The Comeback Kid
This post will be of a slightly more personal nature. The biggest news in the NHL right now is the return of Sidney Crosby against the Islanders tomorrow. I think within 90 seconds of the announcement, it was already trending on Twitter.
I couldn’t be more thrilled for the kid. I have a lot of respect for him as a player, but over the years as we spoke and saw each other I gained even more respect for him as a person. You never want to see somebody be forced to go without something they are so passionate about, no matter what that happens to be. Crosby bleeds hockey. And I think that’s easy to say if you just see him on the ice, the way he wants the puck and his unmatched work ethic. But off the ice, his dedication is a sight to behold. His love of the game borders on obsession.
From an athlete’s point of view, I’m not sure how he maintained his mental sanity these past 11 months. A fractured hip two years ago forced me to take a full year off of running, and I was unbearable to be around. It wouldn’t be a far stretch to say that I became certifiably insane–and I have only been a runner for 8 years. If hockey is all you know your entire life, and in an instant that gets taken away from you…well, I’m not sure how he dealt with it, to be honest.
I was at the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh when he got hit for the first time, and I swear I heard his jaw crack from my position behind the plexiglass. Looking back I always wondered if he would do anything different, if he could go back to that day. I wonder if he would have played the next game against Tampa Bay, had he known.
In any case, he’s one of the most gracious, polite, and kind human beings (let alone professional athlete) I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with. Kudos, Sidney. It’s been a long road to recovery, but it’s great to have you back.