Dear Mr. Crosby,
This isn’t a letter about hockey. It’s about drinking.
My name is Ben Johnson and while you could classify this letter as “fan mail,” I must admit that I’m not technically a fan. I am, and have been since birth, a Detroit Red Wings fan and so, as I’m sure you can imagine, regardless of your talents, it’s unlikely that I’ll ever find myself rooting for you or your team (the exception being those times you don a team Canada jersey to represent our country).
I can, however, appreciate that you are a talented and physically impressive athlete. That is, I have seen you do things I find impressive–notably, during a Reebok commercial when I watched you do push-ups with one of your hands on a medicine ball, then push yourself up into the air and switch the medicine ball to the other hand as you came back down to repeat the task.
Having a had a few beverages at the time, and having a basketball nearby, a friend and I tried to duplicate the task, confirming that, yes, the exercise you had made look quite easy was in fact very difficult.
And then the conversation turned to drinking.
Having resigned myself to my friend’s couch once more and having taken up my beer again, I remarked to my friend something along the lines of, “Well, I doubt Sidney Crosby can drink as well as I can.”
It was a comment made in jest owing to the fact that I enjoy a beverage now and then and also alluding to the fact that this habit of mine had likely contributed to my inability to complete the exercise you did in the commercial. And while it was a comment made in jest, I meant it sincerely.
My friend, Leon, however, disagreed.
And so began a debate.
Leon contended that because you are seven years our junior and inarguably an elite athlete, you would be able to process alcohol at an exponential rate. His argument, which was fairly persuasive, was that you are young and in excellent physical condition and you would therefore experience less of alcohol’s inebriating effects than I would.
My argument was that, for the very same reasons—you are young and in great shape—you would not be able to hold your liquor as well as I can. I imagine, based on your physical fitness, that you are probably unlikely to “pollute” your body with booze all that often and would therefore have a lower tolerance for alcohol.
I know that hockey players are known to enjoy the odd beverage now and then, but I assume that at your level of play, the hard-partying jock shenanigans of your youth are something you’ve left behind. I on the other hand still enjoy adult beverages a couple times a week.
I maintain that, as a hockey player, you have conditioned your body with battle ropes and Swiss balls, whereas as beer writer, I’ve conditioned mine with IPAs and robust porters.
So I write to you, Mr. Crosby, to settle the matter of this debate. Could you please concede that, if put to a competition with you that involved drinking beer, I would surely be the victor?
I fear that nothing short of a response from you will resolve this ongoing debate and I urge you, when you respond, not to think of this concession as something that makes you any less of a man—as so many other 25 year olds might think such a concession would imply—but instead to consider that it is very much in keeping with your impressive lifestyle as an elite athlete to admit that a schlub like me is more adept at downing pints.
I fully admit that in all things related to physical fitness you are surely my better, and I feel no less manly having admitted that. Some guys are just better at some things than others; for you it’s hockey, for me it’s drinking beer.
And so I ask that you please email me back at your earliest convenience so that I might clarify the matter with Leon and we can all go back to life as usual. I recognize that, as I write this, the Penguins are essentially the hottest team in the league and you’re on a 12 game win streak, but if you could see fit to respond when you get a chance, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you very much.
Ben T. Johnson
P.S.- In the unlikely event that you opt not to concede my hypothetical victory, I must warn you that I should consider that a challenge and, as a result, would think it only prudent that you and I meet as soon as possible in order to engage in some sort of drinking contest, consisting of a line-up of Ontario craft beer and, in all likelihood, a handful of cigarettes.