James Wade discovered long-lost relative during New York darts trip

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I am back from my American adventure. It feels like I have barely touched down on UK soil but I am getting my passport out again and heading to Copenhagen for the next leg of the Masters Series.

From there I will head to Berlin for the Premier League finals night and then making my way to Frankfurt for the World Cup of Darts, via a quick stop in Niedernhausen for two days of floor tournaments!

New York was certainly an unusual experience and many people have been asking me what happens around tournament time for a player, so I thought I would create a little diary to give you a glimpse…

Monday: Have been a little worried about the reports of carnage at the airport, especially in light of the fact that our return flight has been cancelled before we have even left the country! It is not too bad at Heathrow though and me and my manager check in with ease. There’s a slightly awkward moment when the airline staff tell us that there is a single upgrade seat available if one of us wants it. I say that I don’t want to leave my manager sitting alone in economy in the hope that he will insist that I take the upgrade. He doesn’t so I am left staring longingly at the curtain for the entire flight to JFK.

Tuesday: Today we have media commitments for the PDC, helping to promote the event and build awareness of the sport for the US audience. We do interviews in some central New York venues and it’s amazing to see footage and quotes on big screens in Times Square.

Wednesday: Day of tourist activities with my manager today, so we head out on the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty, bump into a few Disney and Marvel characters and even took in a New York Yankees baseball game which was great, although very long.

Thursday: More commitments for the publicity machine of the event as the PDC continue their mission to grow the game, although one with a very unexpected outcome as I end up finding a long-lost family member!

During one of the engagements, a lady introduces herself as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America – and also my cousin! At first, I think she is joking as her name is Emma Wade-Smith, but it turns out to be totally true and her father is my grandad’s brother. She and her husband are lovely and after spending a bit of time with them we will definitely be keeping in touch.

Can James Wade win the Premier League? Have your say in the comments section below.

Friday: Match day. Players are usually at the venue around four hours before the match and then will practice on and off during that time in a designed area. I will normally throw for around 20 minutes, sit down and relax for a similar time and then go back on the board. My first match goes well and I win 6-2 against Canadian number one Jeff Smith, hitting 100 per cent of my doubles during the match.

Saturday: A disappointing end to the event for me as I lose 8-3 to Michael Van Gerwen and never get going. I need to feel relaxed and clear-headed to thrive and tonight I feel unsettled. I didn’t realise the format had changed to first to eight (I thought it was still six at this stage) and I over practised in my eagerness to do well. Lesson learned and it won’t happen again.

Sunday: Heading home with another new experience under my belt. See you next year (hopefully), Big Apple! And see you all for next week’s column (hopefully!)

James Wade

  • Darts

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