Posts Tagged ‘Toronto Maple Leafs’

By: Steph Rogers

They say that love hurts (at least that’s what I’m told by the folks who invest themselves in other humans), but the hurt is most easily evidenced by fans of a certain team that plays hockey in a large Canadian market and has had trouble reaching the playoffs since 1967.

I don’t want to name any names, but there is a lot of love lost if you’re a fan of that certain team.

“There must be other activities for fans of a certain team to engage in so that they can cease to have their hearts broken so many times in one short season?” I said, to no one in particular (probably my dog)

“Yes! There are!!!” I replied (to myself, with gusto), after the gods of hockey smacked me in the soul with an oversized white maple leaf.

So I set out to change minds, and to change hearts.  To teach others the lessons they need to be taught to move forward in order to really feel like winners. I think I’ve done that here. (I imagine that last part you read was narrated by Morgan Freeman or James Earl Jones).

1. Crafts

Surely needlepoint or knitting are things you’ve never considered before. Well, no one ever wants to enter into a relationship that’s doomed to fail either. You can’t fail when you invest your time and hands into a beautifully knitted sweater or a logo-ed throw pillow! I mean, I suppose you can fail horribly, but instead of crying after a loss while your blue face paint drips from your tears onto your shirt, you can curse yarn and…needles. And by the time the hockey season is over, if you play your cards right, you’ll be wearing a brand new sweater out of the seniors home you’ve been frequenting to avoid television. Think about how proud all of your friends at knitting circle will be, the friends who remember 1967 like it was yesterday!

I found this on eBay. You could make one! For yourself!

2. Pick a new team every week

Variety is the spice of life! Or at least that’s what I imagine is a key phrase at swingers parties, and I think they’re a pretty happy bunch. Screw loyalty! Enter into a non-committal relationship with all 30 teams! Skip from one conference to the next! When things start getting good, jump ship and find another project (Columbus Blue Jackets) to work on until you realize you just really can’t change them. Then, get up to no good and have a weekend fling with a younger, more energetic team (Winnipeg Jets). The lesson here: don’t wait (45 years) for someone to put out, no matter how much you like them. Those pants are never coming off.

Why take just one when you can have 30? Think about it.

3. Imagine that it’s 1967 for the entire season

Grow your hair out and wear a vest made of blue and white flowers. Eat chinese food while drinking English Breakfast tea to pay homage to tension in Hong Kong. Turn your man-cave into a bomb shelter and hold concerts in it every time a hockey game is on TV. It’s preferable that the bands playing at the concert are limited to only covers of song from The Doors self-titled album and some Pink Floyd. When the playoffs are on, watch only repeats of the 1967 playoffs. Celebrate. Repeat the following year. Celebrate. Think not of the future.

If 1967 doesn't look fucking awesome, I don't know what does.

4. Write a play for the stage

Maybe you want to make it about two guys who played sports together at New England-area College in the 1970s. Speak of how their relationship turned into a professional one, where one guy was the GM and the other was the coach of a pretty big team, let’s say it was a hockey team. Friendship was tested when the coach wasn’t so hot at his job. In fact, his coaching may have led to the demise of a historic franchise while an entire city called “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!” at the arena one night. In unison.

Make it a musical. Have a chorus line dressed in blue and white sing the number “Off With His Head” while hitting the sides of the set with hockey sticks. Do not show the beheading. Have an actor, the executioner (probably an old, awesome guy like Johnny Bower, Red Kelly, or any member of the 1967 Maple Leafs) slowly walk the coach off stage to his inevitable fate. Fade to black. Cue the final number, a slow ballad sung by the GM from what appears to be a lakefront bench with a nameless city skyline in the background, mourning the loss of a friend and his self-respect. You could win a Tony award. AN ACTUAL AWARD! And then you could name it ‘Stanley’.

Liza performs at the Tony Awards. With the Stanley Cup. Okay, fine. It's totally photoshopped.

Or, you can carry on. Carry on dreaming your big blue and white dreams every year. Believe in the importance of every game. Teach your kids the importance of every game. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you when it doesn’t work out, and you’re left with nothing but a tear-stained Kessel jersey and 67 broken dreams.