Something devastating has occurred to my city, within the last 10 years, under the noses of all of us residents. Toronto went soft. The “winner take all” mentality demanded by fans that made it a prestigious and proud sports city, is now gone. The once hardcore and at times cocky fan-base has traded in their expectations for wishes. Fans now will settle for any wins, rather than the ones that really count and we’ve become weak and desperate.
The Toronto Maple Leafs’ hot start has fans acting like a miracle is on its way. The problem is that there’s no longer a confidence or swagger from the team’s support. Even some reporters and analysts sell the team short, as if it is a city, in need of charity.
No offence to any other Canadian city, but, Toronto is the Canada’s core for entertainment and frankly the most significant sports city in the country. Edmonton claims it’s the still “city of champions”, and Montreal uses their 24 Stanley Cups like a shield, whenever mediocrity is mentioned. However, the Leafs were the team that people loved to hate. They were the Dallas Cowboys, the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Yankees of the NHL.
Sure, we haven’t won the cup since 1967, but we never let that make us a desperate city, we kept our pride. Regardless of records, titles, and players, outside of Toronto, the Leafs are the most recognizable yet, vilified NHL team in history.
The Leaf’s and the fans used to be a reflect each other. But now, the fans have become whiners and willing to accept anything, and Leaf’s the early regular season wins are treated as if they’re playoff wins. The high standard of Toronto from all major sports is being lessened just for a possible playoff appearance. It appears that any sign of life, has fans acting like we’ve never ever been there before.
Torontonians need to remember who they are; this isn’t Winnipeg, this isn’t Saskatchewan, this isn’t Moncton, this isn’t Ottawa. For us, just getting “there” isn’t enough, it’s about it winning championships. We don’t need “Player of the Month” or any cute other accolades. It’s all about the championship hardware.
The premature celebrations from some fans on forums and on talk-radio shows, proves how far we’ve fallen off and we need regain our pride. Leaf fans need to save the noise, and praise for the teams performance, thus far. After all, we all know that’s it’s about the finish, rather than the start. We need to once again, be the guys that people love to hate, but we can’t be desperate, and needy in the process. Be the guys that people want to be, but can never be; and even if we don’t win, its ok, were Toronto, and they aren’t.