Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Respect Yourself or No One Else Will

There is a disturbing sub-type of Leafs fan developing. They are the self-loathing Leafs fan. There is a striking similarity between this Leafs fan and the fans of the Boston Red Sox prior to their cathartic 2004 World Series win. (I should note that I mean cathartic for Red Sox fans, not for everyone else who now has to experience an even more aggravating Bostonian).

There are many similarities between both franchises. First, the Leafs are vastly out-paced by their bitter rivals, the Montreal Canadiens, in terms of championships (that sentence even hurt to think, let alone write). In the biggest rivalry in North American sports, the Red Sox trail the New York Yankees by a Grand Canyon-sized margin in the same measure. Each city possesses especially rabid fans who take each win and loss way too seriously. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that a simple winning streak of two games will induce cries of "playoffs!" while the inverse will reduce each fan base to bemoan their team’s ineptitude. The devotion of each fan base stretches across the nation. Leafs fans consistently make “home games” for Toronto whether they are actually playing in Toronto or Ottawa, Buffalo, Calgary, Columbus, or even Dallas. Red Sox fans plague America in a similar fashion. Worst of all, both teams experienced (or are experiencing) a soul-crushing lapse between championships. The Red Sox were able to exorcise their demons in 2004, while the Leafs still march closer to half a century of futility each year.

So, what’s the point of this comparison? As previously mentioned, the self-loathing Leafs fan is running rampant and it's affecting all of us. No longer do they actively hope for the best
or as is more often the case, delude themselves from realitybut they actively anticipate the worst. This is like a pre-2004 Fenway Park crowd that nervously awaited the inevitable collapse, or what is better described as an emotional gut punch. Years of following the Red Sox conditioned them. Maybe the early- and late-1990s provided Leafs fans with a brief reprieve from this conditioning. The 1980s certainly tried Toronto’s sanity. Many are suggesting this period has returned.

These are the self-loathing Leafs fans; ones who allow themselves to wallow in their own misery. They take every negative and extrapolate their meaning. Luke Schenn isn’t regressing this year because of a simple sophomore slump, but rather, his play is due to the Leafs' inability to properly develop a young player. The Leafs traded two first-round picks and they will inevitably turn into the next Mario Lemiuex, twice! Each and every Leaf traded will become a superstar. Essentially, nothing goes right and if it does then it’s an anomaly.

People like Damian Cox perpetuate this fandom. Let me give you the synopsis of every Leafs article Damien has, and will continue, to produce. The Leafs suck. They always will. You are stupid for liking them. Buy more of this fine newspaper. Two other snake oil salesmen are Dave Feschuk and Al Strachan, responsible for the books Leafs AbomiNation and Why The Leafs Suck And How They Can Be Fixed. Nobody should ever give these assholes money. Why would you want a book like this? These are books for sadists. This pervasive negativity is not only depressing, but moronic. Buying into this view of the Leafs can only affect how you subsequently view them. Turnovers become more pronounced, goals against turn into bad goals, and hockey turns from a fun way to spend your free time into a painful way to experience every waking day.

Yes, the season looks bleak, but I guess I’m just a classic Leafs fan. I’ll ride the dizzying highs (playoffs!) and suffer through the crushing lows. But I assure you the lows only last until the next goal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...