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  Oct. 27, 2000

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Time to end the suffering
SEARCH ... Police visit the Hart family home in west Calgary looking for Davey Boy Smith after a complaint from his estranged wife. -- KEVIN UDAHL, Calgary Sun

By RICK BELL -- Calgary Sun

 Davey, give me a call. Give somebody a call. Please.

 I've always been in your corner, Davey.

 Yes, I've heard the stories about you. From those who defend you and those who wish the worst.

 A muddle of fact and fiction.

 But I don't care about the stories. This isn't about stories anymore. This is reality, Davey.

 No raised arm in victory, no cheers from the crowd now. No rehearsed moves or stage roles. This is real life. And now it's time.

 Time to get it together, Davey. To get help before you hurt yourself or someone else.

 I've always liked you, Davey. I've watched you and compared you more than once to Rocky, hoping for the heroic Hollywood ending.

 I cheered you when you worked out at B.J.'s Gym and vowed you'd return to the wrestling ring.

 Even though your back had been slammed against a trap door in a match. Even though discs in your back dissolved in a sea of infection. Even though you suffered great pain. Even though World Championship Wrestling canned you while you lay in bed at the Rockyview.

 And even though there was the death of your mother, your sister and your tag-team partner, Owen Hart.

 "I'm not finished," you said.

 Yes, I cheered when you spoke of your life.

 How you got into wrestling, a working-class English lad delivering fruit and vegetables and jumping over the fences of your customers to stay in shape.

 Your dad figured it was a lot better than breaking windows. And boy, it was.

 You came to Calgary. You became a star. The British Bulldog. I remember how you spoke of your victory over brother-in-law Bret Hart in front of a capacity crowd at London's Wembley Stadium.

 Lennox Lewis, now boxing's champ, carried your Union Jack into the ring. A long way from jumping fences.

 And I cheered again when you signed with the World Wrestling Federation. Our headline writers dubbed you The Comeback Kid.

 "I'll never quit. I never have. I never will," you said.

 But, dammit, there was no Hollywood writer to make things work just right. No Robin Williams' character with inspiration and insight. The comeback didn't happen like in the movies. It was real life.

 I remember the phone call from a pay phone in a hallway in a rehab in Georgia. You'd been on painkillers. You wanted to get straight.

 But you came back from drug rehab. Things were not going well. In a column, I tried to tell your story as best I could. You didn't like the column. You haven't spoken to me since.

 Davey, I'll admit I'm the last fellow to give you advice.

 I've documented enough woes on this page to make Jerry Springer slink away in disbelief. A loser's litany -- the bar fights, the drunk driving, the handcuffs and the jail cell, the boozy battle with the bottle.

 But, maybe through that, just maybe, I came to realize there comes a time when enough is enough.

 When it's time for real life.

 I met real life in Les, my previous publisher, when I finally promised to quit the sauce. I met real life in my friend B.J., when I woke up and decided to quit being a fat guy. They were there. All I had to do was ask.

 And Davey, you are not alone either. There are a precious few who'll back a guy when he's down.

 "If you put yourself down, you stay down. I get back up." You said those words, Davey.

 Please don't forget them now. Dial the phone.

Davey Boy Smith arrested twice in two days
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