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The picture worth a thousand memes

Revisiting the 'Schultz Chug' parade photo

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

With the re-airing of the Penguins' Stanley Cup-clinching win in Game 6 of the 2017 Final on Wednesday, we decided to re-visit the legendary 'Schultz Chug' photo/meme from the parade.

On the morning of the 2017 Penguins championship parade, Melinda Wedde went to the same spot she had watched the previous year's parade: at the corner of Wood Street and Boulevard of the Allies.

Wedde, who brought her son and her daughter, met up with two of her friends. And since Wedde's son has some sensory sensitivity, they went early - around 8 or 9 a.m. - to make sure they got to the front by the barricade so they could keep some space around him.

"At that intersection, the players tend to stop and get off and run around and talk to people," said Wedde, who was born in Indiana but became a Penguins fan after her family moved to the area for her husband's job in 2009. "You get a really good view. The second year, more players got off their trucks and walked around and stuff than the first time."

As some of the players were walking by, Wedde pulled out her iPhone and started taking pictures of everything that was happening in front of her - including a few of Justin Schultz downing a beer as he crossed the street. 

"I took a succession of pictures," Wedde said. "I have him going all the way up. And then I just posted the one that I thought was the best on Twitter."

With that, the picture worth a thousand memes was born. 

Tweet from @melwedde: Photo of the century #PensParade

Wedde took her phone back out about 20 minutes later, which was blowing up with notifications as the 'Schultz Chug' photo had already gone viral.

Not only did the photo start circulating on social media - it started circulating in the Penguins' group text, to the point where Sidney Crosby voted Schultz the MVP of the parade the next day.

"I just love the guy to death," Brian Dumoulin said. "He's one of my best friends on the team. He's a great guy. I'll look at all the pictures of him."

And as the day went on, fans got creative - Photoshopping Schultz chugging his beer into different backgrounds.

"I don't know what my favorite one was. They're all so funny," Schultz said later in an episode of the Scoop Podcast. "I remember that day actually, I didn't know that picture was out there or anything. Then I ended up looking at Twitter that night and just seeing every tweet was a meme of me drinking in some different picture (laughs)."

To hear Schultz talk about the 2017 Cup celebration, the memes and the shirt, listen from 16:59-22:53 of Episode 4 of the Scoop podcast.

Schultz was drinking on Abbey Road, the moon, the Cliffhangers game in The Price Is Right, with the Founding Fathers, in different movies... the list goes on and on. 

Tweet from @atrichmill:

Tweet from @timmshady:

BONUS: Jake Guentzel joined him!

Tweet from @HayekandHockey:

Tweet from @exZackktly: Live look-in from the parade today. #AnothaOne @atrichmiller @6Schultz6

Tweet from @HayekandHockey:

Tweet from @AARPfanatic: Can't believe @6Schultz6 wasn't credited for a cameo in Sudden Death @atrichmiller #LetsGoPens

Tweet from @HayekandHockey:

Wedde feels the same way as Schultz about all of the memes. She mentioned the Where's Waldo one and one of Schultz in front of the Flyers bench as two that stand out. But one that is particularly special to her is one made by a friend.

"Somebody Photoshopped one for me because I'm a yoga teacher," Wedde said. "So, I have a picture of myself doing a handstand, and they flipped him upside down and stuck him next to me. It's perfect."

Another friend later messaged Wedde and told her that the Pittsburgh Clothing Company was going to turn the 'Schultz Chug' photo into a shirt. And rather than profit from the design, she requested to have a donation made in her name to the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.

The design features the photo displayed over the words "Walking On Sunshine," which was the Penguins' victory song that season. The shirts turned out so well that even Schultz's family members requested them. 

"They all got the shirts," Schultz said. "They made me get them some."

Then, right before the 2017-18 season began, Schultz did an autograph signing at the 1st & Goal Sports Collectables store in the South Hills Village. The store reached out to Wedde and told her that they had a lot of requests for the photo and asked if she would be selling prints.

"I was like, order as many as you want and donate the proceeds to the Penguins Foundation," Wedde said. "So, I think in total between the shirts and that, I think we donated around $1,000 to them."

The store invited Wedde and her son to not only attend the autograph signing, but to come a few minutes early and meet Schultz before it began.

"I took a copy of it and we got a picture with him, and he signed it for me," said Wedde, with Schultz writing, 'Nice Pic!!' 

"That was really neat," she said. 

Tweet from @melwedde: Also have this

The 'Schultz Chug' meme is one of those things that will live on forever, both on social media and through the shirts - and has been fun to revisit with AT&T SportsNet's re-airing of the Penguins' four victories in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final and subsequent celebrations. 

Funnily enough, one person who wears his, even to this day, is Patric Hornqvist. This past season, he put on the 'Schultz Chug' shirt after a practice, and had a good laugh about it as he walked out of the locker room.

"I think that's so cool," Wedde said. "That's crazy to me. When I first posted the photo, I was like, 'Oh, that's cute. We'll move onto the next thing next week.' And here we are, three years later."

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