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  March 10, 2001



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Power-ful first interview


By BRET HART -- Calgary Sun
  Those of you who remember Calgary when it was still a 'small town' know the days of Bill Powers on CKXL.

  Well, it's Powers who had the dubious distinction of being the first to interview me about wrestling.

 I was a 16-year-old high school kid who got a job during Christmas break at the A1 Rent-All. My job was to deliver all kinds of stuff that was usually heavy and had to be carried up lots of stairs.

 One afternoon, Stu called A1 out of the blue. I was beyond shocked when my dad told me that Bill Powers had called the house looking to interview me.

 Like every other teenager in town, I listened to Bill Powers all the time and I couldn't for the life of me imagine that he'd even know who I was, let alone want to interview me.

 My dad assured me that was the case, gave me a phone number and said that Powers was expecting me to call at exactly 4:30 p.m.

 I hung up the phone in total disbelief and went to ask my boss, A1, if he minded. Well, A1 just thought it was the coolest thing and went around telling the fifteen or so people who worked at A1 all about it, which I sort of wished he hadn't done because I was nervous enough.

 All my high school buddies would hear him -- and I had no idea what Powers was going to ask me about.

 When the time came, Al lowered the volume on the radio and motioned for everyone to be quiet as they gathered around. I dialed the number and I was blown away that Powers knew anything at all about my amateur wrestling, mentioning that I'd been undefeated all year and asking if I planned to turn pro one day and work for my dad.

 I was so nervous that I don't even recall exactly what we spoke about live on the air for about three minutes. All I knew is that when it was over, everyone at A1 gave me a big round of applause, so I figured I couldn't have done that badly.

 I wanted to extend my congratulations to Bill Powers for his induction into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

  I went on to win the city championships that year, which still stands as one of the milestones of my life. My brother, Keith, got there just as the coaches were trying to figure out who won. They were debating back and forth while tallying points and pointing at the roster on a cardboard poster.

 Keith asked me, "What's up with all this?" and I quietly replied, " I dunno ... I think I won."

 "You won ?" Keith's eyes were wide.

 Keith was so happy for me when they gave me that medal, I'll never forget the big smile on his face. Last weekend Keith called and invited me to come and see his son Conor (14), compete in an open provincial meet in High River. Conor is already an accomplished amateur, having won big meets and wrestling well above his age.

  In match after match he took on kids who were older than him and he didn't do as well as he wanted to. Despite that, what I saw in Conor last weekend was this amazing 'fight with everything you've got' determination. Conor went right from wrestling and strapped on his pads, saving shot after shot for his hockey team, backstopping a shutout that kept them in the playoffs.

 Later that evening Keith found out that Conor had a bad stomach-flu that had been making him quite sick all day.

 I find myself impressed with Conor's dedicated sense of competition.

 SAD PASSING: Ted Betley, a teacher of those who went on to become some of the best professional wrestling competitors, passed away last week.

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