I really don’t understand Leafs fans. For today’s example, I don’t understand why someone would spend more than $300 not only to declare their undying loyalty to a bunch of millionaires who spend eight months of every year chasing a frozen chunk of rubber, but also to express the unending frustration that is the inevitable and eternal result of said loyalty.
You know, I used to be a Leafs fan, just as rabid as any other. I had an official jersey and countless other bits of merchandise, I went to a few games a year, I watched Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday, and I knew the stats of every player. I cheered like you wouldn’t believe that time that they went all the way to the semi-final before being eliminated. Then, when I was just nine years old, they traded Lanny McDonald to Colorado. I decided right then and there that the Leafs would only ever break my heart and weren’t worthy of my loyalty or energy. So I suffered the Leafs for a total of maybe 4 years before getting out.
Looking back with more than thirty years of hindsight, I think that decision was one of the best of my single-digit years and saved me the kind of annual disappointment that could be expressed only on a personalized licence plate. It’s also the very first decision I can actually remember sitting down, thinking about, and then sticking with. So when I see people of my age or older talking about the Leafs’ chances this year, I just shake my head and wonder how they can stand it year after year.
I eventually gave up on the NHL entirely when the 1994 lockout showed me that the entire league wasn’t worthy of my energy. That’s when I rediscovered that playing sports was way more fun than watching them.