Have sat in the players' box at Roland Garros: part slightly bemused, all Possil boy amused by the strange byways in life's journey. Have stood behind Tom Watson as he hit that final shot to the 18th at the Open at Turnberry in 2009: part consumed by anxiety, all trembling with a hope that was to be unfulfilled.
But I have never, ever seen anything like the darts.
It is winter, Glasgow. The door opens on to a floor that would have Caligula demanding some restraint. There are guys walking around with barrels strapped to their back with attached hoses. They dispense lager. More adventurous punters make a trip to the bar and return with trays bearing enough alcohol units to inflict cirrhosis on a postcode.
There are Muhammad Ali shuffles, Jinky Johnstone sidesteps, as the barrel-backed avoid the tray-bearing. It is a sort of manic dance, a Strictly Come Steaming. The near misses provide a slick of lager on the corners. The interior of the beer-sodden SECC is as dangerous as Monza in the rain.
The odd, very odd, accident occurs as punters try to slalom back to their seats. They are either carrying six pints or have consumed six pints. Or both. Mostly both.
Then the players enter. A disco track blares and the barn shakes as if it is on an Iowa farm in hurricane season. The players march down like gladiators in a Roman amphitheatre. But only if said gladiators had over-indulged at the Forum buffet.
The matches are conducted with the sort of quiet decorum that accompanied the second half of the Battle of Bannockburn. There is mayhem when the dull thud of dart on board is amplified. Then it becomes louder as the player zeroes in on a double.
The end of each leg is greeted with the roars that once graced Hampden. Finally, the din reaches a crescendo and one player turns to the crowd arms aloft.
He has won. The other guy has lost. And two more march towards the oche.
In a sort of gang hut in a corner, perilously close to the madding crowd, sits Sid Waddell. He is to darts what Leonardo Da Vinci was to painters and decorators during the Renaissance. He is to wordplay what the Royal Mint is to currency. He coins phrases.
How about this: "Bristow reasons . . . Bristow quickens . . . Aaah, Bristow." Or: "He's about as predictable as a wasp on speed." Or his classical classic: "When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer - Bristow's only 27."
I clamber into the commentary box. It could double as the office of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals as there is no room to swing a cat. Waddell, right leg trembling, tapping the floor incessantly, delivers his words precisely with the sort of drama worthy of Harold Pinter on a good day. It is impossible to remember what he says. I am star-struck.
It is like sitting next to Ayrton Senna in a Formula One car and noting what gear he is choosing. All that remains in my mind of Waddell is the speed of his thought and the exuberance of his words.
I tumble from the box back into the mayhem of the arena. And a thought strikes me. I ducked but I could not avoid it. It is this: this is a sporting contest where everyone is having a good time.
This is sport as entertainment. This is sport as a night out. This is sport where angst, depression and post-match despair are not part of the deal. Being Scottish, I can only take so much happiness and I head towards the exit.
The door opens and I am enveloped in a cloak of refreshing, chilled Glesca air. Eric Bristow – the erstwhile Alexander the Great, the King of the Arrows – stands in a corner. The Crafty Cockney is having a fly fag.
It is the equivalent of watching Lionel Messi slump in a mixture of exhaustion and triumph in the dressing room at the end of the Champions League final. It is a private view of a great at leisure. Bristow drops the fag, stamps on it and walks away.
I pause, take a breath and head back to Planet Earth. Magic darts.
*This tribute to Sid Waddell and Andrew Marjoribanks is by far the worst essay in Henrik, Hairdryers and the Hand of God (BackPage Press £9.99), a collection of reminiscences from Scottish sports writers. All dosh goes to Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.
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