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Phelps Executive Plays Darts—Big Time

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August 10, 2022

By W.B. King–

One night after working at New York Hospital’s Department of Psychology in White Plains, Tracy Feiertag, new to the position, decided to go for a drink with a colleague. The new friends ended up at an Irish pub. Unbeknownst to them, they had entered into a new world: a dart bar.

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“Basically everyone who hangs out plays darts,” Feiertag recalled of that evening 22 years ago. “We started playing just for fun; then we started playing in a league. People either have it or they don’t have it. People who have it might not be that particularly great at the beginning but with practice, they get better and better.”

Over the course of the following year, Feiertag recognized that not only did she enjoy the game, she had real talent. Today, she is ranked sixth in the nation.

“I played league [darts] for maybe eight years before I started realizing that there was a whole other world to this dart thing,” she said, noting that roughly 14 million Americans play darts in leagues each year. And while there are many local and regional leagues, she explained that only a “small percentage of people” take it to the next level.

“In 2004, I flew to a tournament in Lake Tahoe. It was the first time I got on a plane to play,” Feiertag said, adding that she couldn’t quite remember the outcome of those games, which were single play, doubles and mixed gender games. At one point, Feiertag was paired with a “strong female partner” and noted that the duo did well during that game. Her major takeaway from the trip: “A pretty fun experience.”

From 2004 to 2009, she managed to work a full time job, study for her doctorate degree and compete in dart tournaments around the country. During that time period, she ranked four times in America’s top 10.

“It was a crazy five years,” Feiertag said.

Parallel Tracks

Born and raised in Rockland County, Feiertag lived in Westchester from age 22 to just recently when she moved to Mahopac. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York, College at Fredonia, Feiertag later earned a master of science in School Psychology at the College of New Rochelle and a doctorate in Health Administration at the University of Phoenix. She also completed a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology at the University of Massachusetts.

Currently serving as deputy executive director at Phelps Hospital and the director of Cancer initiatives for the Northwell Westchester Region, Feiertag oversees the facility operations as well as the clinical ancillary departments. In an effort to provide a wide range of care options to the community, she focuses on the continued development and growth of Phelps’ clinical service lines.

In Feiertag’s view, there is a parallel track between her professional pursuits and her dart career, which underscores her “highly passionate” and “high achiever” characteristics. To this end, she also serves as an adjunct assistant professor at the New York Medical College, School of Health Sciences and Practices, where she teaches in the Doctoral Program for Public Health.

“At the hospital, I want to keep doing everything I can to improve and grow services, and provide a safer environment,” she said. “It’s all about setting goals. There is a big similarity for me because I’m so passionate about both my career and darts.”

Returning to League Play

While Feiertag took a few years off from competing professionally, in 2015 she returned to the sport, which she noted has no official age range. She added that there is a “big youth contingent” that competes in separate leagues.

“I was playing better and better but so is everyone else,” she said of her return to league play. “In the United States and Europe the players are continually getting better…compared to 15 or 20 years ago.”

When COVID-19 gripped the world, players didn’t put down their darts, they adapted.

“A new phenomenon started, which was online darts,” she said. “During that first year, I was playing multiple online leagues. I worked crazy hours at the hospital and I would come home and play just about every night.”

Players like Feiertag utilized the “Dart Connect” platform, which is a scoring system that tracks individual player statistics. A perfect score with three darts is 180, she explained. While she was previously averaging 50 points per three darts, at a recent league game she shot a 64. The leading women in the U.S. average between 60 and 65 points and men average 85 to 90 points, she noted.

When pandemic restrictions lessened, the big question in the dart world was whether or not online players would be able to compete at the same level as at in-person events.

“Thankfully, it worked out for me,” she said. “In the last year since we have been back playing live — though I still play online as well — I’m playing better than I have even played before.”

The Archer

Feiertag is currently ranked number six in the country but is “confident” that she will move up to third best by the end of 2022. At age 49, she said most of her competitors are in their 30s and 40s. The top purse for most major league events is around one-thousand dollars.

When asked if her colleagues at Phelps know that they work with a nationally top-ranked dart player, Feiertag, who is sponsored and has a signature dart in the works, isn’t a big self-promoter.

“Occasionally it comes up if there is so type of ice breaker [conversation] or more commonly it comes up because someone has the information and says it as a point of interest,” she said of her Phelps colleagues, a group of people she admires. “I’m super passionate about darts and it’s nice when people are interested to hear about it.”

Having thrown darts in just about every state, Feiertag hopes to travel to Europe in 2023 to compete for the first time. Until then, she has a busy schedule with more than 10 regional league events scheduled. One of those upcoming events stands out.

“There is a tour I play in, the Darts Player of New York, and that is a very special tour for me because I’m really the only women who plays in it. It’s a male tour but it’s open, so every now and then another women will [also] play,” she said, explaining that like many of the tournaments she plays in, entry is based on scores accumulated over multiple games throughout the year.

“The top 16 people move on to the grand finals. Last year, I finished 13th; this year I think I’m in seventh place,” she said. “That [win] would mean so much more to me because I’m competing against the best men in the Tri-State area.”

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