January started off with regular tour stops for Sandy at the Celebrate the New Year tournament, Fire on the Mountain, the ADO National Championships and the Las Vegas Open, but the routine quickly changed.
Sandy had been battling through knee issues for a couple of years that had been problematic during a couple of long trips to Trinidad and England in 2018 but after cancelling a late tournament and not playing for about 8 weeks it seemed to have calmed down a bit. It quickly returned in force in Las Vegas as she was in pain and severely limited. After trying every other option possible, Sandy felt like she had no choice and scheduled left knee replacement surgery in March.
Everything went pretty much as expected with the procedure but the rehabilitation was a bit longer than expected. There was a followup knee manipulation procedure and she is still recovering and doing rehabilitation exercises. One of the hardest parts for her was missing important events along the way.
When Sandy first started playing darts she progressed by competing against all the talented players in Upstate South Carolina back in 1990, she especially loved competing against the boys and that is where she honed her game and started to become a tough match for anyone. So it made perfect sense to rebuild herself the same way she had started.
While she had played in both the SCDO and SCUDL through the years, she had never been able to play in both leagues at the same time until this season. It took her a little while to get going again but soon she was finding herself in some very challenging league matches and while it wasn't an easy transition, she began to trust her knee and her game and once again grow into a tough opponent. She was able to help her team claim the League Cup Championships in both leagues.
The support she received from everyone has been incredible. Her teammates on the Greater Greenville Darts Girls, The Usual Suspects and Stranger Things, as well as her opponents and so many well wishers who just wanted to see her get back to form was overwhelming. She is not there yet but is improving all the while.
Sandy was able to start playing some events near the end of the year but there was a long time between that 501 Singles win at the Las Vegas Open to her next Singles Title at Darting for Christmas in November. January kicks off a new year at the same places with 5 tournaments or nationals in the first 20 days. She will be a little selective of travel tournaments until she's ready, she may not be 100%, but she is ready to get back into the game.
Sandy has always known she has the best sponsors in the business, but the showing of support she has received this year has been humbling. Thank you Winmau, L-Style Global, Magic Wear and Dutchman Darts, you sure know how to make a girl feel special. Merry Christmas everyone, see you at the oche in 2020.