Do you hate Sidney Crosby or not?
(I ask because this was the topic on the sports talk show I listen to on the way home from work the other day. The hosts were generally baffled as to why there is so much apparent hatred of Sidney Crosby around these parts. Now, I'm a very casual hockey fan -- I couldn't name the entire Sabres roster, and I could probably name only a handful of players on other rosters, league-wide -- but I hang out with lots of hockey lovers who are really knowledgeable, and the most negative thing I've heard in my social circle is a good friend of mine saying: "He's a freakishly great player, but jeez, I'm sick of him!"
And I got the point. I wasn't hatred, but in two years Crosby has scored the winning goal against the Sabres at the Ice Bowl (an outdoor game played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2008), played in two Stanley Cup finals, won one Cup, and scored the winning goal against the US in the Olympic Gold Medal game. So I can see being sick of the guy! It's the old "Geez, doesn't that guy ever lose!" thing, coupled with the fact that he's always beating us, whoever us happens to be.
Apart from simple jealousy, if there is hatred of Crosby right now (and I suppose there probably is, after another friend chastised folks on Facebook about calling him "Cindy Crosby"), I don't much get it. Buffalo and Pittsburgh don't have a big hockey rivalry that I know about. I mean, the Penguins are a big deal because they're good, but I don't notice fans here getting up for Penguins games in the same way they get up for Toronto Maple Leafs games. So why the hatred?
I suspect it's just continual frustration; the natural reaction to not getting the girl, multiplied by dozens of girls over dozens of years. It's not just the frustration of Buffalo's sports teams being 0-for-forever in bringing home championships. I think it's just the unarticulated knowledge that despite pro sports having been big in Buffalo for fifty-plus years, at no point has the clearly dominant player in any of the pro sports we have actually been here. The closest we came was probably Dominik Hasek, and I'm not even sure he was the dominant hockey player in his era. (I could be wrong -- as I said, I'm not the most knowledgeable hockey fan out there.)
But you'd think that just by sheer law of averages, sooner or later a Buffalo team would happen upon a Joe Montana or a Jerry Rice or a Wayne Gretzky or a Sidney Crosby. Is that it? Are we in Buffalo just wired to hate the best person around at any given moment, because the best we've ever managed to date is being the punching bag for the best person around?