Friday, September 10, 2010

Dear son, welcome to life as a Leaf fan

The horror...
Last month my wife and I welcomed our first son to the world. Like any proud father, I didn't want to waste any time teaching him the important values that I hope he'll carry with him throughout his life. So a few days ago, I sat him down for a very important discussion.

Hey little guy. Wakey wakey. Daddy wants to share something very important with you.

Do you see this friendly looking blue thing right here? That's a Toronto Maple Leafs logo. It probably looks familiar, since there's at least one on every item of clothing you own right now. And that's because you're going to be a Maple Leafs fan, just like your dad.

I want to tell you all about the Leafs. I want to teach you about Dave Keon and Borje Salming and Mats Sundin and Teeder Kennedy. So let's look through daddy's old scrapbook together and I'll tell you all about it.

Look, here's a picture of George Armstrong. He was called "Chief". He's scoring the clinching goal into an empty net to beat the Montreal Canadiens. Look how happy everyone looks! Do you see all the people cheering? They're happy because they just saw the Leafs win their most recent Stanley Cup.

What's that? No. No, there's aren't any pictures of this that are in color.

Because they didn't have color photography back in 1967, that's why. Well I'm sorry, that's just the way it is. Look, if you want to see them in color so badly, go ask your sister if you can borrow her crayons.

Hey, come on now little buddy, stop crying.

It's not like Leaf fans haven't had anything to cheer about since then. Let me tell you about 1993. That's the year that the Leafs went on a magical run and almost made the Stanley Cup finals. They had Dougie Gilmour's spinorama and Felix Potvin's brilliance and Wendel Clark punched out Marty McSorley's eyeball. It was probably the greatest stretch of hockey I've ever seen.

Yes, that's right, 1993.

Well of course that seems like a long time ago to you, you're two weeks old. Right, OK, I guess that was 17 years ago, sure. Nice math skills, Archimedes, do you have a point?

I said stop crying!

Look, I never said being a Leaf fan was going to be easy, OK? But I'm not raising you to be some sort of front-running bandwagon jumper who elbows his way to the head of the line when the team is winning and then bails out as soon as times get tough. The world already has too many Senator fans.

No, you're going to stick this out until the bitter end, and here's why: It will be worth it some day.

If you don't believe me, ask a Chicago Blackhawks fan. They hadn't won a Stanley Cup since 1961, but that all changed this season. For a few years they finished in last place just like the Leafs, but now they have a roster full of young stars that they drafted and their team is …

What? No. No, the Leafs can't just go out and do that too. Because they don't have any draft picks, that's why. Because they gave them all to another team, OK? I don't know, because it seemed like a good idea at the time!

No, daddy is not crying. Hey, isn't there an episode of The Backyardigans you should be watching?

Look, kid. I know it seems hopeless. I know it even seems a little bit cruel to raise you as a Leafs fan. I know that whenever you see Daddy thinking about the Leafs he's making angry faces and muttering mean words and drinking from one of his special grownup bottles.

But here's the thing, son: Some day, the Leafs are going to win the Stanley Cup. It won't happen this year, or the next, or even the one after that. But it will happen one day. And when that day arrives, all the near misses and the lost seasons and the jokes and the blown calls and the sleepless nights will just make it all that much sweeter.

When that moment comes, some day a very long time from now, you're going to appreciate it in a way that only a true fan can. Because you'll have earned it.

That's why you're going to be a Leaf fan, son, whether you like it or not. But if those nice folks from Children Services ask, you chose this of your own free will, OK?

Now let's go get you changed. I think somebody made a Toskala in his diaper.



  2. I just teared up a bit... reminds me why I've been toughing it out all these years...

  3. brilliant, touching, cruel. think i've got something in my eye.

    congratulations again. he looks like a champ.

  4. Lil' DGB looks a little like Wendel in that photo...

    and this is all at once touching and hilarious. Your kids are gonna be OK.

  5. Congratulations on that sweet boy! I applaud you for waiting for 2 whole weeks before crushing his soul. :)

    Cross your fingers that he doesn't want to be a Habs fan. It's horrifying to see that happen to a son you love. And I'm speaking from experience.

  6. Had my first boy last sept 1. Not diehard leaf fan (Kings fan) but still hit home.. Beautiful man.. Beautiful.

  7. So cute...

    that you actually think the Leafs will win a Cup.

  8. hah made my Friday. As always another great article.

