Bull^s-eye! Sharp-eyed teen sticks to his plan of a dart career
If Scott Frazier Jr. challenges you to a game of darts, you might think you have a shot at beating him. After all, the kid is only 14.
How good can he be? Pretty darn good.
At least good enough to spend about two or three weekends each month traveling the dart tournament circuit with his dad, Scott Frazier Sr. and stepmother, Desiree.
Scott Jr. comes by his aptitude for darts naturally. His father has been playing for about 28 years, playing in five or six different leagues and is currently the vice president of the Southern Maryland Dart League.
His son, an incoming freshman at Maurice J. McDonough High School this fall, started playing when he was about 8, he didn^t get serious about it until he was 11. Now he competes against other teens in tournaments all over the country.
The family has been to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and other places, along the way making friends and forming a family of sorts.
They know people who go by the nicknames of the Dragon, the Fat Man, the Razor, Bulldog and Big Daddy.
"Even thought people are [at a tournament] to earn points, it^s still a big family," Scott Sr. said. "It^s a no-drama sport."
"There^s a sportsmanship in darts unlike you^ll find in other sports," she said. "You can shoot terribly, but people will still come up to you and tell you you^ll do better next time."
"Normally in darts you can come back if you^re behind," Scott Jr. said.
The Fraziers are purists when it comes to darts. While "soft tip" dart throwing is gaining popularity, they remain loyal to the British take on the sport with "steel tip" darts and a cork board.
When they added on to their Waldorf home, Scott Sr. made sure the addition was big enough to accommodate a practice space for the three.
Not that there is a set schedule to step up to the tape and throw. Instead, according to Scott Jr., he really buckles down on his throwing when a tournament is on the horizon.
Desiree said if her stepson is having a bad day at the dartboard, he might grumble away to play video games or help out with the family^s side business of running an eBay store. But he^ll return to the dartboard soon enough, practicing and trying to hit his marks.
With Scott Sr. and Desiree also playing in tournaments, they don^t worry too much about Scott Jr. tagging along. The shared interest has brought the family closer and has other benefits.
"Traveling around, meeting different people, it^s exciting," Scott Jr. said.
"He doesn^t do this if his grades aren^t up," cautioned Scott Sr., adding that his son brings home A-heavy report cards and will be in 11th-grade level math when he begins ninth grade. The father has also noticed a level of maturity in his son that some of Scott Jr.^s peers might not possess.
"He is more focused," Scott Sr. said. "Darts is 90 percent mental. You have to be able to block things out and focus. Scott^s a natural."
There are times when his father and stepmother head to tournaments on their own, which is cool with Scott Jr. He likes to spend time with his mother, Kimberly Wright, at her Lusby home (his sister, Susan, 18, is a criminal justice major in college and has little interest in darts).
For a kid who likes math and has already figured on becoming an engineer in the future, the scholarships offered to youth competitors at the Winmau World Youth World Cup contests might come in handy, but Scott Jr. isn^t going to forget his pastime is a game.
"It^s fun," he shrugged, but he never really loses focus on the future. "I^d like to win the youth national^s one day."