The catalyst for starting this blog over four years ago was an asinine article by Theresa Tedesco in the National Post. I was fed up with what passed for sports journalism in Toronto and took to blogger.com to vent.
A few years ago, I stopped writing about these half-wit media articles. As I noted with the Cox Bloc boys over at Zambonic Youth: 1,000 blogging monkeys at 1,000 laptops in 1,000 basements couldn't staunch the flow of crap and nonsense that passes for sports journalism in this town.
But I simply can't resist the latest entry from the Toronto Star's Municipal Affairs columnist Royson James.
Toronto deserves more from the Toronto Maple Leafs. The hockey club owes us.Agreed on the first part, not so sure that I'm following on the second...maybe in as much as the Toronto Star owes the citizenry some informed insight and quality writing.
The once-proud franchise in the centre of the hockey universe has long been the butt of jokes. Now, it is the answer to trivia questions on sports futility.Wait, so it was ok for the Leafs to be the butt of jokes, but it's not ok for the same team to co-hold the record for the longest Stanley Cup playoff drought along with Los Angeles and St. Louis? That's an interesting line in the sand...
Meanwhile, in remarkable endeavours radiating beyond this hockey graveyard, Torontonians are thriving, reaching for the stars.Did anyone else read that with Casey Kasem's voice in their head? Ok, guess it was just me...
K’Naan waves the city’s flag across the globe as his catchy anthem for Africa’s World Cup dominates the airwaves. And the industry’s top rapper, Drake, hails from the T-Dot.Fuck I hate that waving flags song, my daughter butchers it daily. She sings it like it's a camp song for the hearing impaired.
It’s almost TIFF time, when the world’s film pilgrims trek to our screening houses, as if this were Cannes or something.Great. Someone should commission Dolores Claman to write a big bouncy anthem about all of this Toronto wonderfulness.
Two guys, the late David Pecaut and Tony Gagliano, had a dream to stage an annual festival of the arts and creativity that attracts the world’s best. Luminato has delivered as promised.
Canada’s banking prowess has been on display during the global economic collapse, earning praise and envy from world leaders. Toronto is its nexus.
Even our oft-criticized Mayor David Miller has been stellar on the world stage. He’s the elected chairman of C-40 global cities, 40 large cities from Addis Ababa through London, New York, Sydney and Warsaw that are committed to fighting climate change.
And since last Thursday, the Toronto City Summit Alliance has been staging an ambitious effort, Toronto Homecoming, to lure back the city’s great scientists and bright minds and world-class talent to work in the Toronto of their birth or affection.
There is just one major boil on the city’s attractive buttocks. The Leafs.Ouch. My favourite team reduced to an open sore.
And those Jays! 17 years without a playoff appearance. They're doing the city proud! Just look at them, one second place finish in nearly a dozen years playing to crowds of 11,000.
Just the hockey.
The beloved hockey team, playing in the media capital of a hockey-crazed nation, is a blot on Toronto’s image.A blot? Well, it could be if you really think a municipality's image is based on the performance of its local sports teams.
Now, wherever sports fans talk about losers, civic futility, championship droughts and sporting misery of global proportions, Toronto’s name is on the short list — up there with the Arizona Cardinals of the NFL, the Chicago Cubs and the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.Can Royson James not even get the list right? If you're going to dump on my team, at least do your homework.
Nobody talks about the Sacremento Kings, it's the Clippers who are mocked.
The Chicago Black Hawks won the Stanley Cup this week, after 49 years of failure. Leafs fans are now hockey’s longest suffering, winless since 1967. For a country weaned on hockey this is unbearable.Despite the logical disconnect in all of this, it should be noted that Leaf fans do indeed find this unbearable, but I have the feeling the majority of the country is quite fine with this.
A generation of Torontonians — several, really — know nothing of Leaf glory, except from banners hanging from the roof of Maple Leaf Gardens and, now, the Air Canada Centre. What could it have been like to win three in a row in the 1940s, and again in the 1960s?Hey, what if the media made a better effort to tell Torontonians and Leaf fans about 1967? Maybe that would help those lost generations?
The Blue Jays were fabulous. We told our children to cherish the back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992 because it might never happen again. They scoffed. The folly of youth. Now they are young adults wondering if they’ll ever see a hockey parade up Bay St.Wait, the Jays get another pass here? And Jays fans are wondering about a Leafs parade? Do editors get the weekend off at the Star?
Actually, the city’s descent into the hockey abyss is even more damaging and debilitating than fans realize — the annual ritual of futility numbing the senses to the depth of the loss.For Leaf fans, there is no numbness, only greater expectation.
Consider, since the likes of Frank Mahovolich and Red Kelly and Ted Kennedy, hockey’s best players have not worn the blue and white. Canada’s Team — the grand and glorious Maple Leafs — has failed to sign a single one of the game’s greatest players during all those championship-empty years.Ok, there's this thing called the draft. NHL teams procure the rights to players for a set period of time and then...wait, Teemu Selanne and Pavel Bure? Seriously?!? You're going for a list of the greatest players that have been in the NHL since 1967 and you're going to put those two on the list ahead of Hasek, Roy, Trottier, Leetch (who played for Toronto), Clarke, Sakic, Bourque, Robinson. Really? Canuck please.
Wayne Gretzky may consider this his NHL home city, but Leaf team owners managed to scuttle any chance The Great One would skate for the home side. Bobby Orr, Mark Messier, Pavel Bure, Teemu Selanne, Mario Lemieux, Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and the most spectacular talents shone elsewhere. Leaf fans settled for Darryl Sittler, Mats Sundin and Doug Gilmour.
The New York Yankees routinely sign baseball’s biggest names and brightest stars. They pursue the best. They are the Yankees. That’s what they do.Yeah, screw the NHL's salary cap!
Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment has no such pretentions. Their preoccupation, it seems, is to bring smiles to the faces of the teachers’ pension fund.
The Chicago Black Hawks’ roster is replete with Ontario lads who would no doubt revel in playing for their province’s capital city. Leafs fans must demand they come home.Screw the CBA and binding contracts! Bring back the C-Form! If you're born in Ontario you play for the Leafs. Leaf fans must demand that your place of birth dictates where you play...and all those Canadians that have found success in Hollywood or any foreign market, you need to get your asses back home - Hiccups, Little Mosque on the Prairie and The Bridge need you.
All around us Toronto is competing and succeeding against the world’s best. Only hockey embarrasses. Forty-three years of losing. Enough is enough. Bring home the cup!Only hockey embarrasses.
Not the Raptors, not the Jays, not the Argos, not Mel Lastman's run-in with WHO, not Corey Haim, the $1B G20 summit or the $2M fake lake at the MTCC.
Maybe one of the tens of mayoral candidates can unveil a platform to deliver a Stanley Cup parade in Toronto during the next term of city council. Forget transit. Ending our image as losers is an election winner. Guaranteed.Should any Mayoral candidates want to take this up as a platform, I'm sure they can get some great advice from their municipal colleagues in Vancouver. It certainly has done the Canucks franchise wonders, their drought is only a non-embarrassing 39 years.