She says she can hardly see the darts board, but she is off to represent New Zealand Darts at the Winmau world singles darts masters, so Desi Mercer must be doing something right.
“I’ve got terrible eye sight. I’m a scorer’s worst nightmare, honestly. I’m constantly saying ‘is that 40?’ and then I find out I’ve actually hit 120 and get all excited,” Mercer said.
Mercer, who is ranked second in New Zealand, was thrilled to be heading to Bridlington in England for the tournament but admitted it had not properly sunk in yet.
“I’m really calm about it. I keep thinking I’ll get more excited about it all once I’m over there.
“Ever since this tournament has come about I’ve been adamant, saying ‘I want to go’ and it’s finally happening.”
She was preparing for the tournament the same as any of her previous ones – she had no expectations.
“I’ve never had any expectations going into any tournaments. It seems to be working OK for me so far.
“I don’t think anybody is unbeatable so I don’t expect anything.”
The way darts was played in the United Kingdom differed from New Zealand.
“You have to register for the tournament and be there the whole time among other things – the competition will be very tough,” Mercer said.
As a warm-up for the tournament, she would compete in the South of England British Open.
She would then go on to compete in the final Lakeside qualifier to make the last 16 players.
“Anybody who knows anything about darts knows how big Lakeside is. If I qualify for that I will be flown back over in January to compete in it where it will be televised.”
New Zealand Darts Council secretary Paula Masoe said the council was proud to be sending a player of Mercer’s calibre to represent it.
“Desi is a very good player and popular with all dart players around New Zealand. She sets goals and works hard to achieve them,” she said.
Mercer was attending the competitions with three other players from New Zealand.
“We are proud to send as many players as we can,” Masoe said.
Mercer began competing in darts when she was about 19 but quit for eight years when she had children.
“I coached their softball and got involved in that area a lot more. The break was the best thing I ever did for me.”
This year was her fourth year back on the competitive darts circuit after being dragged back by one of her friends. However, her practice regime had not changed.
“I don’t practice. I probably only practice about five minutes before I go out to compete,” Mercer said.
“People always ask how many hours I practice and they look at me like I’m crazy when they realise I don’t practice very much. I don’t have time for that.”