We’ve seen plenty of ‘The Power’… but what about the glory?

I’m rubbish at darts – as anyone who has taken cover while I’ve slung a few arrows in the Sneyd Arms will testify too.
This is despite the fact that I have an old set of Phil Taylor’s practice darts.
All of this just goes to show that blood doesn’t always run true because I’m told my dad was a bit special in his day.
Some fellas who know about these things tell me that, had he not been working away a lot when I was little, he could easily have played at county level and possibly above.
The multitude of trophies and 180 medals in the cardboard box at the bottom of his wardrobe backs up what they say.
But me? I think I’ll stick to playing pool.
Darts is one of those games that looks unfathomably easy, but is actually really difficult to be good at without practising ’til the cows come home.
And right now, we are fortunate to have in our midst, a world champion at the peak of his Powers (if you’ll pardon the pun).
Phil Taylor is a freak. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that.
The bloke is a machine. Untouchable. Relentless.
Even people like me, who don’t follow darts, watch in awe as he racks up victory after victory – title after title.
Yet because we see so much of him here in the Potteries, because he’s one of our own, I wonder if we perhaps just take him for granted.
If Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor had come from Liverpool they’d have no doubt based the Capital of Culture celebrations around him and had him singing on stage with Paul McCartney.
There would have been a statue of him erected within spitting distance of the Liver Birds by now and they’d have renamed the Albert Dock Taylor’s Oche.
You wouldn’t be able to turn on the radio without a Scouse voice blathering on about ‘ar Phil’.
As it is, despite his achievements, one of the world’s greatest sportsmen has again failed to make the shortlist for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year Awards which is nothing short of a scandal. On their website, Phil is mentioned in passing as having had another ‘incredible year’.
Auntie Beeb ought to wake up and smell the skinny latte.
Phil’s been having ‘incredible years’ for a decade now and it’s about time they were recognised.
I can’t help, but think there’s an element of snobbery behind this apathy towards our darts maestro. After all, some would say, darts isn’t a sport – it’s a pub game.
No. It’s a sport played by millions – so get over it.
And, dare I say it, there are a damn sight more people interested in Phil Taylor’s exploits than a Royal equestrian, an F1 driver or many of Team GB’s Olympic hopefuls.
Fifteen years ago darts was about as sexy as sink full of dirty dishes.
But clever television executives and a certain prolific player from our neck of woods have transformed the sport into a global phenomenon, which now names top celebrities among its fans.
Let’s for a second set aside Phil Taylor’s charity work for the likes of the Donna Louise Children’s Hospice and numerous other worthy causes.
Let’s not focus on the fact that, despite his considerable wealth, he still lives a dart’s throw away from his beloved Stoke-on-Trent.
Let’s ignore the fact that, on impulse, he paid thousands of pounds for Aaron and Andrew Corden – two young lads from Abbey Hulton who came runner-up in Stoke’s Top Talent – to go to dance college and follow their dreams of a career in musical theatre.
Let’s just focus on the sportsman.
I reckon that, in 40 years’ time, people will look back and say: “Hey, that Phil Taylor – 17 (or whatever it will be by then) world titles. What a player he must have been.”
And old fogies like me will answer: “Yeah. I saw him once. He was incredible. Made it look effortless. No-one could live with him.”
Because that’s how good he is.
Sadly, just like all great sportsmen and women, one day he will be shown up to be human. But, right now, he’s the undisputed heavyweight champion of the oche and no-one can touch him.
Thankfully, Phil Taylor’s immortality is assured and long may he continue to entertain and inspire millions with nine-dart finishes, bullseyes and 180s.
More Power to his elbow, I say.


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