Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The 10 types of Leaf fans (and how to deal with them)

Leafs fan
Blake has how many years left?
If you're a Leaf fan, you're not reading this because it's too hard to make out the words when your eyes are encrusted by day-old tears of blood.

But what if you're not a Leaf fan? Well, two things. First, lucky you. And second, there's a good chance you'll still have to deal with one of us eventually. And that's bad news, because these days Leaf fans are probably the most pathetic and depressing group of people you could imagine.

We know it. And we know that it has to be awkward to run into one of us. After all, what can you say? What could you possibly do to make one of wretched souls feel better about this mess? How can you avoid accidentally saying the wrong thing and winding up with your picture on the front page of tomorrow's newspaper?

It's not easy. But there is a right way and a wrong way to approach a Leafs fan these days. And the crucial first step is to figure out what type of Leaf fan you're dealing with. After all, we're a pretty varied group.

I'm here to help. So I've created this handy guide that separates Leafs nation into ten distinct groups. Use this information to figure out what type of fan you've encountered, and then follow my advice to avoid making a bad situation even worse.

Mr. Mood Swing
Description - This guy's entire mood is based around the most recent Leaf game. Or period. Or shift. When they win, he's convinced everything could still be OK. When they lose, he's despondent. When they lose in overtime, he's not sure how to feel. Thanks, Bettman.
How to recognize him - The wall behind his television has a lot of beer bottle sized holes in it.
What to do if you see one - Assuming the Leafs recently lost (and let's face it, they did), pull the fire alarm and flee the building.

The Self Loather
Description - This guy hates himself, and wants to be miserable. He craves pain, since its icy sting is the only thing that reminds him he's alive. So naturally, he's chosen to become a Leafs fan.
How to recognize him - You'll find him in his natural habitat: writing positive comments on Damien Cox blog posts.
What to do if you see one - This is the only type of Leaf fan that you're allowed to discuss the most recent loss with. Also, make a mental note to buy him Leafs Abomination for Christmas.

"Truculence" Guy
Description - A small but tragic group. Due to an acute exposure level to off-season Brian Burke soundbites, they're no longer able to form a complete sentence without using the word "truculence". (Note: Every single Leaf fan went through this phase in September, but most have pulled out of it.)
How to recognize him - He owns a Colton Orr jersey.
What to do if you see one - Do not, under any circumstances, ask him what the word means. He doesn't know, and you might wind up getting your face Matt Carkner-ized.

"Just One Cup" Guy
Description - This fan has already cut a deal: he wants to see the Leafs win one Stanley Cup before he dies. Just one. This little Faustian bargain gives him a sense of inner peace since he knows he has time, and the laws of probability, working in his favor.
How to recognize him - He says things like "wait 'til next decade".
What to do if you see one - Ask him if he enjoyed Bill Simmons' "Now I Can Die in Peace", which he's guaranteed to have read.

"Just One Cup" Guy Who's Getting Older
Description - A subset of the "Just One Cup" Guy group, this Leaf fan is between the ages of 30 and 42. He's never seen the Leafs win a Cup, but always just assumed that he would some day. But now he's getting older, he's sore in the morning for no reason, and he has hair growing out of his ears. And he's starting to worry.
How to recognize him - Every time the Leafs lose, he does an hour on the treadmill.
What to do if you see one - Tell him you read a fascinating article about cryonic suspension.

The Youngster
Description - This Leaf fan is young. He vaguely remembers the Pat Burns era, has no memory of Harold Ballard, and is still getting used to not having Mats Sundin around.
How to recognize him - He doesn't have that beaten-down Mel Gibson mugshot look in his eyes that every other Leaf fan does.
What to do if you see one - Leave him alone. He'll be miserable like the rest of us in a few years.

