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Tuesdays With Hildy: Should You Mock A Team Thanks To Lack Of Playoff Success?


Apologies for the lack of Tuesdays. I've been "appointed" temporary overlord at Birdwatchers Anonymous, and have been trying to keep that site afloat, which is taking a ton of time and effort. Factor in graduation testing at work, and you have a super stressed Hildy.

Our friends at Pension Plan Puppets have to deal with mockery from Montreal Canadiens fans and Detroit Red Wings fans, as well as fans from fanbases who have only dreamed of the Leafs' pre-1967 success. The Leafs come to town, and you'll hear people shouting "1967!" at their fans regardless of if their own team's won the Cup or not. It's universal derision. Leafs fans take it with a shrug. But should they have to deal with it at all?

People who root for losing franchises are stupid because they're never getting rewarded.

This is the argument that Damian Cox usually tosses out to irritate Leafs fans and to goad them on. Most Leaf fans hate him, partially because the goading's obnoxious, and partially because it encourages others to hop on the torture the Leafs bandwagon. This article in the Toronto Star focuses on people who are from Toronto who mock Leaf fans and the team itself - they refuse to "root for a loser." This quote from a Torontonian who roots for the Habs basically sums it up:

"They’re such a garbage organization. They don’t deserve to make the playoffs," said D’Aloisio, who was born and raised in Etobicoke. "I see them as a joke. You have to be over 50 to remember when the Leafs won a Cup. I’m surprised the city is not up in arms."

Ow. But really, the Leaf fans are experiencing futility by not getting a cookie in the form of a Cup, right? By that line of thought, so are Blues fans - and Kings fans to boot. And heck, the Sabres have been around for a while and never won a Stanley Cup - and neither have the Canucks nor the Capitals. All of those fan bases, every single season, pour time, money, and emotion into something that statistically isn't going to happen. Isn't that the definition of insanity?

There's more to hockey than the Cup.

Pension Plan Puppets seems to have to publish their "yeah, we haven't won since 1967" post every year, because the odd fixation of fans is mocking the Leafs instead of celebrating the Cup winner. They've tabulated the length of time between Cups for every team - or if the team's even been successful. Some of the teams that have won a Cup also did so a generation ago, like the Philadelphia Flyers, for example. What's the cut off point? When do you start saying "Wow, that fan base needs to be laughed at for caring about their team?" I'm pretty sure that most Habs fans'll say sixteen (soon to be seventeen) years, since that's as long as it's been since they were good enough to win.

But why laugh at fans? Every year, the team that they love starts fresh - new players, sometimes new coach or a new owner, and a brand new 0-0-0 record to build on. Who's to say that next season isn't the year that the Blues win the Cup? Hell, Philly wasn't even supposed to make it to the Finals last season. Why is caring about your hometown team stupid? Quite frankly, if you win the Cup every season, or are consistently good and go deep in the playoffs every single year, don't you become spoiled and expect it? Doesn't that make the victory seem more like an entitlement and less like a celebratory event? You can't enjoy the sunshine if you don't have the rain, and when the Leafs, Kings, or Blues win the Cup again, the fans that've been drenched for so long'll need to wear SPF 100.