Mario Lemieux has always held a special place in my heart. We’re roughly the same age and I felt like I grew up right along with him while watching his playing career, amazing feats on the ice and growing family. His injuries and medical setbacks, inspirational comebacks and transition into owner and savior of the Pittsburgh Penguins have been nothing short of amazing. Whether you call him, “Le Magnifique” or “Super Mario,” he truly is magnificent and one of the good guys.
When Sidney Crosby came along, it was almost too good to be true that another one of the greatest players in hockey would wind up playing for our team. “Sid the Kid” or “The Next One” arrived on the scene in 2005,and what an absolute pleasure it has been to watch him both on and off the ice. From incredibly talented and adorable teenager who moved in with Mario and his family to team captain and all-around nice guy, Sid the Kid is all grown up now and was recently honored for playing his 1,000th game. How is that even possible? Time truly flies. I just smiled watching him being feted by his teammates and enjoyed seeing a terrific compilation of some of his greatest goals and fancy footwork. If I had to pick a favorite between Mario and Sid, I’m not sure I could do it.
Aside from their unbelievable athletic abilities, the one quality I truly admire about both of them is just how calm and in control they both always seem to be. Aside from his 1,000-watt smile, this is probably my favorite thing about Sidney Crosby. Throughout his entire career, my colleagues in the media have shoved microphones and cameras in his face at every moment and in every possible situation and not once have I ever seen him get flustered or be even the least bit impolite with any of them. Dozens of reporters could be shouting questions at him about why the team may have lost a heartbreaker of a game and he simply takes a deep breath, sighs and answers softly and politely usually starting with a, “Well ... “
I want to be like Sid the Kid. He is the zen master of zen. I have always admired people who can remain calm, cool and collected under the most stressful conditions and wonder how they do it. By all accounts, he is as nice, kind and generous as he seems. He’s the real deal.
The next time I encounter a stressful situation, I’m going to try to channel my inner Sid the Kid and just take a deep breath, sigh and think about how he might handle the situation. He may just want to crosscheck someone, but he’ll never let you know that. Congratulations to Sidney Crosby on 1,000 games, and I hope there are many more!
Kristin Emery can be reached at email@example.com.