The Bandwagon Jumper
Description - This guy is a diehard Leaf fans... as long as they're winning. He loved the Burns era, and was a big fan of Pat Quinn. He has no idea that Kirk Muller ever played for the Leafs, but he owns three Doug Gilmour jerseys. He swears he's a Leaf fan, but admits that he also has a few other favorite teams. He probably cheered for the Senators in 2007.
How to recognize him - Right now? You won't.
What to do if you see one - Stab him. Repeatedly.

The Fixer
Description - This guy wants the Leafs to win, and they would, dammit, if they'd just listen to him. He has the blueprint all laid out. And he wants to tell you all about it. In detail.
How to recognize him - He's probably posting a trade proposal thread at right now.
What to do if you see one - Listen patiently to his explanation of why a Stajan/Blake/White package could probably land Ilya Kovalchuk and a pick, nod pensively, then encourage him to phone a radio call-in show to reach a wider audience.

The Delusional Idiot
Description - This fan sincerely believes that the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup every year. No matter how bad things are, how thin the roster, how glaringly obvious the holes are to anyone who can breathe through their nose -- this guy is utterly convinced that ultimate glory is right around the corner. He thinks that nobody associated with the Leafs can do any wrong, and will never criticize the team. When the team wins two games in a row, this pathetic loser runs around shouting "Plan the parade!"
How to recognize him - You won't. He's a fictional character created by Howard Berger.
What to do if you see one - Tell him to say hi to the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, and Berger's limo driver.

The Realist
Description - This guy is a true blue fan. But unlike the unfair various stereotypes of the passionate fan, he's still able to view the world objectively. His longterm outlook isn't clouded by short-term emotional swings, but rather by a steeley-eyed realism based on a rational analysis of the Toronto Maple Leafs' current performance and chances for future success.
How to recognize him - He shot himself after the Calgary game.
What to do if you see one - Try to wait until after the holidays before you hit on his girlfriend.


  1. lol you've outdone yourself once again!!

  2. Fantastic! Loved the digs on Cox and Berger, especially the limo driver bit which was gold.

  3. Unfortunately, my religion forbids me from shooting myself. Plus there's the mess and all the fuss my landlord would have to go through to get the bloodstains off the ceiling.
    If I turn 43 next September, can I get out of the "Just One Cup" subset, or do I automatically graduate into full-time despair?

  4. I gotta say, I truly believed there'd be an "eyebleaf" category. A little disappointed.

    Otherwise, great job again.

  5. I'll fall into the youngster and just one cup scenario. C'mon just win one god damn it. then go for another 50 years. Here hoping chicago gives us some players, cuz god knows we cant give shit to them.

  6. Holy shit I do look like Mel Gibson's mug shot!!!!

  7. I actually cried laughing when I read this. Nail on head.

  8. This reads terrifyingly like how I feel about the Detroit Lions, where I'm a combo of The Youngster/The Realist. I'm just now starting to develop that Mel Gibson mugshot look, which is the most perfect way it can be described.

  9. I'm one of those Youngster fans, who happens to loathe and despise bandwagon jumpers very much.

    Another great post by DGB.

  10. >The wall behind his television has a lot of beer bottle sized holes in it.

    Unfair stereotype. I throw my beer bottles at the non-Leaf fan friend I watch games with. A TV has value.

  11. I think DGB would probably lump me into the "Delusional Idiot" camp.


  12. I reckon I'd be a mix of the youngster and the "Just One Cup" guy. When they can actually win games again, Mr. Mood Swing might make a reprise, but for know, he's gone.

  13. Wow. I really need to trim my ear hair.

  14. I think i fall into the "Truculence" guy. Though I don't own a Colton Orr jersey

  15. @eyebleaf: I was wondering that, just didn't want to say it.

    I think there needs to be a subtype of the "just one cup" guy: "The Uprooted Leaf Fan". A big part of the reason(s) I want the Leafs to win the cup is to shut up the idiot people that are Leaf-haters.

  16. Am I the only one who always thinks "Dave Ellett" when watching Jeff Finger's #4 on the ice?


  17. I'm a combo Fixer/Realist/BandwagonJumper. Clearly i should be seeking some couseling.

    Another winner DGB.

