James Wade on the rise of darts – from leisure centres to Madison Square Garden

If you want an indication of how darts has grown over the last few decades, there is no greater illustration than the World Series road trip that we have just been on.

There was a time when you had to pick towns careful in the UK to ensure that there were enough people wanting to watch you. We were playing in leisure centres with just a few hundred seats.

Now we are travelling the world and playing at some of the highest profile locations, like Madison Square Garden in New York, and filling venues in places like Australia and New Zealand. The opportunities now are greater than ever before.

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It was a mixed bag for me Down Under. I only had one last-16 defeat – against hometown hero Simon Whitlock – and reached a final in one of the events but I didn’t really do myself justice in terms of the way I can play, even though it feels very close.

The good news is that the 'real season' kind of starts now, so if I can kick on from that and do well in the World Series Finals, it will set me up for a good autumn and winter.

In the past, I have admitted that I am not a big practice addict, but I am really committed to putting in the hours away from the TV screen in the coming months to ensure that I am right on it when it matters.

In my past few columns, I have documented the new arrival in the Wade household, and it was great to get home and properly see little Alf, as well as Arthur and Samantha.

I really only saw him for a day before I jetted off and I was pining for them when I was away. Now I’m home Samantha is expecting me to do my fair share, so I have been busy looking at flights back to Australia (only joking, Samantha, if you are reading this!)

Can James Wade win a darts major this year? Tell us in the comments section below.

I love Arthur to bits and becoming a dad the first time around was the best thing that ever happened to me. To that end, I think I have gradually blocked any of the bad stuff out of my mind! I had certainly forgotten how tired you get, and I feel like I am ageing a year every day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the next month or so I am going to be rolling back the years and doing a bit more mechanic work. My YouTube channel Bullsite has had some requests for some automotive content, so I have made some videos of myself working on cars (I think people wanted to check if I really know what I am doing!) and then I am doing a tour of UK garages for my sponsor Falken to raise money for Bipolar UK.

Most people know that I don’t really like talking about darts. If you’ve seen my channel I recently took a darts quiz and did terribly. But I love to talk cars and I am looking forward to meeting the mechanics and customers and chatting about their work.

Keep your eye on my Twitter feed @jameswade180 over the next week or so as I will be announcing the stops and hopefully I might see some of you on my travels.


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