Leafs Nation

Dear Child(ren), 

Let’s take a break from being all serious with the mental health nonsense and have some fun.

Where do babies come from!

Nope. Not fun. Not something you want to hear from me, I’ll be too immature and start giggling. Go ask your mother or rent a video.

Was that bad parenting advice? To be fair as I write this I am not a parent…

Something more fun than babies…a plague maybe? I kid, I kid. I’ll try to be at least a little more serious than this.

I was about to start a sentence saying “when I was your age” until I realized that I have no idea how old you are when you are reading this so that is an impossible statement to make.

Let’s talk about the Leafs.

For all of you people that aren’t obligated to read this (people that are not my child/children) if you aren’t a hockey fan or a Leafs fan, you may leave.

Some people take time to develop into being a fan of any specific sports team. Take me and the Cubs. I got invested in fantasy baseball and paid attention to the sport for a few years and was very ho-hum about the Jays so I never really cared about the sport passionately. The Cubs won me over. Was it because they won a World Series? Nope. I was cheering for them before that. It was because they hadn’t won a championship in 110 years. That’s a long time for a team to be around without a championship. That’s a long time for a city filled with fans to be disappointed. I think you get where I’m going with this.

I started becoming a fan of the Cubs because of a few reasons. 1. I’m a huge fan of underdogs and a team that hasn’t won in 110 years is the ultimate underdog. 2. The pain of that 110 year drought is all too familiar to me as a Leafs fan. 3. I love solid pitching and Arrieta and Lester are two of my favourites in the league currently. 4. A guy name Kyle Schwarber.

This was supposed to me a Leafs post so where was I…? Oh right! Sometimes becoming a fan of an organization takes a while to develop.

Sometimes you’re born into it.

I’ve been a Leafs fan since I started being a fan of hockey which is earlier than I can really remember. My favourite for years was the captain, Mats Sundin. He never won a championship with the Leafs (or anyone for that matter) but he to me the embodiment of the organization. That and he was captain…why wouldn’t I want a C on the jersey I would wear to watch games?

In my time of being able to vividly remember watching hockey, the Leafs have made the playoffs once with an asterisk. It was a lockout shortened season which means that everybody discredits the playoff appearance as just a fluke based on the circumstances of the league at the time.

That playoff series must never EVER be spoken of in detail. I don’t need to cry again.

Hockey to me was a constant. I never played because we couldn’t really afford it but I would go out in the street every night for months on end every year playing road hockey by myself. Basically just rollerblading around the street and shooting on the net while saying a play by play to myself. I was the hero of the Toronto Maple Leafs quite a few times. I was even greater than Gretzky!

I lost myself out there. Stress, anxiety and depression would all slip away to be replaced with dreams and fun.

Being a Leafs fan has been hard. I can honestly say that I’ve never given up on the team. Through the worst, most painful seasons of my life I would still cheer for the Leafs and remain ever optimistic that they could make the playoffs until they were statistically eliminated. There is one year in recent memory where I didn’t watch a single game and that was last season. The only reason I did this was because I WANTED the Leafs to lose pretty much every game. I wanted them to lose so that they would be able to draft Auston Matthews. I couldn’t bear to watch the Leafs play and cheer for them to lose. It would have been too much of a conflict. The season ended, the Leafs came in last and lo and behold they drafted Auston Matthews who is almost certain to be the next captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs (a huge improvement over Dion Phaneuf).

With the way management is running the team I am sure that the team is going to be competitive in just a few short years, maybe even as soon as next year seeing as how good the rookies are playing right now. A few changes, a solid top 2 defenseman, and the Leafs may actually start making the playoffs without any asterisk. Maybe by the time you can form memories the Leafs will even do something that hasn’t happened since 1967.

For now, at least the hockey is entertaining knowing that there is hope with the team that hasn’t been there for years.

If you become a Habs fan I will disown you. I know that’s a sudden interjection but it needed to be said. I can’t honestly ever say “my son(s)/daughter(s) are Habs fans” I’d much rather say, “yeah they don’t care about hockey at all”. I can’t turn on NHL 25 and see a file where the user team is the freaking Habs. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! 

You can be a Senators fan. I don’t like the Senators but I can’t really say I hate them either. They are fun to make fun of instead. The only accomplishment they’ve ever had in their organizations history is making the playoffs (one year even reaching the finals). Whenever the Leafs played them in the playoffs, the Leafs won so…not a whole lot of a rivalry there.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are the greatest hockey organization that has ever existed. I don’t care what anybody says. I bleed blue and white and, with any luck, I’ll instill the same in you.

GO LEAFS GO!

Love you always (unless you’re a Habs fan),

Dad

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