Stu Hart deserves more from Calgary
By RICK BELL -- Calgary Sun
LOVE IN THE AIR ... Stu and Helen Hart give each other a big smooch after they
cut the cake to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. -- Stuart Dryden, Calgary Sun
Stu, you're a better man than me. I'll risk the sleeper or the
piledriver or even a figure-four leg lock. But I've got to get this off my
You deserve more.
Oh, you'd tell me to forget about it. You'd tell me wrestling's a great
game and you'd applaud the great fans in Calgary.
Your Calgary, the Calgary of the crazy Corral and Abdullah the Butcher
's in-the-meantime and in-between time.
You'd tell me you don't want your name up in lights, you don't hunger for
the pat on the back.
Stu, I don't care. I must speak.
Yesterday I stood, along with many others, at the bottom of the steps of
your house, Stu. A barbecue to mark Stampede and, more importantly, to
celebrate your 50 years of marriage to your wonderful wife Helen.
I saw all who gathered. The young, the old and the dogs.
I heard the dignitaries give their glowing pronouncements and present their
gifts. But I felt a little empty, Stu.
I'm not the world's greatest historian but even I know you played a big
part in forging this city's character. A good man in a tough man's world.
We all know of Stampede Wrestling and how you gave us fame. We know how
much you love every fibre of this town.
We know of your wonderful family and how one son, Bret
, is the most famous
Calgarian in the world.
We know of the dungeon, where you trained wrestlers. Many big men walked
away because they could not or would not pay the price. You paid the price and
you are worth an army of smart boys.
It's then I look. I look around the world that wrestling has become, the
grand spectacle it presents throughout the world, and I look for a book about
I try to find a movie about your life. Who couldn't make a movie with the
cast of characters you've seen?
But I fail.
When I see you standing, hunched over but still with the gaze of strength
in your eyes, I notice no Order of Canada lapel pin. Have you not done enough?
And, when I walked in the Stampede parade this past Friday, and look to the
front and know it's your 50th wedding anniversary and realize what you've
contributed, I do not see you and Helen up at the head.
I see an American actor.
Maybe I shouldn't care. You have a legacy few could even dream of. When I
hear B.J. Annis, a super guy who is married to your lovely daughter Georgia, I
begin to understand the loyalty and love you inspire.
"Stu brought glory to this city and two or three years ago the Stampede
took away Stu's two Stampede pins for the Grounds. I've still got the letter
at my gym. They said there was a demand for the pins," says B.J., his voice
"He did so much."
At the barbecue, there were the voices who would not be silenced. Bearcat
Murray was at the back, next to me, but he was determined to get up and speak.
Back in '51, Bearcat's uncle, Rex Dwigins, owned land out back of your
house. Bearcat was a jockey but got too heavy to ride. Bearcat's uncle got him
on show horses.
One day, Bearcat rode down the hill and on to your property. "Stu looked at
me and said: I hope you're not here to wrestle. You're a skinny runt. We've
been friends ever since," chuckles Bearcat.
It's then I look up. It is a great day. You are surrounded by those you
love and those who love you. The sun shines, the food is warm, the beer is
And around your waist you wear a belt, a world championship belt. It's then
I realize it doesn't matter.
In the meantime and in between time, in the middle of life's ring, you are
Stu and Helen: Happy 50th.
The Dinger can be reached at (403) 250-4323 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Letters to the editor should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.