With the play-off hopes of the Toronto Maple Leafs all but dashed, it is indeed starting to look like spring for this embittered, fair-weather hockey fan. The Maple Leafs inspire all manner of absurd behavior and opinion. To my mind, they embody everything that's screwed-up in Toronto: as a sports franchise, they're the goose that will never stop laying the golden eggs, no matter how sick it gets. Back in the day, the Maple Leaf Gardens was a sold-out venue for every single game. Team owner Harold Ballard did his utmost to infuriate his players and his paying fans, and still the venue remained full.
When he finally died, Leaf fans held out hope their team could finally pull it together and win a Stanley Cup. HA!! It seems ownership remains bent on testing fan loyalty -- and why not? The Air Canada Centre has almost twice the capacity of the Gardens, is even more uncomfortable to sit in, and is filled to capacity every single game.
Toronto sports fans deserve the Maple Leafs, they really do. Meanwhile, home-grown CFL football star "Pinball" Mike Clemons coaches the Toronto Argonauts to Gray Cup victory and ... has to shop around for a stadium to play in?! "Pinball" is an absolute mensch -- a community-minded family man who insists education ought to be the chief sell of each and every professional athlete. Toronto doesn't deserve him. They deserve hot-headed louts like Leaf coach Pat Quinn and GM John Ferguson -- who aren't speaking to each other. They deserve a goalie my age(!), just to raise the team's median age to over-35. A forty-year-old goalie! And Quinn needs Ferguson to tell him the goalie's out for the season with a back sprain?! I could have told him that in November, when I strained my back raking leaves.
Yeah, that's right: "leaves", not "leafs". Toronto deserves its Leafs.