Ex-Firefighter Walker Wants to Go Out in Blaze of Glory
Jim Walker has quit his job as a fireman…but now wants his darts career to go out in a blaze of glory.
The Dalbeattie veteran bids for another shot at the PDC big time when their four-day Qualifying School kicks off in Wigan today (Thurs).
Walker, 58, has been through a chequered career which saw him kicked out of playing as a 16-year-old but now fired-up for glory after quitting being a fireman.
The Phoenix is in the same management team as new world champ Rob Cross and admits that is inspiring him. He said: “Phil Taylor might have quit at 57 but I believe a career can still go on after that age.
“I’ve been playing for 40 years but had a big gap and now I wish I’d kept going, or that I was 30 years younger.
“I started as a kid but I got barred from The Ship Inn in Dalbeattie when they found out I was 16. I wasn’t barred for drinking, it was because I was a good player. The same thing happened again at a pub in Castle Douglas.
“However I then moved down south to Surrey and became a fireman and I kind of gave up the game completely which was daft really because I could have practised in the station in between call-outs.
“But then about 13 years ago I was standing in a pub in Leicester and someone told me to have a throw and then it all came flooding back. Within no time I was playing in the local Super League.
“I was told to have a go at Q School in 2012 and I didn’t even know what it was. However, I made it through and on the tour.
“Since then I’ve been in and out a few times. It’s so difficult these days because the standard is ridiculously high. But you just can’t focus on your opponents.
“I remember turning up for my first Pro Tour six years ago and getting beat 6-1 and 6-0 in both first rounds but I told myself that wouldn’t happen again.
“I’ve had some good and bad moments. I was losing 4-0 to Gary Anderson, he had hit three 12-darters and a 14-darter and I thought I was dead and buried - but I came back to win 6-4.
“But seeing what Rob has achieved is just incredible. It’s great to be part of the same Nevada Sports Management team. Rob and I roomed together in Maastricht a couple of years ago and he’s such a lovely guy.
“He proves that anyone is capable of achieving anything. I’m probably too old to be inspired by anyone but I’m delighted for him, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.”
Q School will see huge names desperate for PDC Tour cards this weekend but it won’t be a case of life or death for Walker, he’s seen that for real.
He added: “I was in the Ministry of Defence and then fire service for 29 years. I’ve been through some harrowing stuff in that time which gives you perspective in life.
“Ultimately darts is just a game. I will go to Wigan to enjoy myself and try and qualify, if I don’t I’ll have another go next time.
“I have huge respect for Phil and what he has done for the game. He brought me a bag of flights for me to use a year or so ago which was very kind of him, I’ve never forgotten that, a total gent.
“But, unlike Phil, I need to prove that you can compete after the age of 57!”
By Phil Lanning (@lannomedia)