Is Chile capable of being a "Leafs Nation?" Well, I decided to find out.
So as many of you know (or atleast the one or two people who bothered looking at my profile) I am currently living in Santiago, Chile. Over the past couple of months, I have strongly attempted to make Chile (or atleast the part of Santiago that I live in) a "Leafs nation" (or area).
To start off, I decided to find out what they liked about soccer (people here are soccer crazy) and perhaps show some similar things that appear in hockey and Leaf games. I noticed that people seemed to get pumped whenever soccer players began pushing and shoving, so I decided to show them some hockey videos on youtube where hockey players also did some pushing and shoving.
Unfortunately, thanks to our little friend, Ryan Hollweg, people here now think hockey is a sport where figure skaters go and attempt to kill each other with weapons (hockey sticks). If anyone's counting how many people dislike Hollweg, add 84 to your list.
Next, I decided to wear my Leafs jersey to school. Hockey jerseys are way different than soccer jerseys, so mine would certainly grab some eyes and probably spark some discussions.
Unfortunately, things only went as I wanted for a while. People began asking about it, but it soon led to pointless discussions about Toronto being in Russia. This was kinda similar to the time when I told my friends in Vancouver I was moving to Chile and they thought that was somewhere in Africa.
Desperately, I sent links to some of my friends on the night the Leafs played the Detroit Red Wings so they could watch it online (I'm not "stealing" hockey, If I could pay to watch it on TV I would).
Luckily, the Leafs won, and some of my peers were talking about the game, but unfortunately, not in the way I intended. They were discussing what number Darren Roanoke had played in. Well, maybe I didn't get the result I intended, but atleast I got them interested. Unfortunately, once I informed them that "The Love Guru" was just a movie, and Jessica Alba wasn't really the GM, they all stopped watching.
Time went on and I tried to enforce hockey in general so they could get interested in that first and then I could lead them to becoming Leaf fans. I made speeches in English class about hockey and the Leafs. I talked about the Leafs and hockey whenever I had the chance. Fortunately, it was easier to get people interested in the Leafs here than it was in Vancouver. Bad memories in Vancouver...
Today, I got the chance to give the people of Chile (or my high school) the opportunity to see hockey equipment. Today it was "dress like a celebrity" day, so I decided to dress as no other than Nik Kulemin (although I look nothing like him).
I wore almost all my hockey equipment, and kept in on throughout the whole day while displaying my Leafs jersey proudly. People gathered around me to look at my equipment, they liked the gloves, and were impressed by the shin pads. The funny thing is, people thought I was goalie because of the equipment. I'm still waiting for the chance I can get to show them Goalie pads.
Length: three months
Leaf fans recruited so far: two
Hollweg haters recruited: 84
I'll keep you guys posted on my next attempts on making Chile a "Leafs Nation."