I know what you’re thinking, “this girl is smoking some good shit and whatever it is, I want some.”
For those of you that don’t know (ie, my international viewers), the Toronto Maple Leafs is a professional hockey team in the National Hockey League (NHL). They are an “original six” team that has not won the Stanley Cup since 1967, the same season that my dad was born. They have a 49-year Stanley Cup drought, which is currently the longest drought of all teams in the NHL. The last time they (barely) clinched a playoff spot was in the 2012-2013 season, which was a lockout (shorter) season. And of course, last year they placed DEAD LAST in the league.
And yet, even with these terrible stats, the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise is the third most profitable in the NHL valued at $1.15 billion USD, behind the New York Rangers ($1.2 b), and Montreal Canadians ($1.18 b).
Even with the constant heartbreak that this team delivers during each game, fans (myself included) are willing to pour hundreds upon thousands of dollars to buy over-priced merchandise, and to sit in the Air Canada Centre (ACC) to cheer on their favourite team. So either generations of Leaf fans are utterly and completely insane, or maybe there is just something so special about us that the rest of the world could learn something from us.
Firstly, no matter how many games the Toronto Maple Leafs lose, or how much a specific player will screw up throughout the game, it’s as if we don’t know how to hold a grudge.
I’ve seen it in my own life where family members hold vicious grudges against each other for the stupidest reasons. Grudges that have torn my family apart for years because someone did or said something “wrong”. Meanwhile, literally every single game, Jake Gardiner somehow thinks it is a good idea to pass the puck in front of the net, which is the number one thing that a defensemen DEFINITELY SHOULD NOT BE DOING. And yet after our momentary heart palpitations we think “you know what, he’s an alright player.”
Secondly, we cling on to hope like there is no tomorrow. Even when the Leafs got completely assassinated by the LA Kings with a 7-0 loss, fans were thinking that in a few days they would play the Philadelphia Flyers, and that there was a chance they would win. And even though we haven’t clinched a real (non-lockout year) playoff spot since the 2003-2004 season, and even though our team is still working out some kinks in the rebuild, Leaf fans have hope that in a few years they will be a real playoff contender – not Stanley Cup contender, just a playoff contender. No matter how many times the Leafs tank, it seems as though every new game, and especially every new season, fans are reborn like a Phoenix from the ashes where they are ready to continue cheering and believing.
So what can you learn from this? As hockey blogger Steve Dangle once said, “I’ve believed in the Toronto Maple Leafs my entire life. The least you could do is believe in yourself”. No matter what mountain you are looking to conquer, you should be your number one fan; never stop believing in yourself! And that goes the same with believing in those around you – nobody is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t support them.
Third, you need to learn to invest in things that you believe in. The ticket prices for an average Leafs game range from $50 for one standing spot at the very back of the ACC where you need a pair of binoculars to see the ice, to about $600 per ticket or your left kidney to sit somewhere near centre ice in the platinum section. And believe it or not, the majority of the crowd that sells out each game are those who aren’t even true Leaf-jersey-wearing-die-hard-fans. #SuitsSuck
So if people are willing to pay insane amounts of money to watch a game where the team most likely won’t even win, there is no reason that you cannot invest in yourself, invest in your dreams, or a cause that you believe in. TREAT YO’ SELF, YOU ARE WELL WORTH IT.
Next, take time to enjoy your successes. Even though there is controversy about the pity point that is awarded when the Leafs lose in overtime, it is still a point. In many cases, specifically in this season, there have been games that we lost in overtime where we should have won in regulation. And yes, winning is always better than losing, but that overtime point is still a god damn point!
It’s like when I write these articles, of course I wish that thousands of people would read every single one, but I’m not quite at that level where thousands of people know about my blog and are interested in reading my posts. But I still celebrate how many views I do get, and I remember to push myself to write better content to improve my writing skills. So essentially, you gotta celebrate the small successes while still aiming for the treasure, or in this case, the cup.
Lastly, look towards the future because it is bright. And by future, I mean the children. The rookies that are coming into this team are absolutely phenomenal. Yes, they are still learning the game, but they are easily making the veteran players look sub par. These guys skate fast, they have communication between each other, they shoot well, they score often, they are exceptionally fit – it’s as if they were born into this world to play hockey, and not in a Happy Gilmore kind of way.
When the Leafs began to pull up players from the Toronto Marlies in the 2015-2016 series, everyone got excited, and newer hope was restored. And at the pivotal moment when they claimed Auston Matthews with their first overall draft pick, the fans went absolutely nuts. Going into the Centennial season with a new logo, and some young and fresh blood, it’s as if we’ve entered a new paradigm for the Leafs.
So compare the Toronto Maple Leafs to the current state of the world, cause let’s be real, this earth is kind of a miserable place to be in sometimes. The housing market is terrible, the monster of our capitalistic economy is making it hard for people to survive, we’re destroying the environment, the job market is empty and a majority of jobs available are god-awfully boring and the least bit fulfilling, etc., etc., you get my point, etc.,.
And not to put the blame on older generations, but it’s not my generation that got us into this mess. But even when us Millennials/Indigos are screaming for change and justice, the leaders of the world choose to ignore us because we apparently don’t know enough about the game of life – just like when the Leafs management considered sending Mitch Marner down to the Marlies. However, though the Millennials/Indigos may be inexperienced, like Marner is to the NHL, the Millennials/Indigos don’t fit into this system, and they are the best catalysts for change. So, listen and believe in those that are younger than you because we can’t build a new paradigm with old strategies.
So just to recap, don’t hold grudges against anyone because nobody can be as disappointing as the Leafs. If you’re looking for change, look towards the youth or at least a fresh mind to give you a new perspective on how to solve a problem. Always remember to invest and believe in yourself, no matter how hard or bad things get. And when something goes wrong in your life, take a day or two away from the problem, then wake up refreshed to tackle the next challenge. Always remember to celebrate all of your successes, no matter how big or small they are.
And most importantly, Go Leafs Go!