As a kid I loved to play darts. I had a dart board in my bedroom and professional darts, and I would sneak games when I could but the thump, thump, thump would alert my mother and I would have to go back to studying. But many nights were spent battling with my dad. I was decent and once had an 11 dart finish, which wasn’t too shabby, and it was also a great way to learn mental arithmetic.
At this time there were a couple of big names in darts and this was before Phil Taylor became the Tiger Woods of Darts, there was Jockie Wilson from Scotland, who was impossible to understand. There was John Lowe, my favorite, boring as hell but consistent, a bit like Ivan Lendl was in tennis. Then there was Eric Bristow, the Crafty Cockney. He had an arrogance about him that made him the guy you loved to hate, but he was good.
So now it’s 1988/89 and I’m working in the Tara Hotel in London, working breakfast, lunch and dinner in the hotel restaurant when the World Championship of Darts came around. They asked if one of the waiters would stay to take care of Eric Bristow as he stayed in the hotel during the tournament. Of course, I said yes, and even though I didn’t really get to interact with him, he was an absolute gent and -- what was very rare back then -- he tipped.
So the final part of this story is I’m standing outside Foley’s about 18 months ago and who should I spot walking down the street but Eric Bristow. I stop him, buy him a pint, have him sign a baseball, and have a chat. He was an absolute gent. It was great sadness that I heard this week that he had passed away.
Rest In Peace Eric
ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY!!!!!!!