Wrestler has a Hart for Special Olympic kids
WWE legend Bret Hart (far left) and Collingwood mayor Sandra Cooper (far right) with local Special Olympics athletes. Hart is the guest emcee for Wrestling Night in Collingwood 2 at the Collingwood Curling Club, Friday, May 3, 2013. Morgan Ian Adams/Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin
COLLINGWOOD — Bret Hart once again proved he’ll be the best that will ever be, but this time, outside the ring.
On Friday, before taking to the ring as guest emcee for Wrestling Night in Collingwood 2, the WWE legend spent time with the kids who’ll be the beneficiaries: Special Olympics.
“It’s always good to give back,” said the retired professional wrestler, who’s far more soft spoken in person than the larger-than-life character who ruled the mat during the late 1980s and 1990s. “There’s nothing better than to help out with a needy cause.”
Hart spent about 45 minutes at town hall, meeting Mayor Sandra Cooper and speaking to local reporters, but it was clear this was about the kids. He joshed one young man named Michael about his Toronto Maple Leafs shirt, as he autographed posters promoting the event.
The WWE hall-of-famer also posed for pics with one girl, Rebecca Thornley, who seemed unsure at first about getting in a photo with Hart.
She was eventually coaxed, and her attendant noted she’s a huge wrestling fan.
The 55-year-old Calgary native said he’s always maintained a special relationship with people with disabilities, going back to when he was a kid hawking programs for his father Stu’s Stampede Wrestling shows.
“There were a lot of special needs kids who were helping to sell the programs, so there is that bond,” said Hart. “There’s something in me that drew me to those kids, and I’ve became good friends with a few of them.”
And with the success that has followed him in his career, giving back to community wrestling shows such as the one in Collingwood is “how I’ve stayed connected with my roots, and how I grew up.
“It’s a worthy thing to do.”
Hart is just coming off his second knee surgery, and acknowledges the years of wrestling have taken a toll on his six-foot-one frame.
“I’m nursing it along,” he says with a wry smile. “I find that now I’m paying for all the stuff I did.”
It’s doubtful he’ll find himself in a ring again, but he is considering second book to follow his 2007 autobiography. Hart says he pretty much covered off his wrestling career in Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling, but feels his “lessons learned” over the years may be worthy of a read.
“I’ve learned a few good life lessons,” he said. “And a lot of the things with my mum and dad not being here anymore... there are things I learned from the father (who died in 2003) that I’m starting to see as I get older.”
There’s still a few tickets available for Friday’s show at the Collingwood Curling Club. Tickets are $10. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.