Let's forget my career with the Philadelphia Flyers, back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, and Hall of Fame induction, just for one minute. Even though these significant events have opened many doors and opportunities beyond my wildest dreams, I am here to introduce you to the human side of me; the primitive side, the animal side, the "wolf."
I have been to the very top, and I've been blinded by darkness, literally and figuratively; which in turn, forced me to dig deep inward. We are meant for so much more, and if you make the active decision to propel yourself forward, face your fears, and take risks, you can accomplish your goals.
The fear I have faced and battled, in direct correlation with the risks I've taken, have allowed me to find true success, freedom, and the wolf inside. I have made it my goal to help people around me, people I meet, even by coincidence, break free from their cage, disregard personal boundaries, and find true happiness and success.
If you think fear and risk are behind us, a figment of the past and don't surface in our every day lives, you couldn't be more wrong.
On December 31st, 2011, I took one of the biggest risks to date.
Let me paint this picture for you. You are the starting goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers in the Winter Classic Alumni game. You are about to step on the ice for the first time in about 30 years, in front of 45,000 people with millions more watching at home, with the expectation to PERFORM in front of the fans you love, at the age of 66.
Without question, I had a tremendous amount of fears that most importantly included a failed performance, disappointing my fans and not being able to perform at the same level and create the same reaction I had 30 years prior. I had everything to lose and nothing to gain. I had no choice but to let the wolf take over and take the risk that ultimately proved to be one of the best decisions I had made for my life and career.
The five minutes that I was given on the ice during the Winter Classic Alumni game, surrounded by the best fans in America, were exhilarating and liberating. The feelings were equal to what I had felt after winning those back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. I had just filled a void that had been steadily increasing for 35 years, and as I stood with my teammates on center ice, the feeling I felt, no money in the world could ever buy it. What if I would have given in to my fear and sat the bench and just waved?
It wasn't about saying goodbye as an athlete. I accomplished that during my retirement ceremony as my banner was raised. My decision to play was about having the balls to go out there at 66 years old and be a participant, not a spectator. I accomplished something that only a performance of that stature would provide; not thinking about it, not dreaming about it, but doing it.
The wolf would not let my fear of the unknown hold me back, and I reaped the greatest benefits.
Now that I've set the tone, revealed my goal to help people find what makes them tick and my purpose for joining Philly.com, I'd like to turn the focus to the month of February and Valentine's Day.
For some, Valentine's Day is a time to show your appreciation for loved ones. For others, it's a day of impending doom, a pointless "holiday," and a yearly reminder of the reasons you are single.
Being that I am a seasoned ladies man and "Philadelphia's most interesting man," I have the same message for both types of people: Find your wolf.
If you are single, allow yourself to do some inner-searching and find the person that you want to be, so you are ready and willing to share that with someone else when the time comes. Remember, happy feelings will attract happy circumstances.
For those of you that are in a relationship, let your partner be their own wolf. Don't restrict your partner. Let them fulfill who they are as an individual; it does not mean they don't love you. If you let them go, let them do, they will explore and be their own person. That is what makes the bond between the two of you stronger.
Don't leash them, don't cage them, just have fun. And do it together.
"I am a free spirit; either admire me from the ground or fly with me, but don't ever try to cage me." –Unknown.
I'll open up the floor to the readers. Email me your questions.
Stay horny, my friends.
--The Most Interesting Man in Philadelphia
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Bernie Parent is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, two-time author, and co-founder of Legends Sports Marketing. Parent, seasoned ladies' man and arguably the most interesting man in Philadelphia, has created himself an unbelievable lifestyle after hockey and is now available on this platform for readers and fans alike to respond to YOUR plethora of questions. Whether you are seeking dating advice, answers to your baffling sports questions, an honest opinion on current events, or coaching in any area of your life that needs some uplifting, Bernie Parent truly walks the walk, and is sure to please with charm, brutal honesty and a positive message.