Well, here we find ourselves in April, 2012. Whilst the darting calendar has been hectic of late, with the usual Pro Tour excitement (every weekend is a brilliant weekend), World Championships drama (uh, Hello! Barney – Richardson!?), and the manic ups and downs of the current Premier League (oh Anderson! You’re playing with my emotions!), some of you will have noticed that I have gone a little quiet in recent months.

Around 2 years ago I started playing darts. Just under a year ago I began writing my little musings for Darts Mad. The local men’s and ladies leagues have just about drawn to close for another season, I have just completed my first season of Super League darts and have had my first taste of a County stage.

“What more is there?!” I hear you cry! It all sounds pretty good eh? My first post here at Darts Mad was titled “A Year Full of Firsts”, and the “firsts” just never end… My Husband and I are expecting our first baby! Any time in the next couple of weeks actually. So, whilst the darts is still on our telly every Thursday evening, and we continue to head out of the house – waddling, with darts in hand – on a Tuesday, Wednesday and occasional Friday, simultaneously we have been doing all the usual things to prepare for a little one, not to mention enduring the occasional physical struggles which have accompanied my increasing size.As most people will expect, with an ever-growing belly, darts hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind, which, if I’m honest has been a little bittersweet. Though a happy healthy baby with my Husband is all I could possibly ask for, it has been a little strange not prioritising darts after it has been such a big feature of our lives recently.

It has been odd in recent weeks not feeling the ability to commit to future darts dates – the unknowing of my health, the impending labour or even suddenly having a little person to focus on 100%, forces us to give the same response when asked if we’ll be at certain matches, competitions or exhibitions: “We’ll have to see,”.

Unfortunately I haven’t ended the seasons as I’d have liked – I lost my last match for the men’s league, though it was a fun night against a brilliant team. We lost the last competition in the ladies league and despite only losing a match all season, I hear we lost 1st place in the league on a leg. Regardless of my win in the last Super League match, as a team, we lost against very strong opponent, though I’m looking forward to the final 2 matches of the season. Finally, what should have been the experience of a life time, my first county match was an unsolicited nightmare!

It’s what every young girl dreams of… A big stage, bright lights, the sound of supporters cheering… and what’s all of that without a set of darts in hand?!

I won’t lie. I panicked. I was not cool with being on a stage. I did not like the lights. They were hot. And I was swollen. Though the cheers we’re massively appreciated, I was also not cool with being the centre of attention. Probably not the best place for an 8 month pregnant woman to be… However, I desperately wanted this. If I am in a room with a dart board, I just want to play darts. Here I was in a room where someone had thought I deserved to play darts for a county. Not just a team in a town, but a whole county. Me! Who would have thought it?!

So I thought of all the things that could possibly go wrong… The top of the list comprised; being sick, fainting, tripping up the steps, going into labour and playing badly. They were all about as bad as each other, and the way I saw it, was if I could get through this match without any those things happening it would be a massive success. My hospital bag wasn’t finished yet and at least if I played my best game and lost it would be an honest defeat.

Well. As it turned out, I didn’t go into labour but I did play badly. Very badly. In fact, it was the worst I’ve played for a long, long time. I couldn’t settle, couldn’t find my arm and definitely could not find the big 20 (That’s the BIG 20 – not even the treble, but the BIG 20!). When I came off the stage I fought the urge to beg my opponent for a rematch. I wanted to go again! This wasn’t fair! I wasn’t ready! NOW I’m ready! My feet were puffy by this point but I’d have given her a bloody good game if I could have just had another go! The frustration was unbearable.

My county team and their supporters are made up of some of the nicest and most encouraging people, which just made the loss all that more crushing. It is an awful feeling to let a team down and aside from the selfish self loathing and embarrassment of the situation, I walked away from that county weekend knowing that I could have played better – that I SHOULD have played better – and that I may never have another opportunity like the one I was given then.

In an ideal world I would love to balance being a perfect mother and wife, with work and being a darts player and blogger and tweeter and all around fabulous human being, but, for the early days at least, I’m going to have to say “We’ll have to see..” because The Mystery Lady is having a baby!

Editors note: Thanks and best wishes to Mr & Mrs Mystery Lady with their impending arrival, The Mystery Baby will be the third newborn in the last 6 months for members of the DartsMad team! There must be something in the tungsten……..

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