It’s tough for a sportsman who has played at an elite level in two different disciplines, especially when the first sport brings out a competitive side that a second sport doesn’t really welcome.
Gerwyn Price became the PDC pantomime villain with the crowd at events up and down the country, even over the Irish Sea, some of it was brought on by what he said but most of it was from what he did on stage. Sundays final against Gary Anderson, someone who had a previous gripe with Price, was quick to show how other players react to those issues on the oche.
Price was a very good rugby player only eight years before becoming the PDC World Champion, including having a brief spell with Glasgow Warriors, these ‘Hype Up’ antics would have been welcomed in a dressing room before going out on to the field. This is different though, this is Darts.
The Iceman, outspoken and confident in his own ability takes all the booing and negative comments in his stride and uses them to get him up for matches. The crowd can be relentless in how they jeer Price, in one match it was as he went to throw every single dart, nothing like the sport has seen before. Of course, this time was without the fans, but Anderson was still able to make his viewpoint clear and Price worked on that to give him an edge.
It’s not as if showmen haven’t been part of the resurgence of Darts since the PDC era started, Wayne Mardle was one of the most colourful players even though he wasn’t that prolific winning tournaments. That seemed to be fine. Peter Wright comes out with different coloured hair and crazy designs on clothing, again fans are fine with this. What is the issue with Price?
Price is enthusiastic, energetic and raring to show that he is the best, is that what the fans don’t like? Is that what some of the other players don’t like? It’s not like he’s been squeaky clean since becoming a professional player, having been fined for posts on social media about Anderson, and even bringing the game in to disrepute for gamesmanship in that match back in 2018, with players still complaining now that he slows the game up with his roars and fist pumps.
James Wade went through a stage of being ostracised by the crowd after disputes with Phil Taylor, other high-profile players and how he portrays himself during the games. Wade is still not a popular player with some fans now, if I’m honest I am one of those fans, it’s just seems that attention has moved to a new competitor.
In any sport, would you want the person who has just won a World Championship to change the way they were? No, that would be taking away from how they play the game. These factors are across all sports, everyone has someone they really don’t like for antics. This adds to the excitement, draws you in and even though you don’t realise it at the time, that person has made you more aware of what is going on within that sport.