The Leafs are in town. This means Edmonton’s Leaf fanbase will make the annual trek to the Pill for something approaching a religious experience. If the Toronto Maple Leafs ever win a Stanley again, Western Canada will be riddled with parades, Leafs jerseys, general merriment and the same sort of irritation that plagues or long winded relatives inspire.
The Toronto Maples Leafs are loved. A Leaf fan passing by can not only tell you that Borje Salming got a double in this at-bat, but that Allan Bester is the goalie and it was a mid-week game in a snowstorm (there are empty seats).
I’m not a Leafs fan. I find the team and its sense of entitlement to be pathetic. Unlike the New York Yankees, who are asses but win a championship often enough to matter, the Leafs organization acts like a large, authentic center stone in a sea of cubic zirconia without having any kind of claim to fame. PLUS there are several decades worth of idiotic decisions, a myriad of diabolical and sinister events occurring under their roof and at least one guy from the organization I’m pretty sure is in hell.
I have grown to like some Leaf fans lately. One of my daily stops now is Pension Plan Puppets which features some truly hilarious writing and some genuine (but not overdone) humility. I’ve never met this kind of Leaf fan but it is nice to know they exist.
Borje Salming deserved good fans.
I hate my team. It happens maybe once a decade–well that’s not true–it happened about 1993 or so (George Burnett, Gord Mark, somewhere in there) when Terry Jones wrote a column that basically said all hope was lost. I knew Terry Jones a little at one time, he’s not a bad guy. I dropped him off at Northlands a few times 100 years ago when we worked in the same building and he needed to get to an Oilers game. Decent sort, great sense of humor. Really.
Anyway, this Terry Jones column had an impact on me. I was early 30′s, married, and about to face a winter of complete and utter frustration watching interlopers (you’ll never see that word on this blog again, I betcha) skating around in Gretzky’s uniform. So I tuned out, spent more time with my wife, went for walks (she got pregnant so maybe we didn’t go for a lot of walks) and did other stuff most evenings. I have some interesting friends and we had them over for dinner and drinks every once in awhile, we went to movies and concerts and I think that was the year I went door to door for the Cancer Society (growing up Jehovah’s Witness makes you a natural at any door to door endeavor).
I feel one of those winters coming on. Soon. Oh hey, I’ll still blog every day and post about Gagner and prospects and I have a candle burning for Marc Pouliot and it wouldn’t be fair to his Mom to cash in when we’re both needed so badly.
It is reasonable to back off a little from this team. I honestly believe the Edmonton Oilers don’t know they’re in the entertainment business. Maybe Bill Hunter can appear as the ghost of seasons past and put a scare in someone. At least he’d be entertaining.