Competitive darts catches hold in Tampa

- For Zachary, it's much more than fun. He is the No. 1 ranked youth player in Florida and is going to Connecticut to compete against the best.

"The person who wins goes to England to play," Zachery said.

David Llerena is second in the state and has played for eight years.

"It's a competitive sport. There are a lot of emotions," he explained.

Tara Carrillo agreed, adding she takes those emotions to every game. She's been throwing darts for a year and is second best in Florida.

An English sport popularized in the 1800s is gaining popularity in America, and competitive dart throwing has gained a resurgence in the Bay Area.

David Tilley started the North Tampa Dart Association two years ago. It started as a social gathering of friends, but grew into something much more.  

"[Playing darts is] a great way to have a good time," Tilley said. "Darts is a fast growing sport, that there's 18 million dart players throughout the United States, and growing." 

Zachary Ponder is 16 and started playing the rapidly growing sport four years ago.

"My dad introduced me to it. I enjoyed it," Zachery said. "It's challenging, it's fun."

"Honestly, you have to have a steady hand, but most of it is mental," Tara said. "The strength of your brain will determined how well you do in the game."

Players say the sport becomes an addiction. Llerena admitted he finds himself building his life around tossing those feathery arrows.

"Most of my decisions are based on whether I am going to be able to play darts where I go," Lierna said.

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