed in, at least as far as expat-non-church-friends-circles go, is the Darts community. To paraphrase Dave Eggers, because I can’t remember the quote from You Shall Know Our Velocity exactly, “It’s a small world for people like us.”

Next week, we’re playing at home. I should be getting my official team shirt by then. I’ll also be going for my first bullseye. You’ll have to be preparing yourself for a plethora of barely relevant dart/target/aim analogies in the next few blogs…

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