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The Bethesda Project’s Newsletter
A Caring Family for Philadelphia’s Homeless
Great cause and very close to my heart!
Click the link below to be directed to The Bethesda Project’s Monthly Newsletter
and check out how you can help this great cause!
Read the original article on Philly.com.
The season is upon us… and I don’t mean the holiday season. I mean hunting season, one of my passions since I was 15 and it started with my father back in Canada.
Once hunting season starts, I retire the boat and my fishing rod and switch them out for a tree stand and a rifle.
The rifle season starts today – Monday, December 2nd – for me in New Jersey, and it’s beautiful. The weather has changed and the leaves have started to fall. And this time of year, my main focus is to surround myself with the woods, connect with nature, and get up close and personal to life itself in its purest form.
I’m looking forward to the excitement. The night before the hunt, everyone is eager and counting down the hours until we walk into the woods.
Hunting’s purpose and meaning, at least for me, is not about killing everything I see. The thrill of the hunt is more satisfying than a kill will ever be. I’ve sat in my tree stand on numerous trips, and I’ve watched more than a dozen deer walk by, play with each other, jump around – and I just watch.
Most of the time, I have no desire to shoot. I’ve gone eight years of hunting, in a row, without shooting one deer. But my passion and excitement for the sport never waivers.
I’d call myself a trophy hunter. I don’t hunt for the meat or number of kills. After all, it is a sport. But I’m very selective in the bucks I decide to bring home. The experience in itself is the cake, and the trophy deer is the icing on top.
A lot of people set up trail cameras prior to the hunting season that take pictures of deer in the area. I don’t. I like to let my imagination work instead. I don’t want to clog that with technology.
By the way, all the hunting myths that you hear about, such as using scent spray and walking quietly into the woods, are totally false. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked to my tree stand smoking a cigar. A deer has walked as close as 10 feet away from me, looked at me, sniffed the air as if they actually liked the Rocky Patel I was smoking, and did not move. I would stand there talking to the deer but it never talked back! We looked each other in the eye and connected on a deep level. It’s as if we both respected one another and acknowledged it at that moment. It was majestic.
Camaraderie defines hunting for me. I have dear friends of mine – Jim Sr., Jim Jr., Steve, and many others – that I hunt with on a farm in South Jersey from December 2nd to January 18th. A huge part of the hunting experience are the friendships, the story telling, the rituals and the laughs.
The anticipation of opening day is special. We watch the weather channel hoping for ideal hunting conditions like kids tracking Santa on Christmas Eve.
Every night after the day’s hunt is over, everyone regroups and goes back to the farm for dinner and every last person has a story to tell about their day in the woods: what they saw, what they heard, what they smelled, etc. It’s a beautiful thing!
I know that hunting is not necessarily the most politically correct thing to do, but it is a passion of mine. So don’t mind me as I just sit back and enjoy what nature has to offer us.
Read the original article on Philly.com.
On November 11, Fred Shero was officially inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Mr. Snider graciously invited my teammates and me on his private jet to the induction ceremony.
It felt like Christmas when we arrived on Monday morning. With so much hustle and bustle going on, you tend to forget about the true meaning. Everyone gets caught up in the celebration of it all. But I made sure I didn’t forget that I was there for Freddy and nothing else.
There were 17 players there to represent the team, along with Mr. Snider, Peter Luukko, Shawn Tilger, and Linda Mantai. It was incredible; a heck of a celebration. To have a celebration of this magnitude, the fire has to start somewhere; and the fire was Fred Shero.
I ran into Ray Shero, Fred Shero’s son, early Monday morning at the hotel, which was probably the first time I had seen him since a couple years ago at the Penrose Diner, and I always get the same feeling; he’s family to me.
I’ve known Ray since he was 6- or 7-years old, and here he is almost 44 years later, and it’s funny. Every time I see him, I don’t look at him as the successful GM that he is. I see him as a son. We shook hands; we hugged, and shared a very special moment, as we do every time we cross paths. I was excited to see him accept the award on behalf of his father later that evening.
We all watched in awe throughout the progression of the ceremony on Monday night. There were wonderful honorees. But the best part of the ceremony was Ray Shero stepping on stage to accept this honor on behalf of his father. He was so proud of his dad. Ray communicated very clearly and eloquently the way we all saw and knew his father. He knew the way people felt about his dad, and he knew the way his dad felt about all of us, including the Flyers organization, the National Hockey League, the Hall of Fame Committee, and most importantly, the players. The whole family was there, even after his passing almost 23 years later, to celebrate his great achievements.
During Ray’s speech, he mentioned the time that I handed over the keys that went to a brand new car I had just won for the Seagram’s Seven Crowns of Sports award to Fred. The award was for having the best performance throughout the league, and I had just beat Tony Esposito by a few points. I had won a Ford Mustang, and when I went to pick up the car, I decided right then and there that I was going to hand the keys over to my coach as a token of appreciation and to thank him for what he did for our team.