  9. He looks a bit like Grabovski, y'know from that game in Montreal? Seriously what we really need is a top-six forward. Get this kid on skates. Looks like he needs to bulk up a bit. How are his reflex skills developing? Does he shoot right or left?

  10. The ending had me in tears. Great job as always!

  11. First of all, Congrats on your son.

    Secondly, this is one of the best posts i've read in recent memory. Brilliant. I'm dreading the day I have to have this talk with my son.

  12. This made me LOL throughout. The "muttering to himself and drinking from special grownup bottles" gave Mrs P painful flashbacks.

    Little Sergei and I haven't have had this talk yet, but we will.

  13. I doubled down and I'm a Cleveland Browns fan as well. One day my kids are going to realize that you can cheer for teams that actually win but until that time....

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  15. Great story, the bald spot kinda reminds me of Mats Sundin; train him on shooting and passing, we need more forwards!

    ALl the best to the new arrival and the family unit!

  16. DGB is going to be one of the few fathers in history who's delighted when his son finally punches out his old man.

  17. Screw your kid up completely and turn him into a Chicago Cubs fan also.

    1. Ha! That was my first thought when I started reading this. Until a few years ago, this was us - Cubs/Hawks fans.

  18. Lone Leaf in the HouseSeptember 10, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    they say fathers want what's best for their sons. my kids, being raised outside of Leaf-land, came home from school one day at about age six and told me they weren't Leafs fans anymore. They liked Sidney Crosby and the Pens. I swallowed hard, and nodded. Sad, but happy they won't suffer as I have...

  19. Frigg man - promising the kid a Leafs' Cup victory in his lifetime??? - I suppose you'll still be dressing up like Santa Claus, hiding Easter Eggs, and sliding a Loonie under his pillow when he gets his teeth knocked playing for the Marlie's in 2021 as well?

  20. ...or even 2031 (yeesh - if a guy's trying to make a point you'd think he'd at least do the math right!)

  21. "I think somebody made a Toskala in his diaper."

    hahah that was great. Going to have to use that one.

  22. Spouse and I are expecting our own new little Leaf fan in about eight weeks' time and - with Wendel as my witness - I swear to you on Bruce Bell's grave (located behind the net at the old St. Louis arena, Wendel can show you where) that I am going to use the phrase "somebody made a Toskala in his diaper" each and every day for...

    ...wait, how long am I going to be changing diapers for again?

    /begins softly sobbing

  23. "Look, I never said being a Leaf fan was going to be easy, OK? But I'm not raising you to be some sort of front-running bandwagon jumper who elbows his way to the head of the line when the team is winning and then bails out as soon as times get tough. The world already has too many Senator fans."

    That is awesome right there.

    I'm a Leafs fan, and my wife is a Habs fan. I'm convinced that my son will be a Senators fan to spite us both when he's a teenager.

  24. Best in ages. A classic.

  25. Great stuff and congrats. Sniff, Sniff don't feel too too bad. My son was born on June, 10th. Yup mere hours after Brad May,,, ah aha ah Patrick Kane scored the Stanley Cup Winner. Sorry that goal looked really familiar I get confused.

  26. That kid is destined to be a loser for the rest of his life, solely due to the fact that he is made into a Leafs fan from birth..

  27. I love that you have to somehow take a jab at the Sens.. you know, the team that can actually make the playoffs!

    Sure you beat us everytime we match up in the playoffs, I'll give you that.. but thats all you have!

    We made it to the Conf Finals in 2003, we made it to the Finals in 2007, and we have made the playoffs every year since 1997, except for 1..

    A leafs fan's top 3 memories (if they were actually alive)

    1.) 1967.. yep, 1967!! You barely wont the cup when there was 6 teams in the league, now you think there is a chance with 30? HA!

    2.) 1993.. *cough* 17 years ago? Congrats on almost getting there, but you couldnt get past Gretz and his supposed high stick, HA!

    3.) Beating the SENS in the playoffs. I give you props for this, BUT, did you know that every series youve played after you beat the SENS, you lost? yep.. so if you wanna get to the Finals, you better hope you dont go through us.. youre damned if you do, damned if you dont.

    Suck it Leafs fans and your loser Nation. Oh and HABS suck too

    GO SENS!

  28. Sean, this was phenomenal. Thanks for the laughs, and the tears. And congratulations on the new addition to your family. All the best.

