I don’t think there’s a member of the 1971 Whippany Park Wildcats football team that wouldn’t agree with me when I say, “You won’t find a better teammate than Teddy Parry.” His only enemies were the guys wearing the other jerseys.
Slick Parry (#22 in your program) almost exclusively played corner. He’d actually sub at fullback on offense because it gave him the opportunity to do what he did best – hit people. No matter what side of the ball, he played at one speed – full throttle. Teddy might have been the lightest guy on the team (next to David Strunk). He was no more than 140 pounds on his best day. Nobody hit harder. He didn’t just tackle you; he hurt you. It wasn’t like he played with malice he just couldn’t do it any other way. Teddy wasn’t the fastest and he was certainly far from the biggest. He didn’t talk much but when he did it was all about the team. He let his playing do the talking. His approach to the game said it all.
I’ll never forget the night before the first game of the 71 season. We adjourned from our Friday night meeting with the coaches when Slick summoned us to the parking lot. He was holding a paper bag in one hand, a can of gasoline in the other. We all gathered around him and waited anxiously for him to speak. It was like those old E.F. Hutton commercials; when Teddy spoke his teammates listened. We all held him in such high regard. You could hear a pin drop. He made a short speech about how much the team meant to him and how we were going to kick Dover’s ass the next day. Then he reached into the bag and pulled out a Dover Tiger Voo Doo Doll! The team roared it’s approval. Teddy had been working on this amazing replica all week. It was adorned in a disgusting orange and black Dover football jersey, black football pants and a helmet. This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill Voo Doo doll. This was a Parry original! Once we quieted down, he set the doll down on the pavement, soaked it with gasoline and threw a match at it. The moment it went up in flames you could hear our chant loud and clear as it echoed in the woods – HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO-HOO!
What a great way to send us off the night before the big game. Only Slick could’ve pulled this off. If it was anyone else it wouldn’t have been credible. He had the entire team believing there was something to this Voo Doo magic. We walked off the field that next day with a victory against our vaunted IAC rival. It probably had nothing to do with the doll and everything to do with Slick’s leadership.
There’s one game in particular that stands out in my mind when I think of Ted. It was our second game of the 71 season against Mendham. They had a beast of a fullback by the name of Tosun Bayrack who had been heralded as one of the best in the county. We were coming off an emotional win against Dover which made it difficult for us to find our mojo. The coaches had been talking all week about Bayrack’s ability to take over a game . I think Teddy took that personally.
From the opening kickoff is seemed like Mendham’s star running back couldn’t go anywhere without Teddy wrapped around his ankles. Slick feared no opponent and held very little regard for his own body. Bayrack seemed to be getting the ball on every other play which meant he’d be dealing with the pesky Parry. On one of those plays, late in the first half Bayrack broke through the line and was able to mount a full head of steam. Teddy did the same from his corner back position and the two collided head first. Bayrack stumbled backwards as if he’d just run into a brick wall. Teddy was dazed. In fact so dazed that he walked into the Mendham huddle thinking it was ours. This caused the officials to signal for an injury time out. Then, they tried to escort the unwilling Wildcat to the sidelines. He refused to go until Coach Keenan went out and literally dragged him off the field. Parry spent two plays on the sidelines trying to convince the coaches that he was fine. Next thing I know he’s back on the field. He played the rest of the game in his normal hard hitting, go for broke style ultimately leading us to our second victory in a row.
You won’t meet a nicer guy than Teddy Parry. You can bet his opponents didn’t feel that way. I’m so thankful he was part of our team. He made us all better!