I didn’t expect a reaction from him; he was reserved. But I didn’t need a reaction from him to know that it was special to him.
A few months later, Fred called me and said, “You owe me money.” I said, “Really? What’s going on?” And he replied with, “I had to pay tax on the car.” So I paid the tax for him as another token of my gratitude.
We wouldn’t have won without him. He was the captain of our ship. If you put me at the helm of a 747, we won’t get very far because I don’t know what to do with it. It’s a heck of a machine. Fred Shero knew how to drive that machine to excellence.
I’ve shared many special times with the Shero family, many of which took place at my shore house. It was wonderful to see Freddy and his wife together; they were very close. And watching the two of them together, you knew that there was a friendship there that you couldn’t buy. I see the values that have been passed down from their relationship coming out in their sons, and it’s a beautiful thing to watch.
I had a unique relationship with Freddy. When we would go on the road, we’d pick each other up to go to the airport. This was during my drinking days, and Freddy enjoyed his alcohol, too. One time, we got back from a week on the road and we went out for a couple of drinks. Freddy took me home around 12 a.m., but he wasn’t sure how to get back to his house from my development, which wasn’t very far. He asked me, “How do I get back to my development from here?” I gave him the directions and went inside to get some sleep. The next day, he told me he didn’t get home until 3 a.m. He said, “If you were Columbus, you’d still be looking for America, for God’s sake.”
I have to give some credit to Fred for the philosophy that I preach today, because he spoke some very wise words, and I was always attracted to that, but I never fully understood it. But now that I think about it, I’m living the same philosophy today. He was a very well-educated and philosophical man; always was. He read Shakespeare and Dickens, had ambitions to go to law school, etc. When he wasn’t studying hockey, he hit the books. Physically, you would call him a loner. But intellectually, he was well-rounded and balanced. He was a great coach, but he was a bigger individual than that.
I don’t typically look back in life; I’m just not that type of person. We go through different phases and move on. Sure, I tell stories and reminisce here and there. But during the induction ceremony, I found myself replaying that phase of my life in my head, when I was playing for one of the best coaches in history, when he was part of my life and when I was part of his life. When Ray was speaking, that’s where I was. I put myself back in 1974-1975. My body was at the ceremony, but my mind was in a different location, and it was a heck of a trip, by the way.
Towards the end of Ray’s speech, he had asked all of us from the Flyers to stand up and be acknowledged. I realized that out of the line of people that stood up, one great piece of the puzzle was missing; we were all there to support him, to remember him, but he had to watch from somewhere else.
If Freddy was there to accept his Hall of Fame induction in person, he would have been very humble and modest in accepting this award. But the way I know him, the majority of his acceptance speech would probably be about the mountains or the ocean and what it means to him. One thing I liked about Fred, he didn’t care what anyone else thought.
I don’t think we would have been able to move on without Fred Shero being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. This ceremony was the last puzzle piece of his career. The words, “We win tonight, we walk together forever,” that he so famously scribbled on the chalkboard, and here we are almost 40 years later, standing together, walking together, into his Hall of Fame Induction ceremony. Although Fred is not here, he walked with us that day. There was a statement being made there, a team still unified 40 years later, honoring the man that we understood was the catalyst of our success.
Speaking Engagement at the Annual Richard J. Caron Award of Excellence Dinner
Wednesday, November 6th, 2013
Crystal Tea Room, The Wanamaker Building
I am proud to announce the production and distribution of the new BSB #1 Bernie Parent cigar, exclusively prepared by Rocky Patel. Being a cigar enthusiast, I am delighted and honored to have built a relationship with Rocky Patel and company, and to be a part of this process every step of the way.
The BSB#1 Bernie Parent cigars, which were developed by Mish Patel himself, are comprised of an Ecuadorian Havana seed wrapper, a medium to full body blend, and packaged in a dedicatory orange and black box, of course. The bands around the cigar are even in the shape of goalie pads.
This experience is unique and exciting, and I can’t wait to hear some feedback after the debut of the initial 500 boxes. Visit the Rocky Patel Premium Cigars site at www.rockypatel.com or check with your favorite cigar shop to see if they’ll be available near you.
