The darts community in Cayman is in mourning.
This month it lost one of its brightest and most public members in Phillip Parsons.
Parsons, who was the Cayman Darts Association Vice President, passed away two weeks ago. Parsons, 46, succumbed to a heart attack in his home.
His passing came days after he oversaw the wrapping up of the 2009 local darts league. He had a major role as he kept track of statistics throughout the season and was also a member of a team.
To honour his memory the local darts community recently gathered at Corner Pocket in Alissta Towers for a night of darts and reminiscing about the man Phillip was.
For clarification, reporting on this gathering and the publishing of subsequent articles was delayed to honour the wishes of his grieving family.
Parsons was just laid to rest in North Side last weekend.
At Corner Pocket almost everyone in the local darts scene gathered in Phillip’s memory. Whether they were players or supporters of the sport, everyone there knew of Phillip and spoke sentiments of endearment.
Among them was darts aficionado and motorsports fan Ricky Bodden.
In fact Bodden was one of the main organizers of the gathering as he and Phillip established a close bond over the years. He was one of the first people to hear about Phillip’s tragic passing.
As Bodden states, his rapport with Phillip had its roots in years of pool play.
‘I’ve known Phillip for 14 years, mostly from pool. He used to play at Chelsea’s (where The Attic is today) when he had a team called the North Side Boys. The finals would always come down to me and Phillip.
‘From there he opened up Corner Pocket in 2003 and got me into darts. With his help I bought a set of darts and started playing the same time as him.’
Bodden spoke about the fallen North Side legend’s character.
‘He was a mentor to a lot of people. After he was gone I saw more of the kind of person he was. I didn’t realize what he meant to people and how they spoke about him.
‘He started playing roughly six years ago and he achieved so much for himself and the association.’
Another person who had a notable relationship with Phillip was Amber Tatum. Sister of noted local scholar Mona-Lisa Tatum, Amber says her interactions with Phillip came mostly near pool tables.
‘For four years part-time me and Phillip used to work together at Corner Pocket. I used to tend the bar and help him organize pool tournaments.
‘I first knew Phillip because I’d go and play pool and I see him. Eventually we started playing pool together. From time I’ve known him he always liked to play darts and pool.’
Tatum, like her good friend Ricky Bodden, added that Phillip was a stand-up type of guy.
‘Phillip was really good to me. He was straight forward and he was a great person in so many ways.’
One of the persons who knew and respected Phillip’s straight talk is Corner Pocket owner Horace Duquesnay. The mature Jamaican national says Phillip’s passing is a tough loss.
‘I actually bought the place from Phillip years ago. At the time he told me he wanted to spend more time with his family.
‘Honestly I can’t believe it. I can’t believe he’s gone.’
In Duquesnay’s eyes Phillip’s persona made him unlike anyone else.
‘I know of only two people in Cayman that when God made the mould for them He destroyed it after. One was Phillip and the other was Ornan Whittaker. To me God can’t make another person like Phillip. There just can’t be no-one else like him. He never lifted a finger to hurt anyone because he just wanted to help.
‘One of the things that will stay with me is you could reach him on anything at anytime. You could call him at 11 in the night to talk business and it would be ok.’
From what Duquesnay saw of Phillip’s involvement in darts he was convinced that Phillip was solely after the good of the sport.
‘He was the sort of person when he decided to do something he mastered it. At the same time he was always giving a helping hand and being straightforward with everyone.’
By night’s end Ricky Bodden and the others would fight back tears as the gathering saw its final darts thrown.
Like many, the results were not important for Bodden. Only the image of the smiling man at his favourite spot at the bar was what mattered.
‘He was a big brother to me,’ Bodden said. ‘He always gave me solid advice. That was who he was.’