Whatever Kaizer Chiefs striker Bernard Parker achieves on the field, you can be sure that it’s nothing compared with the kind of husband and father he is.
Wendy Parker, Bernard’s wife and mother to their two sons Skye (14) and Storm (7) says every expectation she had of a father for her children has been well and truly surpassed by Bernard.
'Bernard is very family orientated. He loves spending time with our kids. Even in the mornings, he takes every school drive with us, and by the time he’s finished with training, he also picks the boys up from school. He’s very active in their lives. I’m very lucky with Bernard because he’s one of the very few dads that I know of that spends a lot of time with his kids. He’d rather be with his kids than out on the town or something.
'He’s very hands-on, right up to making lunches for them. If he’s been away, when he gets back he’ll tell me, ‘Listen babe, you can sleep in’. And he takes care of everything, from getting them ready in the morning and giving them breakfast and their vitamins to packing their lunches. He’s the kind of father who on a Saturday or a public holiday will easily just pack up the kids and take them out for the day to play golf or some other activity. He’s really a blessing as a father. It takes a big load off me and it’s great to have somebody you can rely on,' says Wendy.
It also explains why Bernard was amongst the first of the Kaizer Chiefs players to sign up for the Kaizer Chiefs and Vodacom Red Father and Son Sleepout this August. This 31 August experience, which is exclusive to Vodacom Red clients, will see Kaizer Chiefs’ fathers and their sons connect with their beloved football club like never before as 100 fathers, father-figures, and their sons (aged 4-10) will camp out in style at the Kaizer Chiefs Village at Naturena.
According to Wendy, it’s exactly the kind of experience Bernard loves sharing with his boys.
'I think he’s more the fun parent. He brings that balance to me being a bit more serious and focusing on things like homework and so on. Whenever he’s home they are out in the garden kicking a ball or they play PlayStation together. It’s like they have their own little club.'
The intense life of a footballer comes with its own time pressures, and even more so for those players who have families. But Wendy says her husband still makes his family his priority.
'Bernard is very reserved and very homely. So the fact that he plays football doesn’t change the person that he is. He’s very grounded and spends all of his spare time with the boys. He loves doing family things more than being in the limelight as a footballer.
'When he does travel, Bernard will phone from the time he leaves to the time he arrives, and then every morning and after school to find out about a test the boys had or something. So he chats to the boys a lot when he’s away. The boys love him and are very proud of him. They really look up to him as a role model.”
Wendy also believes initiatives like the Kaizer Chiefs and Vodacom Red Father and Son Sleepout are critical in modern society.
'I think this is a very important initiative. It’s basically for the fathers and kids to connect because in most families it doesn’t happen. I firmly believe that what happens on the field is impacted by what happens off it. A family is very grounding for the players. They get so many invitations to go to different places, so having a family really grounds them. And Kaizer Chiefs promotes this as a very family-orientated club.”
And as competitive as he may be for the Amakhosi, Wendy says her husband does not try to be the coach when his own boys are playing football.
'He’s quite easy on the side of the field when the kids are playing their school sport. We both feel the kids needs to just enjoy their sports and we don’t push them too much.”
Clearly, whether it’s PlayStation at home or a sleepout with Vodacom Red, Bernard Parker believes the most important position he’ll play in this life is that of a great father.
To be one of the 100 lucky Vodacom Red fathers or father-figures to stand a chance to win a camping spot at the Kaizer Chiefs and Vodacom Red Father and Son Sleepout on 31 August, register your entry before 12 August by at www.redrewards.co.za (click on Red Soccer Rewards).
Follow the conversation at #RedFatherAndSon and #BeAPresentDad
Vodacom Red. For those who Expect More.
Only Vodacom has the connection to Kaizer Chiefs to make this money-can’t-buy experience a reality for their Red clients.