Most people know that I have followed in my dad’s footsteps professionally, carrying on the Hart family legacy in WWE. However, what people don’t know, is how much I’ve followed his example outside of the ring. It’s easy for people to think that because of my last name, I was handed my position as a WWE Diva. The truth is, I struggled a lot to make it to the WWE. I am grateful for those doors being slammed in my face. I kept going, following my heartbeat, my pulse, and what made me excited to wake up every morning, my love for wrestling. I didn’t realize it at the time, but all of the tiny wars and setbacks would make me stronger than I could ever imagine. My dad reminded me that I would become more skilled learning how to “drive” on that winding road, than on that straight, “perfect” road. So I kept going. I persevered through years of being rejected, trying to make it to WWE. It is true, I am my father’s daughter. Our professions may be the same, but I’ve learned much more about life from my father than I could ever learn about wrestling. Growing up, my father instilled in me several key values that have made me the person I am today. Most importantly, hard work and determination pay off, family will always come first and having fun is more important than winning. After all, in the end, it’s the fun stuff in life that we want to remember!
My father always had goals. Before he came to WWE, he was a world class shot-putter. He went to UCLA on a full scholarship. He played in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders. Then, he went on to become a multiple-time WWE Tag Team Champion. My dad was always working toward something. He had this incredible discipline inside of him. When he put his mind to it, there was nothing he couldn’t do. He showed me that if you never stop setting small goals, big dreams come true as long as you have enough determination and motivation to not give up. He taught me that just because someone tells you can’t do something or a door closes, doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. That’s when you grab the towel and hit the ground running! Each set back and each obstacle is a learning experience that provides the knowledge you need to achieve your goal on the next try. My dad showed me that it’s ok to fall down, because when you get back up, you’ll be strong like an ANVIL.
I’m also incredibly grateful that my father showed me what unconditional love looks and feels like. He has lived through major triumphs and some difficult pitfalls. Through it all, he never forgot the importance of family. My father has always believed that family is EVERYTHING. Winning the Divas Championship was a wonderful feeling and getting to be in the ring during WrestleMania is indescribable. However, I came to the realization a long time ago, that for me, if I don’t build relationships with people that share in my joy and help carry me when I stumble, my accomplishments won’t mean anything. Every time my dad watches me wrestle & cheers me on, I feel like I’m the champion of the world.
Finally, my father taught me the importance of having fun… F-U-N! My father is my biggest supporter, and he is always there to remind me to smile, pause and enjoy the moment. I can still hear his words ringing loudly before I walk out for every match: “Don’t forget to look out at the crowd and connect with them. They believe in you the same way that I do.” Being a WWE Diva is hard work, there’s no doubt about that. There are long hours, lots of traveling and intense training. However, I wouldn’t trade it for the world because I really love what I do. My father reminds me to this day how lucky I am that my passion is wrestling because I never have to work a day in my life.” (Insert ANVIL laugh while pulling his goatee!) For that reason, I never gave up on my dream, and now I get to live it every day. My dad pushed me to keep going because he knew I loved this. He knew how much fun it was for me. My happiness made him happy.
Recently, I moved to a new house. I hired movers, thinking I would just sit back and let them take care of everything. I hate moving! My cats hate moving. My goldfish hates moving (Ok, I don’t have a goldfish, but you get it!). Instead, my father insisted on coming to oversee the move. He took such pride in taking the reins and making sure everything went smoothly. What is normally an exhausting and stressful event turned out to be one of the best days I’ve ever had with my dad. I also schemed up a plan with my dad to break a plastic lion head my mom bought me at a garage sale. I secretly thought it was absolutely hideous. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I did not want it hanging front and center in my living room. Who else could I turn to? Of course, I asked my dad for his assistance! I told him to pretend he tripped over the sprinkler outside and “accidentally” broke this horrendous plastic piece that was truly uglier than any garden gnome I’ve ever seen. Without fail, my dad happily body-slammed this plastic hunk of junk onto my driveway, risking my mom yelling at him if she had caught him. Imagine what the neighbors were thinking!? My dad did it for me! Mission accomplished! He broke that plastic lion head and my mom’s feelings were spared! Now that is LOVE. During the move, we worked hard, we laughed, and when he couldn’t quite get the giant couch out the door by himself, I got the other end and we moved it together.
My father has taught me about love, perseverance, reflection, and how to throw a great punch! I am so proud of my dad. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. I’m still working on growing my Anvil style goatee so I can be just like him 🙂
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy! And Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there!