  18. I agree Lordosis. How about "Leafs fan in enemy territory who has to defend his fandom daily from the same goddamn rhetoric he hears from the local Calgary media because all the western haters have nothing better to do"? Is that one a little long?

    Most certainly I'm Mood Swing guy with a little Once In My Lifetime Please sprinkled in for good measure.

  19. How to recognize him - Every time the Leafs lose, he does an hour on the treadmill.

    What to do if you see one - Tell him you read a fascinating article about cryonic suspension.

    hahahaha - that's awesome. Great post, one of the best in recent memory

  20. This is pure gold, well done.

    The funny part is that every Leafs fan who reads this will think they are "The Realist". That's how messed up this all is.

    I on the other hand am actually truly "The Realist". lol

  21. Hope I Cup Before I DieNovember 19, 2009 at 12:04 PM

    Great Post - you did miss me...Leaf Fan who seen a Cup(s) but
    too young to really remember it clearly. Even if I was too young to drink then...

    I think you need one for us...

  22. I'm a Habs fan and I have to admit we pretty much have the same types of fans...
    Great job once again.

  23. I think I'd fall into the youngster, fixer and realist categories. I'm definitely not a "just one cup guy". Hell no, I'm way greedier than that - anything less than 10 cups before I die would be a disappointment (I'm only 19, so there is plenty of hope abound).

    Loved the delusional idiot, as much as Berger and Cox are moronic and annoying, what would we do without them? We can't make Wellwood is so fat jokes forever, can we?

  24. Gotta go buy a treadmill!

    I expect my 3 month old son will eventually be the Vezina winning goalie who will backstop the Leafs to 7 cups.

    I guess I am a category you missed, the delusional Walter Mitty dad!

  25. Think You might have missed one:

    Ride a Player Guy: Is convinced that the whole mess is one players fault. Relentlessly rides every bad play by that player, and immediately dismisses anything that player does well. May or may not know the names of others on the roster.

    How to recognize: "They'll never win as long as player x is here."

    What to do if you meet them: Under NO circumstances mention player x. If someone else mentions player x, duck and cover.

  26. Realist...would like to think so but I try to shoot myself after every game these days. I keep missing, does that count. One cupper? Fixer? Don't think...nobody can fix this mess. Best blog I've seen so far.

  27. With a few subtle changes, you have just described the fan base of every team in every sport in the universe.

    And I blame you for encouraging those long-winded know-it-all blowhards on sports radio. Dammit. :)

  28. The "Just One Cup" Guy Who's Getting Older sounds exactly like me.

    /checks mirror for ear hair

  29. Another brilliant post. I'm one-third Mr. Mood Swing, The Self-Loather, and "Just One Cup" Guy Who's Getting Older rolled into one. Also, I firmly believe that anything is possible. The Darkhorse.

  30. The Mets have quite of few of these types of fans. I really hate when fans try to play GM.

  31. It's funny how all the subtelty gets lost when they meet us Habs fans. It's interesting to understand the subspecies though, I kind of feel for those "truculence" guys – already getting mocked after starting their blogs mere weeks ago.

  32. I'm a fixer for sure. Having said that let me tell you how this thing is going to get turned around......

  33. I'm half Mr. Mood Swing, half Just One Cup Guy Who's Getting Older. Off to the gym...

  34. This is awesome. I'll have to try and identify each one next time you guys take over the HSBC.

  35. Great, I'm a Moodswing/"Just One Cup" Guy Who's Getting Older guy

  36. Funny, and no I didn't shoot myself after the Calgary game. Thankyou.

  37. i'm moving to toronto in june - thanks for the heads up. this should help me blend in seamlessly.

  38. An awesome article on Leaf Fans. An insight to there Behaviour with there Beloved Team.

  39. So, can any Leaf fan honestly say they don't have a little of all of the above in them?