Rachel Persaud

Staff Writer

The first day that I arrived here at the Blue Ridge Center, I was instructed that, as a Virginian, I am not to participate in something called the “dart game”. I wasn’t not raptly attentive to the list of do’s and do not’s because I thought they were all fairly typical and common sense. However, this one comment brought me back to the conversation. One of our veterans then explained this widely spread game to me. One of the first thoughts I had was why would anyone willingly lie upon the ground, in the dirt, immersed in the heat, in some of their best clothes? On Saturday, as everyone began to arrive, I witnessed people dropping like flies. As a media delegate and curious person in general, I decided to explore it. Here are some specifics that I’ve gathered.

Drew Baker, a veteran from Florida described it as fun, while acknowledging that it was definitely a “local flavor”. The rules of play were enumerated to me and for the interested they are copied below. This outgoing and knowledgeable veteran went on to tell me that darting someone is overwhelming better than being darted yourself. Specifically there is “no greater feeling”. When questioned about the history, Drew revealed to me that this very game is played on the other side of the Mountain at a Youth Camp located at the Mt. Montreat Presbyterian College

Rules According to Florida’s Drew Baker

  1. Must be within 10 feet
  2. Must call the person’s name
  3. Cup hand to mouth as if “Dart gun” was held
  4. Blow said “dart”
  5. The darted must then fall to the floor, preferably in a dramatic fashion.
  6. Once darted a fellow delegate has the responsibility to “save” the fallen by swiping his/her neck and/or tagging that person.

Alan Lee from South Carolina, when interviewed, affirmed the above rules, while adding that overall it comes down to tradition. Lee is willing to dramatically “die” in his best clothes, simply because it’s tradition, something that is “as old and recognized as the green chairs that populate these grounds”.

Michigan’s veteran delegate Somali Patel holds the game in high regard. In her own words, the dart game is “awesome…it adds some fun and is a great icebreaker”. She also confided that the most enjoyable is nailing the “newcomers”. When asked if she minds having to lie on the ground in suits or skirts, Patel admitted that she’s sort of a hypocrite when it comes to the game. Darting people is great but when it comes to being darted, she rarely lies down without some sort of complaint.

Chandler Pruitt from Texas told me that she adores the dart game and doesn’t mind having to lay down when hit. She, too, chalks it up to tradition, something that’s always, to the best of her knowledge, been on the mountain. In fact, Pruitt has her own version of the game with the Texan Youth Governor. In this version, if one of them were to dart each other, or vice versa, instead of falling to the ground, they run as fast as they can to bestow great bear hugs.

Spencer Perry, the Californian Youth Governor affirmed that it “spices CONA up” and “really lightens the mood on hot days”. He had heard that it was the South Carolinians that brought the dart game to the mountain and from there “it spread like wildfire”. Perry does accede that the game is sometimes a “pain” in that “you’re always playing”.

Ryan Washington, returning from the District of Columbia, holds the same beliefs as all of the other delegates while expressing a mixture of disbelief and pity at the knowledge that my participation is forbidden. After expressing his condolences, he emphasized that, besides tradition, it really emphasizes and furthers the unity of diverse delegates

After collecting all of these testimonies, I questioned my advisor why it’s something we don’t do. Mark Mingee responded that “Virginians do not discourage anyone, besides the gentlemen and gentleladies from the Commonwealth of Virginia, playing the dart game”. Mingee goes on to say that, as Virginians we are encouraging that more people join the revolution, the anti-darting/anti-chanting revolution proclaimed by our shirts. According to Sharon Davies, another one of the Virginian advisors, it’s unnecessary. In her opinion, the widespread trading is much better and more effective in getting to know more people. Ultimately, I found while it is a past time enjoyed by most everyone here, with us the restriction hardly matters. A small survey taken from my fellow gentlemen and gentleladies, ten of our eleven delegates (including myself) would not participate, even if our restriction did not exist.