Guest Post: A Hater Among Us
Teach Me About Losing, Leaf Fans
BY SARAH MILLAR
I was probably the only person in this city watching last Tuesday's Leafs game with a smug smile on my face during the first period.
They're going to make it nine in a row, I thought, as Nashville ran up a 3-0 lead on the blue-and-white after only 12 minutes. Satisfied the game was over, I flipped stations over to Glee and forgot about those hapless Leafs.
Then the unthinkable happened. A comeback. Of miraculous proportions. And then, the Leafs — they actually won. It's a one-off, I reassured myself. It doesn't matter.
Fast forward to the next night.
I sat down to watch my team do some damage.
Instead, the unthinkable happened. My beloved Senators were crushed 7-1 by Carolina. It's just lucky I like Paul Maurice and have Eric Staal on my fantasy team otherwise there'd be hell to pay.
The Leafs won Thursday. The Sens lost Friday. I was beginning to see a pattern form here — and I didn't like it one little bit.
See, as an Ottawa Senators fan, I'm used to things going the way they always do: Leafs suck during the season while the Sens kick butt. And don't worry, I know what all you Leafs fans are saying out there: "But who wins in the playoffs? The Leafs always beat the Sens."
To that I say this: "And when was the last time you beat us in the playoffs? Oh, right. 2004."
A lot of people who learn my dirty little hockey secret often want to know how I became a Sens fan. After all, I grew up in southern Ontario — Hamilton, to be exact — a Leafs stronghold. The only thing worse than being a Sens fan in these parts is being a Habs fan.
See, I've never liked to follow the pack. I like being different. Thus my fandom for the Senators. (Also when Ottawa got their franchise, it was between them and Hamilton, so I could easily be cheering for the Hamilton Steelers right now or Balsillie Blackberrys or what have you.)
But the way this year's been going, I'm starting to feel a bit like a Leafs fan. The last time my Sens did this poorly was after their Cup run. (When was the last time the Leafs had a Cup run? Oh. Right. Sorry.)
I'm not used to this thing called "losing." Perhaps you Leafs fans can help me out here. If the Sens don't make the playoffs this year — gasp! — I'll really need your advice.
It's really great being a Sens fan in Toronto when the Sens are winning — I get to have the holier-than-thou attitude that Leafs fans usually possess, except I can back it up with stats.
But being a Sens fan in Toronto when the Sens are losing? It's been miserable. The only thing that's made it worse is when the Leafs are winning. There are no words to describe my mortification. I don't know how Leaf fans stay so proud even when their team is in the gutter.
Come Saturday, I had to watch the Leafs-Habs game (Carey Price is my starting goaltender on my fantasy team). And that was the night the hockey Gods finally smiled on me.
The Leafs lost. While I had to see the results of the next Senators game, at least I could sleep at night knowing the Leafs weren't on a winning streak anymore.
Fast forward to Monday night.
My Senators were playing and so were your Leafs. The Leafs game started first. They won. But my Senators pulled through and snapped a three-game losing streak, beating the L.A. Kings 3-2.
The Leafs may be winning again. But so are my Sens.
The universe has righted itself — almost.
MAIN PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS