We tend to expect professional athletes to look a certain way. Sure different sports have different physical requirements, but for the most part, athletes and sportsmen tend to look fitter than an average person in some noticeable way. Scotsman Jocky Wilson is the exception to that rule.
Why? Well for starters he looked like this.
A professional darts player by trade, Wilson rose to prominence in the early 80’s as one of the most prolific and dominant dart huckers the world had ever seen. Wilson had previously been a labourer and even had a brief stint in the British Army, but found during an evening of hard drinking that he had a particular affinity for darts. Luckily for Wilson this just so happened to coincide with the rise of televised coverage of the sport, which made playing the game incredibly lucrative for the portly Scotsman.
Because darts was originally a game played in pubs before it became recognised as a competitive sport, televised coverage of it in the 80’s had a decidedly more relaxed atmosphere. Players would smoke and drink on live TV and crowds were encouraged to be as loud and rowdy as they damn well felt like. In keeping with the more informal nature of the sport, many players adopted over-the-top personalities to play to the crowd, like Bobby George, the King of Bling.
Wilson’s gimmick for lack of a better word is that he spent as much time on stage as possible looking like he didn’t give a speck of a shit. He’d stumble around the stage like a shit-faced toddler and intentionally adopted a throwing technique where he’d splay his his arms to the side as he threw each dart to make it look like he didn’t know what in the duck farts he was doing. In reality, Wilson was a shockingly skilled player capable of whipping darts into the board with sniper-like precision.
Which is where you expect us to say that what Wilson was doing was an act, that he was secretly making himself look stupid to make opponents underestimate him or something, right? Well, no. Wilson was by all accounts blind drunk every single time he stepped up to play, he was just so good that he could play blitzed out of his fucking mind. In fact, Wilson once explained that he needed to drink before playing because it was the only way he could steady his nerves.
The amount Wilson could drink and still win has become the stuff of legend in the annals of dart history with rival players recalling that he’s routinely drink 10 pints of beer and 8 shots of vodka before every game. In televised games Wilson could be seen visibly swaying back and forth, struggling to stand while simultaneously throwing tiny razor sharp javelins in a crowded room at a 2 foot wide target 6 feet away with pin-point precision. Rival players expressed frustration and admiration at the fact Wilson was able to play better than 99% of the world’s population (he was consistently ranked in the world’s top 10 players at his peak) while, drunk off his fat Scottish asshole.
As you can probably imagine, people at home loved Wilson with his antics routinely drawing millions of viewers in the televised tournaments he took part in. Wilson would drink between games, refuse to shake other players hands creating that drama stuff people love so much and once ended a winning game by falling the fuck off the stage.
On top of this, Wilson was known for his impressively unhealthy lifestyle, eating nothing but fast food and candy almost his entire life. Wilson’s love of sugary snacks famously cost him every single one of this teeth because he refused to brush them his entire life, allegedly because his grandmother told him that the English poisoned the water as a child. Despite just a few teeth, Wilson claimed that it in no way affected his ability to eat, once saying that the only food he had a problem eating were nuts, the same thing he presumably told all his haters to suck on if they disagreed with his lifestyle.
Unsurprisingly Wilson died of numerous health complications caused by decades of fatty food, smoking and drinking, at age 62. Which for a guy who famously drank a bottle of vodka a night and ate so much sugary food he lost all his teeth by age 28, isn’t actually that bad.