And Now For Something Completely Similar

G PCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2008

Fan… I mean fanatic is defined as the following:  

1.       “A person with an extreme and uncritical enthusiasm or zeal for a cause, as in religion or politics.”

2.       “A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause.”

There is also a great Winston Churchill quote that states…  "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject"

I’ll even pull out a Peanuts quote and more specifically a Linus quote; “A good fanatic is always ready for a good argument.”

This is to be a short, quick, article complaining about how the Toronto media, and in particular certain journalists, constantly bash the Maple Leafs, and in turn its fans. Bash to a point that I would consider fanatical. As well as us, the actual fanatic, and our excuse for continuing to surf the web, television, radio and newspapers for anything remotely Leaf related. (Such as this article)

Yes, I am a fanatical Maple Leaf fan. Yes, I think they have a shot at making the playoffs every year; But isn’t that what being a fan or fanatical is all about? It even says so in the above definition I quoted. "An unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause."

No matter how many articles I read how and why the Leafs won’t make the playoffs, or why they won't finish as high in the standings, will not change my opinion or the glimmer of hope I have, that maybe, just maybe they will squeak a game or two out and could possibly over achieve and give me one round of playoff hockey. Maybe they ride hot goal-tending into the second round? (See there I go again)

Some of you will mouth off, call me an idiot, because obviously the 08-09 Leaf roster is sub-par at best. I will ask you this: Isn’t cheering for your team regardless of the outcome a true definition of what a fan is? What’s wrong with hoping we succeed? Yet I have to continue to read how crappy we are, and we probably are, but still, give me something a little different from time to time. Even a taste of positivity. Even if it's just about how tasty the hot dogs at the ACC are. I'll settle for anything.

Only a team with a DEEP fanatical base like the Maple Leafs… with the exception of the Habs, could endure such negative media coverage on a non-stop basis. A yearly non-stop basis at that. Not only endure, but survive. Give us a break already. It is the off-season. The Stanley cup had yet to land in Newfoundland for the first time, or be used in a baptism before we were reading articles about how much worse the 08-09 version of the Leafs would be.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect the Leaf media to add to my fanaticism and my Leaf ego, but couldn’t they sprinkle in a little hope and positivity every once in awhile? I know Jason Blake is deeply involved with charity work in the Toronto area. Did I read this in any of the main stream Toronto papers? No. Can I even find any information on the web about his goal campaign from the last half of last season? No. How do I even know he was donating $1000 for every goal he scored from January until April? I happened to catch his interview on CBC’s The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos.(I was unable to find the video online. I could only find "More… With Jason Blake", which is the un-aired portion of the interview)

Why can’t the Toronto media report on this? Ok, the Toronto media did. Why can’t the Toronto hockey media report on this or other stories like it. Jason Blake played all 82 games last year. After finding out he had cancer. He won the Bill Masterson trophy. Yet I read articles on how the Bill Masterson trophy now seemed to be given out to whom ever had the worst illness. Did I see articles like this when Phil Kessel won it? It's a joke. They love to diminish anything Maple Leafs. We are constantly barraged with how terrible the team is. How bad the owners are. How bad the Leafs have faired in previous drafts. How they have destroyed themselves by trading their draft picks in the past. How they haven't won a championship since expansion. It goes on and on and I am sick of it. While all of those above comments are true. We are fans. Are we stupid for being fans? Tell that to a Chicago Cub fan, or a Boston Red Sox fan 5 years ago.

I want to see an article that tells us how Kulemin is adapting to life in Toronto. Or how Hagman likes living in Canada. How about an article on what made Hagman decided on Toronto? I can hear the comments already. "He was overpaid, no one else would've given him that money," "Hagman sucks," "You suck." If I posed the same question to Finger, I would receive the same response from the self loathing Leaf fans and media. Guaranteed other teams were interested in both of those guys. Any player who signs in the first 3 days of free agency are heavily wanted players. If the Leafs were just plugging holes they would have waited. If they did Hagman and Finger would have both been signed by other teams to similar contracts they got in Toronto. If you want to hear my argument on why we have to overpay players it's because of the media, not the fans. It's time to stop blaming ourselves for being fans.

Instead I have to listen or read how I am a mindless sheep who keeps on eating what’s spoon-fed to me by the mindless MLSE. Who by the way, we are told are the worst owners since Harold Ballard. (Note: I have yet to read the same crap when reading an article about the Toronto Raptors or the Toronto FC)

Mindless sheep... We are mindless sheep. (After all you are reading this aren’t you? Just to get a little taste of anything Maple Leaf related. I can sympathize. I do the same thing) Mindless sheep: (or as a non self loathing person would define it) A fan. Yes, technically I am blind in my love for my team(s). So are you. So is everyone who follows a team, television show, movie franchise, or musician.

Can we fanatics be objective? Probably not. (This includes the Toronto sports media who are just as fanatical about bashing the Leafs organization and its fans) I could pretend to be objective (like some of you do), but deep down inside I know I’ll always have hope. Call me stupid, call me an uneducated hockey person. I don't care. Just like I don't care what the media writes about the stinky Leafs. I will always cheer for them, and I will always hope they succeed. (I will also continue to read the constant negativity that spews from the media outlets in Toronto, because after all I am a fan and I need to read everything written about them)

As a fan... of anything, can you sit there and tell me there is anything wrong with hoping your team makes the playoffs, your favorite bands album is their best ever, your country wins gold at the Olympics?

The majority of time hope is all we as fans have, or get. Why try and make us feel wrong or stupid for it.

If the Leafs won the Stanley Cup I imagine the following articles coming from them (the media in Toronto); The other team had the flu, the other team had a harder time advancing to the final. They got lucky. The Leafs to draft 30th overall.

Can the Toronto media change their tune?

Here's hoping.