The Last One Hundred and Eighty

In truth, when I look back on most of the things I’ve done in my life, there are numerous things that I’ve done to a decent level, without really excelling at anything. Acting, writing, playing various sports, all of which I’ve done to a reasonable level, without ever getting to exciting levels of skill. Among those sports, I would mainly rate athletics, cricket, golf, and darts as the best. There were a couple of others that I could get by at, but was never going to represent anyone at, so lets ignore them for now.

Oh fine, of those, I’d probably most love to think I could have made it in acting, or writing, but in truth, I probably reached, or nearly reached my mark. Acting probably is the one I could have done more, but more like Clara Johnson, than Jean Harlow, I doubt I would ever have made it big. Ah well, but as that isnt what this blog is about…

I had played darts a few times before I moved to Somerset in 1983, but it more related to throwing 3 darts in a board back then, and hoping they went roughly where I wanted them to go! But anyway, one of my shop customers (a lovely gentleman) was determined I wasnt going to just spend all my off time back at my lodgings, but get me out a bit. One of the things we did was go to Bingo, though in truth it was probably more a chance for both of us just to get out and have some fun, than anything else. The other thing he got me into, was darts. There was a pub next to his office, and on a Saturday night, before he went home, he tended to drop in there for a drink or two, play a few games of darts, then get a takeaway meal, and go home. I got talked into going along after I finished work as well.

I got talked into joining in, though at first I was pretty terrible. But as with so many things, if you practice, you get better, and I did! Thats when I found out he played in a couple of local leagues, so I went to those, and in one at least, started to play. No, I didnt become an overnight world beater, I was still pretty moderate, but the aim got better, the scoring, and double hitting improved. I even got decent enough to play 2nd Division County Super League in time! As I say, decent, without being great.

OK, the link between this, and tonight. On a number of those Saturday’s, a well known darts player would turn up at the pub, join in with the social fun, and all that. Normally we all played that the winner stayed on the board, but he always only played so many games before standing down. Why, you ask? Because that player was Mike Gregory, a professional darts player of the time, who in fact played in the World Championship Final in 1992. In that final, he lost to the new ‘big thing’, a player named, yes, you’ve guessed it, Phil Taylor!

Tonight, in one of the versions of the 2017 World Championship finals, Taylor is playing his last match before retirement! He has, in all, won 16 World titles, and could well make it 17 tonight! Dont get me wrong, by all reports, he’s not the nicest man to know, but I guess to some degree, anyone as driven to win as him is unlikely to be that friendly to others, part of the game, I guess? But yes, for one man to so dominate his sport for 25 years, an amazing achievement.

So no, I’ve never known what its like to play sport at a top level (School county championships, 2 sports, best I’ve done), and certainly wont now, so have no idea what that pressure is like. Nor have I appeared on a really big stage, so never known it as an actor either. But yes, I know what it takes to get that far, and I admire those who do.

So enjoy your retirement Mr Taylor, and thanks for lots of amazing darts memories.

Tonights video. Well, I thought his walk on song to be the obvious one. Not a song I’m a fan of, but could hardly not use it, could I?

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