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  January 29, 2000



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Groggy Hitman out of action


By BRET "THE HITMAN" HEART -- Calgary Sun

 I'm grounded.

 No one has said that to me since my dad's firm yet tolerant hand, until now.

 As much as I'd like to fly off to far-away places, lace up my boots and fight bad guys, the one guy I can't even argue with right now is my doctor.

 He just will not give me medical clearance to wrestle.

 Not only that, he said no working out, no stress and no flying.

 In case you didn't read about it in this column a couple of weeks ago, I have a concussion. It all goes back to when Goldberg kicked me in the head at Starrcade on Dec. 19. I saw stars and I've not been myself since.

 I worked hurt for a couple of weeks thinking (in the way that you think when you have a concussion) it would get better. I was going through the motions from town to town, but it didn't get better, and when I finally got home to Calgary I went from the airport directly to the doctor. He told me that I'm not going anywhere for awhile.

 Driving home from the doc, I went to the car wash. I left my power antenna up and it got snapped right in half. OK, it's a mistake that anyone can make, right?

 Yeah, but then I was backing into a parkade and crunched my side view mirror. Now if this was my ol' '86 Lincoln, it wouldn't be so bad, but I did this to my new car. It got me to thinking that maybe I am a little punchy. Then again, I haven't tried to jack my car up with my head yet.

 In my office, hanging on the wall, amid a collection that makes Andy Rooney's look tame, is a pair of signed Muhammad Ali boxing gloves (one of my prized possessions). Doc had said how the boxing community conveniently blames Ali's condition on his Parkinson's disease but the brutal truth is that anyone who knows anything about concussions knows that Ali's troubles have a lot more to do with a few too many blows to the head.

 Well, I'm taking this very seriously and listening to Doc's advice. I will not end up like that. I will not end up punch drunk. Taping up a knee is one thing but a head injury is nothing to mess with.

  Doc said if I don't have a hobby, now's a good time to get one, until I can heal and get back in action.

 I like biking. But doc says I can't do that for a while either.

 OK, drawing! That's harmless enough -- although my cartoons look kind of strange lately. Alright, no wise cracks from those of you who think my sense of humour in my cartoons is usually a bit warped anyway.

 Just imagine what my cartoons look like now!

 Well, I got restless thinking of how, through years and years of being on the road, I wanted to spend more time at home and now that I'm here there's so much I can't do. So I admit I got a little mopey for a day or two. I called people I've been out of touch with, listened to music, went to the movies with my kids and visited my mom and dad.

 That was all very nice but there was just something missing. Then I loaded the kids into the car and went down to the 'Dome to cheer on the Hitmen and realized this is it! Now I'm happy! All my old buddies were there and they seemed as happy to see me as I was to see them, like the fab five who made the all-star team, Kris Beech, Matt Kinch, Pavel Brendl, Brad Moran and Chris Nielsen and, of course, coach Dean Clark and GM Kelly Kisio.

 Doc said to get a hobby. I don't need a hobby, I've got The Hitmen! This is what will pull me through. Of course, it figures that now that I'm finally home, the team is on the road so I'm looking forward to when they get back.

  I've realized it's what I can do that's important. Like taking my kids to school and watching my youngest son play hockey.

 One of the best things about being home is that I was able to add some finishing touches to my A Time For Heroes exhibit. It opens at the Glenbow Museum today and I hope that you and your family will consider spending an afternoon with me and my family.

 I'm proud to have been asked to be a guest curator for Face Forward to the Millennium, in such distinguished company as Pamela Wallen, Tom Jackson, Carol Shields, Peter Loughheed and David Suzuki.

 Speaking of Suzuki, I don't see what all the fuss was about when he recently appeared on the cover of a major magazine wearing nothing but a fig leaf! He's in great shape -- those must be some great amino acids he takes!

 Glenbow today and the Super Bowl tomorrow. Sounds good to me. I could learn to like this.

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