When you place a few hundred darts players together in all one room, you begin to realize that the game is made up of many different types of personalities. Your most prominent traits from that of the Pro’s and non-Pro’s alike are confidence, arrogance, ego. This is not to say that these are wrong emotions to emit. I am a firm believer that everyone who competes must have a strong belief in themselves if they are to survive the rat race that is competitive darts.
There is one person that dispels this theory however, and that exception to the rule comes in the form of a most humble lady dart player, that I have ever been graced to have met. Her name is Robin Curry.
This unassuming forty-nine year old powerhouse currently hails from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Her hometowns are both Toronto and Nova Scotia, having moved around a bit as her parents went where the work would take them.
Previously working as a courier for DHL, Robin has been blessed with the current opportunity to basically just play darts and compete. For any dart player this is truly a feat that we all envy, men and women alike. However given that the payouts for ladies are much smaller than the men and she has no monetary sponsorship to speak of, it makes her success in the game all the sweeter.
Robin was introduced to darts around 26 years ago by her brother when she went out with him on an evening venture to the Scottish Club shortly after moving to Peterborough from Toronto. Not long thereafter she joined a league at the Club. She explained that this league didn’t have normal divisions, given they would blind draw teams, and then to ensure that there was an equal balance throughout players might swapped out to other teams.
Shooting with a 26g Bottlesen barrel and Jeff Pickup points, Robin is currently playing in the Salt City Dart League out of Syracuse, New York, travelling four hours to get there. She states, “Since I’m not working and I always have a place to stay down there, it works for me”.
Success at local events as well as having another female in the league to travel with propelled her into a life of nomadic roaming and competing, making her one of the greatest women players to ever hit the Canadian scene. She stated, “Once I had someone to go with I was hooked. I love to drive, I enjoy driving, it gives me time to think and process things, and I love traveling.”
Robin doesn’t really practice full time, she does say before a tournament she ramps up the practice and is in front of the board quite a bit, however outside of tournament preparation she’ll give about two hours a week. She says, “I play from my heart and I will myself to succeed. I think positive and just believe it is going to go in. Nothing is impossible. Never give up.”
I did ask Robin if there was anything irksome in her game and she said “I would like to take my heart out of the game to make it a more physical game, and to play the board not the player. Just get it done and it doesn’t matter if the opponent is a good or not so good player. You should just shoot the same way each time. She further went on to say, “I tend to just win,and I don’t really get noticed. Given my confusion on this statement, Robin further went on to explain that what she meant by the comment is that, “I methodically plug along and before you know it I am in the final with not a lot of fanfare. That is more of what I meant to say”. I think that an audience watching Robin move from round to round in an event feels the fanfare of her success, even if Robin herself doesn’t realize it.
With a current Canadian rank of #2, 2 points behind #1 Cindy Pardy in the National Darts Federation of Canada as reported on the official ranking list of September 1st 2011; and an international ranking of 12th with the World Darts Federation, Robin has many accomplishments with which she can feel pleased about, but she spoke a little bit about her proudest moments and said, “First time I won provincials in Ontario. It was a win that brought me to tears in 2005. I was a runner up previously to that in both 1999 and 2004. 2005 was a whirl wind year, it was the same year I won the trip to represent Canada at the World Cup in Perth, Australia.”
She further explained however that, “I think the most emotional time would have been when I won the Canadian Nationals. It was in 2009, and that year I won the Ladies Doubles, Ladies Singles and Mixed Doubles. That is known as the Triple Crown, and it doesn’t happen too often. “After my singles win, Team Ontario presented me with the dart board from the stage and I couldn't even talk. It was a very special week for me. I was also presented with female athlete of the year. It seemed like every day I was choking back the tears.”
Early this summer Robin added one more accomplishment to her resume, beating out Cindy Veith of Nova Scotia for the Ladies 501 Singles title at the Canadian Open. She also proudly shared that getting to the final of this event also included taking out a 170.
Robin says that she can’t exactly remember her most frustrating moment but she’s pretty sure that if she could remember, “it would have be something surrounding not hitting a double”.
