A woman called Florence Franklin of Peoria, in the great state of Illinois, is a World Record holder. She belongs to that select group of achievers, visionaries, and non-conformists who have decided not to live the bland life of the 9 - 5, the commute, the drudgery of modern life. Not for her the pettiness of the obscure. You see, Florence Franklin has joined the immortals.
Florence Franklin is a record breaker. She never met Roy Castle or Cheryl Baker, but her achievements are no less profound for that oversight.
Florence Franklin has the World’s largest callus collection. And there can be no greater metaphor for the callus nature of the modern World than that. She possesses over 90 kilograms of callus, which are of course sheets of hard skin. She shaves it off people, the larger pieces are autographed.
Franklin is an outlier, a person far beyond the norm who has made enormous sacrifices for greatness. Maybe she inspired Phil Taylor, maybe she didn’t, but they’re cut from the same cloth. And Phil’s achievements are so out of the regular scope of accomplishments that perhaps only a fellow immortal like Florence Franklin could truly comprehend his greatness. Or maybe not.
Florence Franklin has the World’s largest callus collection. And there can be no greater metaphor for the callus nature of the modern World than that.
In the latest installment of Premier League Darts Phil Taylor added yet another record to his roll call of achievements. The highest ever match average for a Premier League contest, 117.35, was recorded in front of the gobsmacked hordes of Exeter’s Westpoint Arena.
Women and Children ran weeping from the premises, screaming, “Witch! Witch!” And although we want to avoid the unseemly events of Salem, Massachusetts, in the 1690s after the first recorded nine-darter, who could blame witnesses who attributed the scenes of that night to black magic.
Taylor came into the 2012 Premier League on a bit of a downer. He had lifted England’s first World Cup of Darts the week before with partner Adrian Lewis. But he had been carried by the current World Champ in all but the final performance of that campaign and, to put it kindly, was out of sorts, to put it less kindly; he looked a depressed and wobbly shadow of his former self. And that tournament isn’t exactly overflowing with prestige.
But since the Premier League got underway Phil Taylor has been playing the most consistent, the most awe-inspiring, and crucially, statistically the best darts of his life. Quite a statement when you consider Taylor is the New York Yankees of Darts; a dominating sporting force that has won it all an obscene amount of times.
Considering the pretty abysmal stretch of from he was on coming into the PLD it was, to say the least, a bit of a surprise when Taylor averaged 112 in week one against Adrian Lewis.
And apologies if this is getting stat-heavy but when you’re talking about Phil Taylor’s best run of form ever, you better have some numbers to back it up.
Phil Taylor has been playing the most consistent, the most awe-inspiring, and crucially, statistically the best darts of his life.
To place Taylor’s 112 week one average in context; if a player hits that average on TV they will enter the top fifteen statistical best performances ever. More context; in last year’s PLD Mark Webster was feted as some sort of freaky Welsh wunderkind when he threw an average of 110, against Adrian Lewis once again in Exeter. There is something in the water in Exeter, and not just sewage.
Not only was that a great performance from Webster, it was so good it put him off the rest of the campaign. He ended his first Premier League Darts season bottom of the table, and has said at least part of the reason for that collapse was the pressure of his 110 average performance.
And if there is magical sewage in the water in Exeter; God knows what’s in the plumbing in Aberdeen. A city now synonymous with the nine-darter, Raymond van Barneveld hit one in 2010 in the Granite Metropolis, and Phil Taylor’s current magisterial run of form would not have been complete without another perfect leg of darts added to the annals of Aberdonian sport - annals that read; Sir Alex in the eighties and some nine-darters.
So a nine-darter in Aberdeen, an average of 108, and Phil Taylor’s I Will Never Retire Tour stopped off in Belfast, small matter of another 112 average, before his latest stop in Exeter.
The current World record for a three dart average is 118.66, held by, who else, Phil Taylor. Sid Waddell, Geordie darts commentator and one of the greatest men the human race has produced since da Vinci, reckons Taylor will smash that record in the coming weeks with something in the 120s.
Who could argue with that? Phil Taylor is playing, statistically, the best darts of his life.
Taylor is a phenomenon, and you don’t need 90 kilograms of hard skin to tell you that.
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