Benoit wins title. Igali builds school

I just got back from Vancouver where I attended a charity dinner organized by my good friend, olympic gold medalist Daniel Igali. Aside from his dream of winning the gold, when he’d accomplished that, he promised himself that he’d build a first rate elementary school in Eniwari, Nigeria, the small African village he hails from.

The school they have now is a two room shack. With no running water. And holes in the roof.

I’m not really surprised that Daniel was able to raise over $200,000, because it’s the kind of tenacity with which he does everything. Like how he just overcame neck surgery and still managed to qualify to compete in the upcoming 2004 Olympic Games!

With a matching grant from the Canadian International Development Agency, Daniel is proudly looking forward to being able to move ahead with construction of the school by the end of the year! If you’d like to help, send a check, payable to Canadian University Services Overseas, to Canadian University Services Overseas, University Advancement, Simon Fraser University Room 2118 Stand Hall, 8888 University Drive Burnaby, B.C. V5A 1S6 or call 604-291-5301.

I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Chris Benoit for winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XX! I remember Chris when he was just a little kid hanging around the Stampede Wrestling dressing room in Edmonton. Chris idolized the Dynamite Kid and when he first broke into the business Dynamite thought enough of him that he gave him his wrestling boots - and there’s no doubt Chris still has them too!

For all the years that I’ve known Chris Benoit he’s exemplified a dedicated work ethic and long ago earned my respect for him as a wrestler, besides being an all around good guy in a business where it’s easy to forget where you came from.

Chris deserves everything he’s got - because he earned it. With Benoit holding the world championship I can’t help but be impressed with the direction the WWE is going. I’ve always felt that after exhausting the shock value aspect the only place they could go is back to what built that company in the first place, back to realistic, skillful wrestling. And there’s nobody that does that better today than Chris Benoit. Long may you run, my friend!

On a sadder note, the wrestling world says good bye to yet another. Hercules Hernandez (Ray Fernandez), succumbed to a fatal heart attack - at forty six. Herc will be best remembered for his bouts with the Ultimate Warrior and Earthquake (John Tenta), but I remember him best for tagging up with Paul Roma as Power and Glory and having some epic battles with The Hart Foundation. Herc had a big heart and what I remember best about him is how he kept his sense of humor through some wild, unpredictable times.

And how about them HItmen! Making the playoffs for the seventh straight year! I’m looking forward to watching them upset and bounce Brent Sutter’s Red Deer Rebels in the first round. With all the Hitmen dying their hair blonde I just want to say that as much as I support you guys to the bitter end, no, you won’t be seeing The HItman with blonde hair! Then again, if you make it to the Memorial Cup I’ll have no problem doin’ the Gorgeous George for ya!