  29. Congratulations to you and your family. This is a brilliant piece of work. One warning though... teenagers can go through a little rebellious stage. Keep him away from Montreal the best you can. ;)

  30. wow!

    dgb's normal standard is already high, but this one might be the best entry i've ever read here. brilliant! and "I think somebody made a Toskala in his diaper." tops everything off perfectly.

    here's hoping that you'll be able to cheer a cup-winning leafs team together with your son. god knows they've earned it, and so do the two of you ;)

  31. Am I the only one that started reading this article like I was talking to a baby?

  32. DGB,

    I think this is the best post you've written in a long time, and that's saying something since you're awesome.

    Just one thing I want to know, how would you react if Little Wendel Goes Brown becomes a Habs fan or Senators fan?

    Or hopefully, a Flyers fan?

  33. A classic in the making!

  34. I wish you luck in raising your son as a leafs fan here in Ottawa. My brother switched to being a sens fan before his teens, and my parents even named him Wendel :|

  35. Love it.

    So this kid's options are follow dad, and love the Leafs, or be seduced by the local club and be a Sens fan.

    poor little bugger.

  36. i am a leaf fan like my father before me. was born into it. now i have a son of 2 and people already mock me about his blue and white. a family curse?

    i really miss caring about the playoffs!!
    i guess there's always battle of the blades...

    thanks for the post DGB. enjoy your boy.

  37. Absolute GOLD. It's pretty much what I told my (now 12 yr old ) son when he was born.
    Whatever the Post is paying, is not enough!!!

  38. "...Nice math skills, Archimedes..."


    Seriously though, great post.

  39. Congrats on your baby! Your world has just changed for the better.

  40. Congratulations on the new baby! He is adorable. In a couple of years, he'll already be taller than Montreal's forwards! :)

  41. One of your best, had me rolling. Congratulations and so happy to hear of the new inspiration!

  42. Are you going to teach him how to quit on the Leafs like you did last year right before the Phaneuf trade?

  43. I wish I was your son....going to go hug my little girls right now. Go Leafs Go!


    PS Congrats...

  44. Haha.

    elseldo, he's going to be a Bruins fan. Just because he can. Only to spite you about the Kessel trade AND your wife with the 2009 playoffs.


    To all the Sens fans mocking Leafs fans and Habs fans.

    So, when was your last cup, again?

    ...wait, WHAT?

    1967 and 1993 do not seem so far away, now.

  45. As a 25+ year NYR fan,I can always relate to your pain here. This is yet another brilliant peice,DGB owns comedy in hockey on the web,no one comes close!!!! thanks for the laughs

  46. I laughed so hard I almost made a Toskala in my pants....

  47. I read the article and didnt notice how amazing that photo is. Congrats on the new kid!

  48. I found this especially funny as a Bruins fans because we have your draft picks. Mwahaha.

  49. I actually got a bit teary eyed right at the end.

  50. Congratulations dgb! Please don't put him in the penalty box (time out) when he decides to become a Pens fan ;)

  51. Another gem of musings~

    Thank you!....

    I am 100% Habs fan through and through.... but good blogging is good blogging....

    Keep it up

  52. This was a good pre-season pep talk for us adult fans. Thanks for posting!

  53. How did you get him to keep his hands up in perfect fighting pose? I think we're looking at the future leader in career Gordie Howe Hat Tricks.

    Well done on getting the puck into the net!

  54. Congrats on the new baby/new Leafs fan! Loved the didn't happen to name the babe "Darryl" like I did 26 years ago when my son was born? Yep-make him a fan AND name him after a captain..still pondering the wisdom of that decision 26 years later...
    goodluck to you, the babe, his mother and The Leafs..

  55. Congrats on the new arrival!! Cheer up, we sent you a Stanley Cup Winner to help you out- Kris Versteeg!! Damn, I miss him already...
    Die hard Blackhawks fan.

  56. @Down Goes Brown...oh man..Dougie. I hope your Dougie sees better times with The Leafs than I have since '67 when i was 11 and my son Darryl has since 1984. At least I have a memory of that last Stanley Cup and I thyink I have some old 8mm footage taken by my dad of the parade.
    GO LEAFS GO!! and best of luck to wee Dougie.

  57. You could always raise him to be a Blues fan. "See that, son? That's a Stanley Cup. As a Blues fan you're required by law to just look at it from a distance of... no, stop eating the binoculars, son, this is a... hey! This is important to see from a distance! Someday we'll parade the Cup through the ruins of Old St. Louis, the way our ancestors would have done."

  58. this was funny post. lol. I just joined your site. can you join mine and if you have time can you even blog because I need some hockey bloggers

  59. well, good luck. but keep trying.

    from a tampa fan!!

  60. Ugh, but when? Whennnnn????