Below is an updated list of locations that will supply the BSB #1 cigars (AVAILABLE NOW):
NJ Cigar Vault, Swedesboro, NJ
Nero’s, Haddonfield, NJ
Sea-gars, Rio Grande, NJ
A Time for Wine, Atlantic City, NJ Oro Cubano, Vineland, NJ
Ocean Cigars, Ocean City, NJ
Ned’s Cigar Store, Newtown, PA
Old Havana Cigar Co., West Chester, PA
Tinder Box, Haveford, PA
The Tobacco Co., Lemoyne, PA
DnS Cigar Lounge, Lancaster, PA
Planet RYO, Lancaster, PA
Wooden Indian Cigar Co., Havertown, PA
Mr. Stogy’s, Morrisville, PA
Twin Shoppe, Philadelphia, PA
BnB International Cigars, Philadelphia, PA
Sir Stogies, Gilbertsville, PA
Genuine Tobacco, Millersville, PA
Light n Up Cigars, Fraser, PA
JM Cigars, Exton, PA
Cigars Plus, Wyomissing, PA
Leaf & Bean Strip, Pittsburgh, PA
Leaning House Fine Cigars, Belle Vernon, PA
Penn Ohio Cigar Co., Sharon, PA
Back Mountain Tobacco, Dallas, PA
International Tobacco, King of Prussia, PA Famous Smoke Shop, Easton, PA Ace Tobacco Towne, Cheltenham, PA
Xander’s Bada Bing Lounge, Philadelphia, PA
Cigar Cigars, Horsham, PA
Sellersville Beverage, Sellersville, PA
Black Cat Cigar Co., Norristown, PA
Goose’s Tobacco Outlet, Limerick, PA
Cold Spring Beverage, Newtown, PA
Philadelphia Cigar Co., Philadelphia, PA
Cigar Barn, Yardley, PA
Cigar-ette City, Newark, DE
Tobacco Field, Wilmington, DE Books & Tobacco, Wilmington, DE Liberty Barbers, Middletown, DE
Read the original article on Philly.com.
If you haven’t noticed, I repeat A LOT of the same messages that I write about in my articles. Mostly because you need to continuously have these positive thoughts in your head in order to make them a reality. But also because I try to associate the messages with events or instances that occur in my daily life; to prove that these things really do exist.
Let’s reiterate some of these messages:
1. I believe you need to fulfill your vision and passions in life. Realistically, you’re put on earth to accomplish something. Your vision and passions are there for a reason.
2. Throw the rule books out the window. You don’t need to live within the parameters that other people have laid in front of you. Are there risks associated with carrying out your passions? Of course. But it is wise to go against the grain.
3. You are the only person who possesses the power to begin moving in the right direction. It only takes one step to embark on your personal journey. So take it.
4. If you’re tired of the way you live day after day, week after week, year after year, stop accepting it. Take risks and embrace the change. It’s easier to play it safe. That just happens to be a foreign concept to me.
5. … among countless others.
I know my readers are saying, “I understand. I hear ya, Bernie. But it’s easier said than done. How do I implement this way of life?” I’ll give you the wisdom that has allowed me to overcome the fears associated with living life without limits; fear of failure, fear of acceptance, fear of losing what you have chasing something that isn’t guaranteed. Refer to this powerful quote, because I’ve adopted this ideal into my daily life.
“You can find inspiration from others, but determination belongs to you.” – Unknown.
I’ve gotten plenty of feedback from readers about the messages I preach. Their portrayal of my life and their responses go something like this: “Sure, it’s really easy for you to say. You were a professional athlete and have a ton of money with no worries, so I can’t relate to you.”
Don’t misunderstand me. My messages may not apply to everyone. Some people go to the factory to work everyday, they have their family, they have their friends, and they’re happy with that. That might be their passion. I’m talking to the people who are not happy about their current situation. I strive to make people realize that they have the ability to change it. All I ask is that you evaluate your level of content. I want you to think about how you can make changes for the better, to help live a more fulfilling life by delving into the “unknown.” What’s wrong with that? If I help just one person with each article I write, my work here is done.
Speaking of the “unknown,” I was asked to attend an event on October 18th for a cause that is very near and dear to my heart; The Bethesda Project, a Caring Family for Philadelphia’s Homeless. We were asked to participate in Philly Photo Day, an event in which everyone in Philadelphia was invited to take pictures anywhere throughout the city. Your pictures would be submitted and included in an exhibition to create a massive portrait of Philadelphia that will be displayed in Old City at 120 N. 3rd St between November 14th and December 28th.
My business manager and best friend, Dean Smith, and I were invited to join The Bethesda Project and participate. I had absolutely no idea what the point of Philly Photo Day was, or my level of involvement in the event itself, but I never give up an opportunity to help this cause. So we went.
When we first got there, we sat in a small group, right alongside the residents of the shelter. The instructor explained that we would be walking through the city of Philadelphia, taking photographs to allow other people to see the city through our eyes, capturing different perspectives, etc. My first question was, “What the hell am I doing here?” It just didn’t make sense to me at first.
As we moved on through the process, my interest grew and I learned a lot about how to take pictures and what to look for; depth, lines, texture, framing, contrast. I learned that when I’m looking at something, I can apply these techniques to see things differently. After a short lesson, they handed us our cameras and off we went.
