Remembering an old friend

With a smoky haze hovering above them from smoldering cigarettes in ashtrays on tables that also were holding an assortment of beverages behind them, an array of people made their way to Woodbury Hall with two things in common: to play darts and remember the man known as Gordie Dunville.
It was the Gordie Dunville Memorial Mixed Darts Classic last weekend, with the Fort Frances Legion being the setting for the fifth-annual event that once again was an overwhelming success.
Almost every category had close to, if not, a full field.
“We put this on to remember him for one of the things he really loved and that was darts,” said Norris Piccinato, who has been an organizer right from the beginning.
Like a gunslinger in the Old West, Dunville used to carry his darts with him wherever he went—always looking for a willing opponent he could compete against or someone he could teach.
“He enjoyed the game to have fun, and would play someone who had never even thrown a dart before and would teach them about the game and would never criticize you,” said Lance Halstead, who also has been an organizer since the tournament began.
“He carried his darts all over the place, and he would play anyone,” added Piccinato.
Glen Westover, who was president of the local Legion a year after Dunville held the position from 1992-’93, agreed.
“He was a very ardent dart player, and he carried his darts 365 days a year,” said Westover, sitting in the lounge of the Legion in front of one area dedicated to recognizing the club’s presidents.
And there was Dunville in a nicely-framed photograph. There he was in a dark suit fitted over his broad shoulders while giving a chuckle that would bring a smile to someone who didn’t even know the man known for his laugh.
He passed away in his early 60s as cancer claimed yet another casualty, and when it came down to deciding how to remember a man, whose company was enjoyed wherever he went, the Legion only thought it suiting to stage a good ol’ dart tournament.
“We put this to remember him for one of the things he really loved and that was darts,” said Piccinato.
The game of darts has been around longer than Dick Clark, and its enduring popularity reveals it to be a sport that combines talent, skill, and even a bit of luck.
It is unique in that it is a game of many options—and many possibilities.
You can shoot for a triple-20 on one throw, and then a bull’s eye on another, but if you’re coming down to the wire in a game of “301,” then a double one may be required.
It was because of this uniqueness that Dunville loved darts, and it was because of his uniqueness as a person that Dunville is now remembered through darts.
“He was a super all-around guy and everyone liked him, and that’s why this tournament always has a good turnout,” said Halstead.
< *c>Results
Friday—Luck of the Draw winners were Mike McPherson (Fort Frances) and Steve Luoma (International Falls)
Saturday—Mixed doubles winners were Craig and Vanessa Berry (Thunder Bay) while the mixed team champs were John Rutherford, Kim Dodd, Dwight Cormier, and Karen Coroscil (Thunder Bay)