Yesterday, Bernie Parent wrote another column for Philly.com’s aspiring author series, a real-world effort to give non-writers writing gigs for a major media company.
We love Bernie, partially because he once told readers to “stay horny,” partially because he yelled something about the female vagina in Kobayashi’s dressing room at Wing Bowl in 2012, and partially because he was part of the team that did stuff like this*:
But the best part of the whole two week training camp experience was spending time with the boys, having dinner and a few beers. The evenings belonged to us. I was 23 years old and I could go for 24 hours straight.
The first week while in Quebec City, we stayed close to camp, which was typical. We didn’t have cars with us, we had a team bus. So if we wanted to go out to eat, we went out to eat as a team. But the interesting part about spending time up there was that we got to make friends with our fans. They would pick us up and take us out. How ironic. That would never happen today, which is why I think our era continues to bring such joy to the fans. We were just normal, hard-working guys back then, and we’re still normal, hard-working guys now. We were one of you, and you were one of us. We are able to identify with each other.
In sports, collegiate and professional, a lot of pranks and practical jokes are played between teammates. The funniest prank during training camp that I can remember was when Dave Schultz, Bobby Clarke, and I told rookie Bob Kelly we were going Snipe Hunting one night. We coordinated our prank efforts with the local police, and we took Kelly and our guns and flashlights out to a field to begin “the hunt”. As part of our plan, Schultz put ketchup on his leg and wrapped it up ahead of time. We were hiding in a ditch when we “saw people coming,” and we all took off running. It was so dark; you could barely see five feet in front of your face. One of us let a shot off in the air, and Dave ran up next to Kelly and said, “S**t! I’m hit!” The cops caught up with us and took Kelly to jail for a couple hours. We let Kelly believe that he was really being arrested and that Schultz had really gotten shot. The police let him go obviously, but it was so different in those days.
It sure was, different. But we’ll disagree that Bernie and the boys are still just “normal, hard-working guys.” Most of them work or worked in hockey, and a few of them are paid by the Flyers to show up at functions, get drunk and play golf. And one is paid by Philly.com to tell you awesome tales. So, normal is relative here.
*I’m sure that this story was told somewhere else, and probably many somewhere elses, and that a few Type OBs are going to freak and comment with stuff like, “Oh my God how have you not heard this story? Do you even watch hockey? Go blog about the Phillies, hater!” But if you haven’t heard it, it’s new to you, like summer programming on NBC in the 90s.