On the topic of missing doubles, I asked Robin about how she handles those moments immediately following the match that she may have lost and let herself down, and she replied, “I like to go for a walk, not a long walk, but to mostly just remove myself from the room. You need time to process what just happened”.
She than continued on that her worst enemy comes from within, “It’s me, myself, I am my worst enemy. I internalize more than I should. Women’s darts can sometimes be a crap shoot. Bad luck can beat you. I try not to give the opportunity to my opponent to beat me and if they do, than I didn’t seize an opening or they may have simply outshot me. Sometimes though the darts don’t look very pretty but it works.”
On the flip side of all of this when Robin is performing well and making her way through the rounds of an event, she fills in the time between matches by going off to just sit down and relax. She doesn’t have the best knees in the world and likes to take the pressure off of them. If there’s been a long gap in the event, I’ll get up and throw a few, but over all I just try to stay calm and relaxed, maybe go off to the bar, and just not fret about anything.
Well who can blame her for not fretting about anything when she not only has her own incredible talent to rely on, but she has doubles partners that are world class in their own rights. Shooting ladies doubles with American Cali West, and mixed doubles with (also American), Jimmy Widmayer as the opportunities arise, Robin is usually going to have dynamic results in any tournament she attends.
Throughout Robin’s travels there have been two tournaments that have struck a cord with her as she goes on to say, “I really do enjoy Las Vegas, however Nashville is also becoming a favorite. It’s got that small town feel that I love.”
As the conversation turned to discussing her early years and who she most respected and still respects to this day, it came as no surprise that Robin being the 6th lady I’ve interviewed, that the response would again be the illustrious Kathy Maloney, icon and idol to many a female competitor through the years. Robin went on to explain why she chooses Kathy, “she was at the tippy tippy top of her game when I started doing the tournament circuit. She was just as good as the guys. She was a professional, doing what she had to do on the board, and she was just very very very good. Her style was extremely slow, and the dart would always just go in.”
Robin spends a decent amount of time in the United States, but I wanted to know her thoughts on the NDFC (National Dart Federation of Canada), so she said, “I think they do a good job, they are trying to do live streaming. Katherine Haycock and Rick Smith work for Bell Canada, so they have the know how and capability to do it. I think it’s doing really well, and it’s cool for us who aren’t use to television cameras.”
Wanting to separate the seriousness of competition versus the fun experienced at tournaments, Robin shared that “lately I’ve had to play more to win and pay the bills, so I find it fun sitting around talking, reminiscing and just finding out who people are on a more personal level. I really do enjoy talking to people.”
She further went on saying that early on darts was fun because she was good at it. She had never been good at sports before, and bad knees kept her from trying to be competitive in most fields, so in darts she found her nitch. Summoning this up in one statement she said, “I finally found a home”.
Robin has also embarked into soft tip from time to time, and says that she does enjoy the game. “I think just because it’s totally different than steel. I don’t think I’d take it up on a full time basis, and I don’t think it’s fair that a bounce out counts, but I do like it overall, and I have played a tournament in Waterloo.”
It is very important to understand that Robin Curry isn’t just an incredible dart player, rather she is a gentle person who wants to take care of people, she wants to do things for others. She loves to bird watch, enjoys yard work and is an avid animal lover. If she were to go back to work at this time, her dream job would be something around animals. She loves comedies and documentaries, and mostly enjoys movies based on true events.
The vulnerability that she shared throughout this interview really touched me, as I had only spent brief periods of time with Robin face to face and on the board through the years, and never realized what a kind and tender person she truly is, and I am happy to report that Robin Curry plans to stay in darts as long as she has the ability to play, and promises that the darts will have to be pried out of her hands in order for her to stop.
Unbelievably shy, but approachable, she is so strong, but doesn’t realize it. She is an idol to many and simply doesn’t know it.
The dart world is definitely a better place for having this amazing woman as a top representative and influencer in not just her own country of Canada, but also here in the United States and beyond.
By Tina DiGregorio