You've seen regular darts. You've seen rubber tipped darts. You've seen lawn darts. But have you seen magnetic darts? You probably have, it's not like they are insanely rare or were invented yesterday. But have you seen Tar Heel magnetic darts? That's the question.
This is the first in a summer series of Tar Heel themed games and activities.
The Story Behind the Object
During my junior year at Carolina, my roommate and I played a game we referred to simply as "the points game." At any time, and for any reason, we would compete for points, which we tallied on a white board on the bathroom door. Whoever had the least points at the end of the month owed the other $5. Or lunch at CiCi's Pizza. I don't actually remember. It was an inconsequential amount of money or item that to a college student seemed like a million dollars.
When I say we competed "at any time and for any reason," I mean at any time and for any reason. Sure, we would randomly play a game of Trivial Pursuit for four points or race to Chase Cafeteria (RIP Chase) for two points, but I was also once awarded a point for taking the trash down three flights of stairs to the dumpster and being back in our room in under 55 seconds. In retrospect, that may have just been my roommate's clever ruse for getting me to take out the trash, but it was worth it for the point. However, by far the most frequent method of point awarding was a competitive game of magnetic darts.
The dart board belonged to my roommate, and one side of it featured your classic dartboard arrangement, while the other was a more logical layout - concentric circles, with the bulls eye being worth 100, the circle around it being worth 80, and so on all the way down to the last circle earning 20 points. That's the side we used almost exclusively. Often we would play a round with the highest score earning a point or two. Sometimes it would be best of five or seven. Toss in an occasional double or nothing. The possibilities were endless, really.
Side story: we had a suite mate named Junkyard. That wasn't his real name, but I am being 100% sincere when I say I have no idea what his real name actually was. I think it started with a C. Anyway, Junkyard was a big dude with a strong arm who would sometimes come try his hand at the darts. Let's just say he hadn't honed his skills to the same level my roommate and I had and, long story short, by the end of the year we had to re-paint the door to our room due to all the chipped paint caused by errant Junkyard throws that completely missed the dart board.
Side story two: our junior year my roommate got a ticket to the basketball game against Kentucky via the old student lottery system, but I did not. It was the only time in my college career, aside from the Duke game my sophomore year, in which I didn’t manage to procure a ticket to a game through the lottery system. The night before the game I came into our room from brushing my teeth and the roommate was already in his bed with the light off. It was pitch black in the room. I asked him if I threw all six darts in the dark and scored 500 or more points (virtually impossible with the lights on, let alone off) if I could have his Kentucky ticket. He said sure.
I threw a 520. A 520. I don't know how impressed you are right now, but I can assure you it is not the appropriate level of impressed. A 520 was ludicrous, and I threw it in the freaking dark. Yet after that amazing accomplishment, he did not give me his ticket because he was a big fat liar. Somehow my then girlfriend/now wife wound up getting an extra ticket and I got into the game anyway, but I've still never forgiven that big fat lying jerk.
Carolina Collectibles Description
Speaking of my wife, a couple of years after we got married, she gave me my very own Tar Heel themed magnetic dartboard, which I’m sharing here today. There are two primary differences between this board and the board I described from my college days. First, this one has interlocking NCs on it, while the other was a non-logoed board that a fan of any school could use. Point, new board. Second, this one only has the classic style dartboard, with no concentric circle version on the back. Point, old board.
As far as functionality, it's probably the next best thing to real darts. And with young kids in the house, I don't think I need real darts laying around ("You'll put your eye out, kid!"). You're also far less likely to poke holes in your wall with this version. I would rate it above the rubber tipped dart options, as in my experience with those boards there are too many instances of the dart not staying on the board because it hits in precisely the wrong place, causing it to fall to the floor. The one downside is that the magnets sometimes alter the second or third throws. If you hit too close to where a dart is already positioned, that dart will sometimes draw the new dart toward it, leaving them on the board as shown in the picture below.
Also, you may find it helpful to hang the board using a hook (which will leave the board just a quarter inch or so off the wall) as opposed to using a screw (which will leave the board flush against the wall). There are two small problems with the back of the board touching the wall. First, when the darts hit the board they are much louder, so if you have sleeping children or studying roommates, you may want to avoid that. Second, it sometimes causes the dart to hit the board and then slide down an inch or so or completely fall off the board. This seldom happens when there is space between the board and the wall. (I don't know why that is, but my guess is the easiest explanation is "science").
Carolina Collectibles Comparison: Elijah Hood
This dart board is good for a nice change of pace from a flashier, more predominant game (such as billiards) before being abandoned again for an extended period of time. That may be more true in my home than others, as the board is somewhat hidden behind a door in my bonus room and therefore easily forgotten.
Carolina Collectibles Rating: 4 stars
This is a fun, inexpensive item that brings both joy and aesthetic pleasure to the room. Its thirty-ish dollar price point makes it a great product to buy for yourself without needing to consult your significant other first, as well as a nice-but-not-too-nice gift for that Tar Heel sibling, cousin, or friend who seems to have everything.