It was a nice change of pace, because we’re so wrapped up in getting from point A to point B in life, all while missing the beautiful things around us. I got to stop, take a good look at my surroundings, find the beauty in a seemingly normal corner or street sign, and capture the feelings associated with these normal people, places and things in a still photograph. That is powerful.
I found myself standing in North Philadelphia — not the best section of the town, but I found beauty there; beauty that I’ve never seen before. Is it because we slowed down, or because we were looking for it? I believe the reasons that we were able to look at the city in a much different light was because:
1. We made the decision to do it;
2. We were enjoying something that we never thought we would.
I learned a lot that day, and what if I would have refused the offer to go? I would have missed out on an awesome opportunity because of the “unknown”, or I thought that it really wouldn’t interest me because I had no idea what the event was about. I would have missed out on the joy that it brought to me, but more importantly, the joy that it brought to the homeless men of The Bethesda Project. Something so simple put a smile on all of our faces. I was amazed at the pictures that these men took, and I was fascinated to see their perspective of the city. They were so intelligent in portraying their vision, and they were able to open their imagination and find beauty and detail in things that we couldn’t, and we walked the same streets as they did!
Sometimes we take advantage of all the things we have. We tend to search for happiness with material things. Here we are with people that have lived without the basic necessities of life, who have finally found shelter in The Bethesda Project, expressing their creativity and genuinely enjoying themselves. It wasn’t about money. They had friends and they trusted us. Sometimes, all you need is some love and laughter.
At the end of the day, I walked away with the feeling that I had accomplished something. There was a reason I was meant to spend time with those men, to see them smile, to be involved in one small day of their lives that ultimately could have been one of the best days of their lives. I know it was one of mine. Being that some of my passions include helping people and directing people to find happiness, I’d say it was a mission accomplished.
Had a great time with team doctor and dear friend, Gary Dorshimer,
The Phillie Phanatic and friends at the Annual William J. McKeown, Jr.
Golf Classic “Fore” Alzheimer’s Care
Read the original article on Philly.com.
I was driving into the office this morning, and I asked the universe for some sort of guideline. I turned on the radio, and Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” came on the radio, and it hit me. I have to admit, Bon Jovi says it best, “It’s my life, I ain’t gonna live forever,” and you need to heed his advice and follow your heart.
Stop living by someone else’s rules, regulations, and way of life. Adopting this method means you’ll have to ignore other people’s thinking. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. What matters is what you think. Once you realize this, then you’ll start living for you.
So many people put their happiness and hopes on the backburner because they are so afraid of what people are going to say about them, and they back off. By backing off, they miss out on all the excitement they could potentially attract into their lives. They’re afraid of what their wife might say, or what their kids might say, or what their friends might say, if they decide to put everyday life on hold to follow something that is not guaranteed. As long as you’re not hurting anyone else, do what is right for you. If you don’t, you are essentially living your life for someone else.
People with jobs, a family and responsibilities, I’m not telling you to quit and walk out on everything you are held accountable for. You take care of your own at all costs. I’m talking about making time to do the things that you want to do, and regularly.
I’m going hunting next week. If I were to let someone else persuade me into staying home for reasons that are beyond my scope of responsibility, then I’m allowing someone else to dictate what I can and cannot do; what I will and will not do. And that’s no way to live. You will have many great opportunities to add some fun to your life. Allow yourself to capitalize on them.
Passion is a large spectrum including all of the things that you truly love to do, and everyone is different.
If I walked down the streets of Philadelphia today and picked some individuals out of the crowd and asked them, “Are you living your passions? Are you truly doing what you love to do, or making time for the things that you love to do,” I truly wonder how many people would answer with a, “Yes.”
This morning, on my way to the office, I was stuck in traffic. For a good portion of my commute, my speed never exceeded five miles an hour and I was constantly pushing the breaks. Metaphorically speaking, that’s how a lot of people live their lives; going five miles an hour, never pushing the limit, stuck in “traffic” with the pressures all around them, and ALWAYS on the breaks. When you decide to let go, consider your own opinion a priority, and live a little bit, I promise you, that “traffic” will dissipate and you’ll be cruising right along.
When I ask someone to join me in a fun activity, like fishing trips or hunting trips etc., and their response is, “I have to ask permission from such-and-such,” I really start to feel for that person. Change it around! Respond by saying, “Let me see if we have any commitments or prior engagements.” If you do, then you have a legitimate reason to pass on this trip. By all means, communicate with your loved ones about your decisions, whereabouts, and all other details, but make sure your choices are yours, and not someone else’s.
How do you start? It’s simple. Just DO IT, TAKE ACTION. Live it to the fullest. Be spontaneous. The rewards are incredible! Because once it’s gone, you won’t be able get it back. That beach sunset that you missed out on, might not be there tomorrow. It’s your life. LIVE IT