A shot at top spot
The right opportunity, a clear mindset and razor-sharp skills are taking Patricia Farrell to London, England to participate in the World Masters tournament.
The Codroy Valley dart professional is no stranger to the sport or to competition, but this year she feels confident enough to take her skills all the way.
Farrell has been playing darts for a very long time, and 2016 marks her 30th at national level competition.
“The invitation to the World Masters is really exciting,” said Farrell. “This has been a good year for me. I have attended a lot of tournaments and have had a lot of practice… So maybe this is my chance.”
Getting that invitation isn’t easy. About eight tournaments, which are world ranking, are held throughout the year. It’s a ranked system, with the highest being considered the best in the nation.
Farrell has been Number 1 in Canada for the past two years.
Winners in the single men’s and women’s divisions are offered the invitation. Farrell earned hers in Halifax in March. She finished Number 1 in women’s singles, and David Cameron of Nova Scotia was tops in men’s singles.
She knows playing against the world’s best will be intimidating. In fact, it isn’t her first shot at it. Farrell attended the World Masters four or five times before 1999 and her best was in the Top 16.
No woman from Canada has earned the masters title before.
“It’s very competitive and you have to perform right off the getgo,” she said. “It’s best of five and when you lose you are out. I may be travelling there to play one match, you don’t know.”
But that isn’t going to keep her from going. Farrell is thrilled about the opportunity to represent Canada and to play among the best in the world.
“When I step up to the toe line, it’s just me and the dartboard,” said Farrell. Focus is on her game alone.
She knows the mental part of her game is important, and considers practice to be the most important thing in preparing herself for world competition.
“If I win, I win … If I lose, I lose,” said Farrell. “I think with that attitude, I have done more winning than anything.”
She has learned many things over the past 30 years, including not worrying about her opponent’s game.
“You generally know what they can shoot, but you can’t think about that,” she said. “You have to play your own game.”
At one time, Farrell — who’s currently ranked 50th in the world, learned a lesson in feeling bad for an opponent as well.
“It threw me right off knowing she could shoot better,” she said. “Her first few games were off and I started feeling bad for her.”
With Farrell’s mindset not on her own game, that opponent come back and ended up beating her. Confidence goes a long way in darts, she said. And practice is what makes her confident.
“You need to shoot your game in 15, 18, 21 darts and if I can consistently keep at 18 darts then I have a good shot at it over there and feeling pretty confident,” said Farrell.
Besides participating in as many tournaments as possible, Farrell practices regularly at home with friends and family and at the two dart leagues in the Codroy Valley.
“When I head out Friday or Sunday evening, I always go an hour or more early to get in that extra practice,” said Farrell.
Getting to London
If Farrell is not afraid to admit one thing about her passion, it’s that it comes at a high cost.
Word of Farrell’s invitation to the World Masters spread like wildfire. Thanks to the power of social media, many knew about it quite quickly, and wanted to support her opportunity.
Farrell up until recently has been able to keep a pretty low profile.
A tournament will be held on April 23 to help alleviate some of the cost for her.
“I was so blown away with the support from the community,” she said. “It’s totally awesome they want to help out… For me, to go, to play, to wear that Canada dart shirt – it’s what I look forward to the most.
“If I do well, that will be a big bonus … I couldn’t do it without the support.”
Patricia Farrell is preparing for World Masters, being held in London England in November.