Fun day celebrates life of dart league organizer
"Nancy brought the Yuma Dart League from infancy and kept all the books and everything running smoothly," said Joan Simons, Nancy^s mother. "Her heart and soul were to bring that dart league to where it was."
Now in its ninth year, the dart tournament is scheduled as close as possible each year on the anniversary of Nancy^s death from melanoma on July 22, 2000. This year it will be held Saturday at American Legion Post 19, 2575 S. Virginia Drive, with signs-ins at 11 a.m. and the competition beginning at noon.
The pool of prize money is $1,500 spread among the top six teams of two players, with the winners earning $700. The entry fee is $15 if pre-registered, or $20 on the day of the tournament. Refreshments are available for an additional $5. Those interested may pre-register at 782-4204 or 344-2364.
The tournament is run as a "blind draw" that pairs teams by numbers drawn from a hat in an attempt to keep teams evenly matched. All proceeds benefit the Melanoma Research Foundation. Last year they raised $8,000, which was donated to a research grant at the University of Arizona, Simons noted.
In addition to darts, there will be karaoke so players waiting for their turn can keep busy - not only because Nancy loved karaoke but also because it livens up the tournament, Simons explained. Previously up to 100 participated and arrived from as far away as El Centro, Brawley and Phoenix.
The tournament focuses on fun, and players do not have to be experts, Simons stressed. Yet it was Nancy who encouraged the Yuma Dart League to participate in the National Dart Association international tournament in Las Vegas every May, with the Yuma ladies team taking first place one year, she recalled.
Nancy was just 28 when she had an abnormal mole removed and was told by her doctor that it was benign. But the following year a lump developed, which metastasized into melanoma. The treatment options for her type of illness were very limited once it reached that stage, Simons said.
Nancy had worked for AAA Amusements, which serviced jukeboxes and pool tables. It was the first job she held. She got it through the Cooperative Office of Education, a hands-on training program offered at her school, Kofa, as well as throughout the Yuma Union High School District.
"It was her only job and she loved it," Simons said. "She worked in the office as a bookkeeper."
Simons said Nancy was a caring and loving person who was always willing to help someone else.
"When she became ill, she fought it like a trooper and worked until two days before she died. She didn^t want anything to happen to her dart league, so she toughed it out."