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Simmons Says - Achieving perfection in sports
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Perfection is rare in sports, but sometimes it occurs. Usually when it does, people lose their minds.

The scene in Blackwood, England was raucous Thursday when Gary Anderson did what most other dart throwers dream of – he completed a nine-throw out. Anderson, otherwise known as “the Flying Scotsman,” threw the dart equivalent of the perfect game, hitting his mark nine straight times in a game of 501.
 
Anderson’s accomplishment perked up the newsroom at the Standard, where occasionally a dart game will break out. It is beyond most people’s wildest imagination to do what Anderson did – hit seven straight triple 20s before finishing with a triple 19 and double 12 (playing by the standard rule of having to throw a double to finish).

Most people are happy when they throw one bullseye. The Flying Scotsman scoffs at our feeble throws.

But is it more impressive than say, a perfect game in baseball? For sure, each are fairly uncommon. There have only been 52 aired nine-dart finishes in the last 40 years, while there have been only 23 recorded perfect games in the history of Major League Baseball.

It’s hard to compare though, as darts are solely dependent on the thrower, while baseball relies on all nine players – and sometimes the umpires too.

Armando Galarraga lost a perfect game in 2010 when an umpire blew a call at first base on the final out, forever becoming the legacy of Galarraga and Jim Joyce, the umpire who offered a teary-eyed apology after seeing the replay.

Nobody around these parts will likely ever make it to the big leagues and have a chance at a perfect game, but what about some smaller feats? Could somebody dedicate a year to a craft and be perfect at it once?

The office narrowed it down to three individual accomplishments: the nine-dart out in 501, bowling a 300 and hitting a hole-in-one. Which would be the easiest?

Simple math says bowling would be the toughest. It requires 10 perfect frames – including three rolls on the last frame. Darts requires nine throws – including a variety of ways to get to 501. A hole-in-one on say, the par-3, No. 17 at McMinnville Country Club, takes just one tremendous swing.

And yet there are golfers who play their entire lives and never have that perfect swing. Bowlers also hit the lanes for years and never get past a turkey as their greatest accomplishment.

Perfection is likely unattainable for most avid athletes, but it’s not impossible. Just ask the Flying Scotsman.