October 21, 2003
Stu Hart: A Dungeon Perspective
By 'HOTSHOT' JOHNNY DEVINE - For SLAM! Wrestling
It was always a treat to see Stu at the Stampede shows as you could see him perk up when bell time hit. Afterward he would always have kind things to say and make you feel like you were doing really well even if your match sucked. At his 88th birthday show in May, all the guys on the card pulled out all the stops because we all wanted to make Stu proud of us. And I think we put on one of the best indy wrestling cards of all time that night. Everyone wanted to impress Stu, no matter if it was in or out of the ring. He was just one of those remarkable people that draw folks to them like moths to a flame. And still he always had time for everyone. Young, old, rich, poor it didn't matter, Stu would always give his time.
Time. It's such a precious commodity. You never have enough to do the things you need or want to do. Whenever someone is taken from you some of your first words are invariably "I wish I had spent more time with..." On the night before Stu died I asked Nattie Niedhart how he was doing and she told me not too good. So I made a promise to go and visit him the next day. I woke up Thursday morning and had some errands to run and to hit the gym. I thought to myself "I'll do my running around and hit the gym, then get cleaned up and make myself presentable and go to the hospital." At around 3:30 I finished at the gym and when I turned on my phone I had two messages telling me the news.
I wish I had gone to the hospital first.
I wish I had been able to say goodbye.
I wish I had more time to spend with him.
Most of all I wish Stu peace and a safe journey.
God Bless you Stu, you were my hero and a tremendous role model. I will miss you.
Johnny Devine lives in Calgary, Alberta and is one of the top independent wrestlers in Western Canada and a graduate of the Hart Dungeon. SLAM! Wrestling did a profile on him in January 2002: A Hot Shot in the ring. To contact him visit his official website at www.geocities.com/hotshotdevine.