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Sandy Clarke, who comes from a small town near Flin Flon, says she cannot understand all the fuss over Bobby, why people are forever ringing her bell and asking, "Can we look at him?" "When we met," she says, "he was going to school and in the summers he pumped gas and drove a tow truck. With the Bombers, he was the leading scorer all right, but everybody had watched him grow and wasn't impressed. He still wears jeans and cutoffs, still looks as grubby as ever. But now people treat him differently. It's like they've got him way up high on this pedestal where he doesn't belong."
But there Bobby Clarke stands, propped up by Snider, Shero and whoever else happens by. On and on they go about how he picks up draft choices at the airport and moves them into his home; how he is adopting a Canadian Indian boy to be raised with his own children, Wade, 4, and Jody, 2; how he arranges for cars and clothing allowances for the players; how he takes the trainers and their families to Florida each summer at his own expense; how he refuses to take any of his hockey trophies—Wanamaker, Masterson, Pearson, etc.—home; how he runs his own preseason training camp for the Flyers; how he is the only player on the team without a manager because he is not interested in making more money on the outside; and on and on.
"How much money does a man need?" Clarke asked recently while relaxing in the living room of his home, which is on a busy street and might be described as suburban modest. Though the sign on the door reads, PLS DO NOT RING BELL, DADDY AND BABY ASLEEP, the bell kept ringing.
"Can I have five autographed pictures?" one small boy asked Clarke at the door.
"What about those two guys hiding behind the tree out there?" Clarke said.
"Make it nine autographed pictures," the boy said, and Clarke complied.
"I'm happy if I can take care of my family," Clarke continued, "have a nice house and things like a nice car, be with my friends, swim and play golf. I like hockey, I like the life. It's a heck of a challenge to see if you can motivate 20 guys. I'm really a very average guy in most ways. If I have any one talent it might be that I do like to work hard."
Or as one Shero maxim puts it, "If you push through the pain barrier into real agony, you get many intangibles."