Being a Leafs fan sucks. It really really sucks. Like, it
REALLY sucks. If you’re in your early 20s, you’ve experienced pure heartbreak
and sadness for your entire teenage years.
And things seemed like they were just about to change. Tim
Leiweke was brought in to run MLSE. Brendan Shanahan was brought in to run the
Leafs. And it seemed like there was no way Randy Carlyle was going to survive
this offseason. But then we waited and waited and Carlyle was still around.
Today, a bombshell was dropped. Carlyle will be returning and
was given a two-year extension to boot. But don’t worry everyone, the assistant
coaches were let go, so change is coming (laughs hysterically). With Carlyle
back, questions will fly about how the team will look next year. Will Kadri be
back? How about Gardiner? Definitely not Reimer, right? Will Bolland,
Mr.*Carlyle-system*, be resigned to a $100-million contract? At this point, who
A word of warning for anyone out there who considers
themselves a Leafs fan but hasn’t been roped into the cult that is Toronto-sports
– please leave now. Don’t do it to yourself. Don’t cheer for, invest in, or
emotionally connect with a team so adept at killing hopes and dreams and
laughing at you while they do it.
It’s come to a point where all one can do is laugh. I’m 21
years old, have been a diehard Leafs fan since I fully understood the game of
hockey, and it’s been the worst sporting experience of my life. Unfortunately,
I’m stuck. And so are a large majority of Leafs fans. We are all stuck with a team
that we have loved for too long and will never be able to let go of no matter
how hard we try.
We’ve been through the John Ferguson years, the Paul Maurice
years, the Ron Wilson years and now the Carlyle years. Year after year of disappointment.
But for those of you who still have time, there’s no need to stay. You need to
run away, and run away far and fast. There’s 29 other teams in the NHL, all of
which will provide more short-term success, less tears and heartbreak, and an
organization that wants to succeed.
The Leafs look like none of that. They brought back a coach
who everyone wanted gone. From fans to media people to mathematicians. But the
Leafs said, “No Way Jose” and brought back the guy who led a team that had an
epic collapse amidst a lucky season and had his name chanted to encourage his
firing towards the end.
It’s constant heartbreak. It’s constant sadness and regret.
It’s constant laughter at a team that is more joke than anything. It’s the
roller coaster that never stops. If you’re not already on that roller coaster,
never get on. Turn away and run to another ride. You’ll thank yourself for it.