DAN WILLIAM PEEK
SPECIAL TO PHILLYDARTS.COM
In a pre-interview chat this spring, a television reporter asked me what
it was like to be a “published author”. I responded with something
about it being pretty much the same as being any other kind of author
and moved the dialogue back toward the issue that had brought me to her
studio; my book, “To The Point: The Story of Darts in America”.
Since then I have fielded variants of that question several times and I
have yet to formulate what I would consider a satisfactory response.
I’ve been thinking about it though, and I have concluded that one of the
best ways to convey what it is “like” to have written a book about the
sport of darts in America is to share a small sampling of my email
correspondence of the past few months.
Late in February, I got an email from a darts shooter in California
named Linda. She said she had ordered my book on-line and had not yet
received it. She had gotten my email address from a friend who had been
at one of the dart tournaments my wife, Joy, and I visited. Linda was
writing to tell me that Javier Gopar, a champion darts shooter in the
1970’s who is mentioned in the book, was gravely ill and in the
hospital. She wanted to know if it would be possible to get a book
personally autographed to him. Of course it was, I arranged for a book
to be sent out that day.
The next week, Linda wrote to tell me that she had gotten her copy of
the book and was reading it. She had been a regular darts shooter in the
1980’s but had not shot much since then, she said. “I am enjoying the
book. You did a wonderful job”. She also noted that Javier had gotten
his copy and was very glad to see it.
On June 27, 2002, I got an email from Linda saying that Javier had
passed away. In the weeks before he died, she wrote, Javier and his
family had gotten to look at the book together.
I want to publicly thank Linda for thinking of Javier – and for thinking
of me. Several of the people I wrote about in “To The Point” died before
I could finish the book. I had met some of them - Philadelphians Rae
Chesney and Charlie Young come to mind – others I had only corresponded
with or spoken with on the telephone. But I know the book would have had
special meaning for all of them.
It means a lot to me to know that Javier Gopar and his family were able
to look through “To The Point” together before he died. They would have
seen the photograph of the cover of the 1976 issue of “International
Spider” which featured Javier when he was named “Darter of the Year”
(page 172 of “To The Point”). I’m sure they enjoyed reading about the
“summer of ‘76” darts scene in California (Chapter 27 of the book).
About two weeks after Linda’s email, I got my copy of “Bull’s Eye
News”. I was glad to see a wonderful tribute to Javier on page 9 of the
dart player’s magazine. One of the defining characteristics of a sport
is that those who have played well and honorably are remembered, and
On June 19, 2002, I received an email from amazon.com telling me that
they had deleted some remarks that had recently been entered on their
website. “These comments have been removed from our database and will
shortly disappear from the web site. We do exert some editorial control
over our customer reviews…. (those) that fall outside (of amazon.com)
guidelines are removed.”
Amazon.com has professional editorial standards and had emailed to
inform me that they were enforcing said standards. Mark Twain once said
“always do the right thing – this will gratify some people and astonish
the rest”. My reaction to amazon.com’s action was somewhere between
these two responses.
The story behind this email is that on June 10, 2002, a former Executive
of the American Darts Organization posted some remarks in the “book
review” form on the amazon.com website. I am withholding the
individual’s identity in an attempt to preserve their dignity and out of
respect for the ADO and the sport of darts. But I will here address the
only issues of fact in the posted remarks: this individual’s statement
that we had “never met” and that I had contacted the ADO office only
“about one specific piece of information.”
It has been several years ago now, and I may not be the most memorable
personality in the world, but the former Executive and I did meet at a
mid-1990’s Witch City Open. I conducted a lengthy mid-morning interview
with this individual in the ballroom of the Marriott Hotel in
Sometime thereafter, I conducted a telephone interview with Katie Harris
of the ADO. I subsequently conducted a fact checking, second interview
with Katie. Both the former Executive and Katie were helpful and
cooperative each time I spoke with them. They were both somewhat guarded
in their responses to my questions, but I thought they did a good job of
representing the ADO which was, at that time in a somewhat turbulent
period of transition.
Let me note that, in my opinion, the ADO is a fine organization, which I
recognize and acknowledge in my book as the prime mover of the sport of
darts in the USA in the latter half of the 20th Century.
I will give the former Executive the benefit of the doubt. As we grow
older, our memories often fail us. I know mine has at times. This
individual apparently had forgotten not only our interview of several
years ago, but also our exchange of emails less than a year ago, just
prior to the publication of “To The Point: The Story of Darts in
America”. There was no mention made of that correspondence in the
remarks on amazon.com.
I want it to be very clear that I did not ask amazon.com to remove the
former Executive’s remarks from their website. I do agree with amazon’s
assessment of the deleted remarks – they certainly did not constitute a
This all begs the question – If amazon.com deleted the former
Executive’s remarks, then why bring them up here? The answer is really
pretty simple. Intentionally or not, the former Executive’s remarks were
an attempt, through insinuation, to call my integrity as a writer into
question. All a writer really has is the truth and good faith of his or
her word. Any attempt to impugn that truth and good faith cannot be
I will let amazon.com have the closing say on the matter. They removed
the former Executive’s remarks, their email stated, pursuant to
standards established “ to maintain the quality and integrity of (the
On April 6, 2002, I received an email from Kevin in Boston. Kevin said
that he had been shooting darts for the past 12 years in Boston’s Minute
Man Dart League. He had heard that I had written a book about the sport
of darts in America but had been unable to locate it online. I have,
from time to time, received similar inquiries. I emailed back giving him
the ISBN of the book (which is 1891708236). All books have an ISBN (it
stands for something like “International Standard Book Number”), which
is a foolproof tracking code. I also suggested that he search under my
full name, Dan William Peek.
“To The Point: The Story of Darts in America” is available in bookstores
nationwide (if they don’t have it in stock, furnishing them with the
ISBN will make it easy for them to order it). It is also available at
all the major online booksellers. I recommend checking allbookstores.com
and walmart.com for best prices.
I should note that the response to “To The Point” has been
overwhelmingly positive. The correspondence I have discussed in this
article represents only a fraction of the conversations and exchanges I
have had about my book with people from all around the globe. Being an
author of a book on the sport of darts in America has been a great
experience. Joy and I will be visiting Philadelphia again in
and we are looking forward to having another terrific time doing some
darts pub-hopping and hobnobbing then.
My next article for
PhillyDarts.com will be about Al “The Iceman”
Lippman, the owner of a Fishtown tavern, who became a legend in the
international darts scene of the 1970’s.
I look forward to
seeing your views and comments in the PhillyDarts.com
On Point Forum. Until then, Good darts and