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With Leafs, it’s never too early to brainwash




Sean McIndoe September 10, 2010 – 7:00 am


Last month my wife and I welcomed our first son to the world. Like any proud father, I didn’t want to waste any time teaching him the important values that I hope he’ll carry with him throughout his life. So a few days ago, I sat him down for a very important discussion.


Hey little guy. Wakey wakey. Daddy wants to share something very important with you.


Do you see this friendly looking blue thing right here? That’s a Toronto Maple Leafs logo. It probably looks familiar, since there’s at least one on every item of clothing you own right now. And that’s because you’re going to be a Maple Leafs fan, just like your dad.


I want to tell you all about the Leafs. I want to teach you about Dave Keon and Borje Salming and Mats Sundin and Teeder Kennedy. So let’s look through daddy’s old scrapbook together and I’ll tell you all about it.


Look, here’s a picture of George Armstrong. He was called Chief. He’s scoring the clinching goal into an empty net to beat the Montreal Canadiens. Look how happy everyone looks! Do you see all the people cheering? They’re happy because they just saw the Leafs win their most recent Stanley Cup.


What’s that? No. No, there aren’t any pictures of this that are in colour.


Because they didn’t have colour photography back in 1967, that’s why. Well I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is. Look, if you want to see them in colour so badly, go ask your sister if you can borrow her crayons.


Hey, come on now little buddy, stop crying.


It’s not like Leaf fans haven’t had anything to cheer about since then. Let me tell you about 1993. That’s the year that the Leafs went on a magical run and almost made the Stanley Cup finals. They had Dougie Gilmour’s spinorama and Felix Potvin’s brilliance and Wendel Clark punched out Marty McSorley’s eyeball. It was probably the greatest stretch of hockey I’ve ever seen.


Yes, that’s right, 1993.


Well of course that seems like a long time ago to you, you’re two weeks old. Right, OK, I guess that was 17 years ago, sure. Nice math skills, Archimedes, do you have a point?


I said stop crying!


Look, I never said being a Leaf fan was going to be easy, OK? But I’m not raising you to be some sort of front-running bandwagon jumper who elbows his way to the head of the line when the team is winning and then bails out as soon as times get tough. The world already has too many Senators fans.


No, you’re going to stick this out until the bitter end, and here’s why: It will be worth it some day.


If you don’t believe me, ask a Chicago Blackhawks fan. They hadn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1961, but that all changed this season. For a few years they finished in last place just like the Leafs, but now they have a roster full of young stars that they drafted and their team is …


What? No. No, the Leafs can’t just go out and do that too. Because they don’t have any draft picks, that’s why. Because they gave them all to another team, OK? I don’t know, because it seemed like a good idea at the time!


No, daddy is not crying. Hey, isn’t there an episode of The Backyardigans you should be watching?


Look, kid. I know it seems hopeless. I know it even seems a little bit cruel to raise you as a Leafs fan. I know that whenever you see Daddy thinking about the Leafs he’s making angry faces and muttering mean words and drinking from one of his special grownup bottles.


But here’s the thing, son: Some day, the Leafs are going to win the Stanley Cup. It won’t happen this year, or the next, or even the one after that. But it will happen one day. And when that day arrives, all the near misses and the lost seasons and the jokes and the blown calls and the sleepless nights will just make it all that much sweeter.


When that moment comes, some day a very long time from now, you’re going to appreciate it in a way that only a true fan can. Because you’ll have earned it.


That’s why you’re going to be a Leaf fan, son, whether you like it or not. But if those nice folks from Children Services ask, you chose this of your own free will, OK?


Now let’s go get you changed. I think somebody made a Toskala in his diaper.


• Sean McIndoe is a hockey blogger who regularly updates the humour site Down Goes Brown. You can follow him on Twitter.



Read more: http://sports.nationalpost.com/2010/09/10/with-leafs-its-never-too-early-to-brainwash/#ixzz0zBLVTio4

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