FREDERICKTOWN — Of all the state championships in Ohio, this one may be the most fun for people of all ages. The Ohio State Dartball Championship, hosted by Ohio Grange and held at the old Fredericktown High School gymnasium, guarantees fun — win or lose.
Aside from the teams, representing Ohio Granges from across the state, the Ohio Grange State Board officers got into the act and formed a new team of their own. Ohio Grange chairperson Sue Roy of Columbus and her colleagues struggled as they tried to get their darts to fly straight and true.
“We had three different color darts,” Roy said. “It didn’t matter what color we threw. We were no good.”
The strategy for dartball is really simple.
“Close your eyes and hope for the best,” Roy said. “Some of us haven’t thrown darts in years, but we decided that we needed to do this.”
Despite their struggles, there were a lot of smiles on the faces of young and old, alike.
“This is a family thing, where you can bring your kids,” Roy said. “We’re trying to get a junior team going. Maybe some people, 10 years old and up, to form a team next year. Somebody has to be here to take our place.”
Dartball has attracted several people into becoming Grange members.
“For someone to be a member, they have to find out if there is a Grange that is available in their county,” Roy, a third generation Grange member, said. “If not, they can call us and find out what is close to their county, because not all counties have Granges anymore. Fortunately, there are several in Knox County.”
Granges work throughout the year to raise money for community and charitable causes.
“We do a lot of grassroots community services,” Roy said. “Wednesday, we were at a rally to fight opioid addiction. We have handed out 16,000 drug disposal bags in the State of Ohio, to help people get rid of their old medication safely.”
Often, people in need living in the country and small towns face the additional problem of isolation versus their urban counterparts.
“Everybody thinks that, if you live out in the country, you don’t have any problems, but they’re just like city problems,” Roy said. “We also serve a lot of the deaf community. We support Dogs For the Deaf. Actually, it’s called, Dogs For a Better Life now. We are encompassing autistic people and anybody with disabilities. We raise money to buy a dog — a rescue dog. They are trained to help people — autistic children in particular. They have trouble at school and they need that calming. The deaf need help with all kinds of things. We also support Flying Horse Farms out in Mount Gilead, which is a large camp for disabled children. We also collect money for food banks.”
The most rewarding part is seeing, first hand, the results of their work.
“Oh yeah. It’s wonderful,” Roy said. “I feel I really accomplished something.”
Championship trophies were awarded to the top teams. Eden Grange of Seneca County placed first. Pomona II, from Hardin County, was second. Knox County’s Middlebury Grange and Wayne Grange finished third and fourth, respectively.
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