Sunday, February 28, 2010

Some Thoughts about Sidney Crosby and a Sense of Fairness

When the gold medal hockey game between Team USA and Team Canada sat at 2-1 in favor of the home team, I turned to my husband and said, "You know what I want to happen?  I want Sidney to score the Nail-in-the-Coffin goal."  His reply was, "Or better yet, let him score the winning goal after we tie it up."  We both thought I would get my wish a few minutes later when Sidney went tearing down the ice all alone heading for a kill shot on Miller.  Long story short, that shot was blocked, USA tied the game and Sid the Kid scored the gold medal goal deep into sudden death overtime.  It's the stuff of legends.  It's the stuff that gets some Hollywood hottie playing you in a major motion picture.  If he had been American, some producer would probably be on the phone already trying to make the deal.  The captain of the defending Stanley Cup champions now has added an Olympic gold medal to his trophy case.  Sidney Crosby is 22.

I can tell you that when I was his age, I was trying to figure out how to make the gas in the tank of my crap Chevette last until payday.  I ate a lot of Kraft Mac and Cheese because it was $0.25 a box.  I hardly had life by the string.  Unfortunately, Kelsey never even made it to that level.  The Beast grabbled with her all her short adult life, and she never found a time when she was at peace.  She struggled to make ends meet, even with substantial financial help.  She struggled with everything frankly.  Self image, relationships, managing her time and her responsibilites.  Everything was just too much with the huge, if you'll allow the pun, weight of her eating disorder dragging her down.

I have been thinking about the contrast for a while now.  Ever since the announcer mentioned Sid's age during an earlier game.  I knew he was that young, but you tend to forget about it when you're watching him play for the Penguins.  He's just a star forward that has a nose for the goal.  Well, that's not quite true.  There's always this sense of how incredible it is that this amazing player wears a Penguins uniform.  But, really, he's still just a kid.  He really, truly is just Sid the Kid.

So, how is that two individuals a year apart have such divergent life experiences, and how is that fair?  Kelsey had a talent that was different than Sidney's, but was it any less valuable?  I don't resent Sidney Crosby for his success, and I was extremely happy for him.  He's like the son I've never met who can buy and sell me a million times over.  But, I have randomly wondered over the last few weeks why Kelsey couldn't have had just a small bit of that shooting star that he seems to have a firm grasp of.

Marissa, as it happens, is struggling with her own sense of fairness.  She has an online friend who has been extremely ill with an advanced case of bulimia for a long while now.  I remember seeing photos of her two years ago and thinking she could not possibly last much longer if she didn't get help.  Something triggered Marissa today to become angry with the girl.  Something she said along with a photo she posted caused Marissa a lot of distress.  She tried to send me the link, but I could not access it.  I gathered the girl was drawing attention to how ill she is, almost like a badge of honor.  I've seen that happen.  Kelsey went down that road herself.  It's that sense of control they feel.  See how sick I am, but I can still function?  It's a little hard to explain, and it's hard to understand.  Marissa wondered how it was fair that she was still alive and Kelsey wasn't.  I know she doesn't wish bad things for the young woman, she has worried over her for a long time, but I was struck by that word again after I had been considering it for a while:  fair.  For Marissa, it's more that she just misses her sister.  And wonders how it is fair she no longer has her.  I absolutely have no answer to that at all.

I will confess, I wonder about the fairness of how Mother, with not one, but four serious illnesses and a full life behind her, outlived my daughter.  I try not to think of it, and I definitely work to make sure it doesn't color my judgement toward her care, but it's almost inevitable that it will creep into my mind during my darker hours.

But, what is fair?  How can you define it?  For one man's fair is another man's crime.  Just ask the US hockey team tonight.  Some would tell you it is all God's Plan.  Others would retort that He needs to re-think that plan.  I won't tell you anything because I have no answers.  I really don't.  I want to believe there is a grand plan and all things happen for a reason.  But all I really can tell you is that I have tried not to obsess on it too much, because doing so changes absolutely nothing.   Yet, as I stood here tonight, waiting for my heart to slow down from that fast paced game, I watched 22 year old Sid the Kid Crosby celebrate and felt a pang for my own kid.  I hope his parents appreciate the gift they have been given.  I hope they have glowing hearts.

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