Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Maple Leaf fans aren't miserable right now and it's weird

In the sports world, there's nothing sadder than seeing someone struggle at the one thing that they used to be the best in the world at.

Michael Jordan clanging jumpers in a Wizards uniform. Tiger Woods limping his way to missed cuts. Brett Favre throwing pick-sixes for the Vikings. It can be uncomfortable to watch, bordering on outright tragic.

So you can be forgiven for wanting to avert your eyes at the sight of Toronto Maple Leafs fans this week, because we're failing badly at the one thing you could always count on us for: Being miserable.

This is supposed to be our thing. Other fans do parades and celebrations and enjoy happiness and hope. Not us. We watch our team lose, we internalize it, and we suffer. We remember the worst moments forever; they're scarred directly into our identity as fans. Kerry Fraser. Jeremy Roenick. It was 4-1. This is what we do. Often publicly, often in uncomfortably over-the-top ways, and almost always with the rest of the hockey world pointing and laughing.

This week, we watched the Maple Leafs lose a playoff series that they absolutely could have won. They had a 2-1 series lead, five of the games went into overtime, and all the underlying numbers were essentially equal. The series was there for the taking. But the Leafs lost, in six games to the Washington Capitals, and now their season is over.

And as Maple Leafs fans, we're... kind of fine with it, actually.

I know that comes as a disappointment to a lot of you out there. For fans of other teams, watching Leafs fans be miserable has pretty much become an end-of-season tradition. It's almost therapeutic, because you know that no matter how bad things get with your own team, at least you're not us. And let's be honest, some portions of the Toronto fan base could stand to be knocked down a peg or two. The tears of Toronto Maple Leafs fans water the tree of hockey liberty, or something like that.

But not this year. There's not much misery to be found around Leafs Nation. We're doing good, thanks for asking.

That's not to say that we're happy about the Leafs' first-round loss. Obviously, an upset win over the Capitals would have been something special, right up there some of the most memorable Maple Leaf wins of a generation. They might have even given the Penguins a run for their money. Heck, maybe they could have gone on a deep run, bringing back memories of the 1992-93 Leafs team that Toronto fans will never shut up about.

But it didn't happen. Marcus Johansson silenced a Toronto crowd with Sunday night's OT winner, and the Leafs season is over. One more lost playoff series to throw on the pile. Yet another year without a Stanley Cup. So where's all the misery?

>> Read the full post at Vice Sports

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