The spring season of Rogue Darts Tuesday Night Flights ended last week with the Last Bullseye winning the league championships. This week in the Washington Blade’s All Star series, we meet two players from the championship team.
Rogue Darts offers four leagues per year and registration is now open for the summer season.
Mason Davenport refers to himself as an unathletic person who is not drawn to sports. He did compete in karate as a kid in Panama City, Fla., but his high school activities were focused on band. While attending William Peace University, he was active in social and political groups and led the school’s LGBT chapter.
He came to D.C. in 2008 with his partner, who is now his spouse, while she completed her grad work at George Washington University. Davenport completed his own master’s degree in theology at Wesley Theological Seminary and is working as the assistant registrar at St. John’s College.
He was looking for groups in the queer community and his friend Sam, who is a captain in Rogue Darts, asked him to join the recent spring season. They had been playing darts together casually and it was Davenport’s first attempt at playing on a league.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be so competitive but maybe that is because I haven’t competed in a lot of things,” Davenport says. “My skill level increased through the season and I liked to joke with my teammates that our player order was based on skill and I was the last one.”
Davenport identifies as a trans man and in his spare time, he volunteers at Whitman-Walker where he co-facilitates a trans peer support group. His first season with Rogue Darts was a place where he felt welcomed.
“I am queer identified, present masculine and am in a long-term relationship with a woman,” Davenport says. “Being in a space that welcomes that is accepting and fun.”
Davenport won’t be playing in the summer season, but he also doesn’t plan to retire undefeated.
“I am definitely hooked and will show up again in the next Tuesday night season,” Davenport says. “This league is fun and there is a lot of good sportsmanship. Everyone is happy for you when you do well.”
When Nick Collins was serving in the Air Force, it was common for dart boards to be on base. Growing up in Baltimore he had dabbled in little league baseball and wrestled in high school. While he was serving, he played various sports on base including darts.
After the Air Force, Collins got married, had kids and settled into his career in the D.C. area with the Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller. He retired in 2011 and is now working in federal contracting.
After divorcing, he came out to himself in 2016 and to the world in 2017. Looking to get out and meet people, he joined Rogue Darts six seasons ago and learned something about himself.
“I am a terrible loser, but a worse winner,” Collins says. “It’s been great to evolve in that respect because these people are really nice and there is good sportsmanship in the league.”
Collins has also played two seasons with Stonewall Billiards and plays with the Chesapeake and Potomac Softball League. He went to his first Gay Softball World Series last year in Portland where his team placed third in the master’s division.
He is enjoying the social aspect of the sports leagues and the way they are fulfilling his competitive spirit. He is already looking forward to the next dart season.
“After being a runner-up several times, it was nice to be on a championship team,” Collins says. “As long as there is a league, I will be a part of it. It’s too good of a time.”