Leafs Fans Must Learn How to be Real Fans

This article is inspired by the latest waffle-throwing incident at the Air Canada Centre, but I am not actually going to discuss the “waffle incident.” Instead I want to send a message to Leaf fans. For those of you to whom this does not apply – those of you who are unfailingly loyal to the Leafs – I apologize in advance.

To get to the meat and potatoes, the Toronto Maple Leafs have not been successful over the past half of a decade. They haven’t made playoffs in, hell, I don’t even remember how long.

I feel for Leaf fans, I really do. I understand what it is like to go through your team losing constantly. After all, I have a life outside of writing, where I am a diehard Buffalo Sabres fan who went through the dreaded early 2000’s. It was an era of ownership troubles and, worst of all, a whole lot of losing.

Being a fan is a lot like getting married. Through thick and thin, through sickness and in health, and ’til death do us part. I am fed up with Leafs fans constantly wanting to be the center of attention by putting down their team worse than their rivals do. A team cannot be great all the time. If your team isn’t playing well, it means they need you more than ever. You’re fed up? So what! Things will change, but change takes time. By constantly harping on your team, you’re not making it any easier for things to improve.

It’s the fans who love to see when Phil Kessel screws up, giving them an excuse to berate management: “What a terrible trade, he doesn’t have 80 goals yet!” Get over it and learn how to cheer for your team. Throwing waffles at games and booing the players at home puts the team in a vicious cycle where suddenly the fans wake up on July 1 in a state of misery, wondering why no free agents want to sign with the Leafs and no young player (in his right mind) wants to begin his career in Toronto.

Now this turned out to be quite the rant, and for the sake of being a calm writer I did take out the unrated directors’ cut version of this article. The inspiration for this came from a long list of people who were canonizing the waffle thrower. That’s pathetic.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be a playoff team, when? That will depend partly on the fans. A player cannot develop when every move he makes on the ice falls under constant criticism. A team cannot focus on playing as a team – and most importantly, winning – when they have to worry about fans throwing waffles at them.

I am ending this with one more point. Consider the following, and I really hope I get through to at least one Leafs fan. If you hate your team when they are losing and love them when they’re winning, than you are nothing more than a pre-teen bandwagon jumper.

Matt Reed
Writer for The Reed Review & Inside Hockey
http://twitter.com/NHLMattReed

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4 Responses to “Leafs Fans Must Learn How to be Real Fans”

  1. lucie leduc
    December 23, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    What a load of drivel. The Leafs are not a high-school team or a children’s team. Either of those is worthy of unquestioned support.
    The Leafs, however, are professional athletes who are paid to do a job. If they don’t do it properly they deserve to be criticized as does any employee.
    I hope you take such a cavalier approach to ineptitude if your accountant screws up your tax return and you get fined thousands of dollars. “Oh well, keep trying buddy. You have my support no matter how incompetent you might be. That’s what I pay you for. I’m sure you’ll do better if I encourage you.”
    Ridiculous.

  2. Ilene Jenkins
    December 23, 2010 at 9:56 pm #

    I am a loyal Red Wings fan… But when I watch channel nine on Sat. when the Maple Leafs are playing I always root for them. So tell the fans if a Red Wings fan can root for them, what is their problem? Wish them the best of Luck… What is Wendel Clark doing now? Wasn’t he playing for our team few years ago? “Merry Christmas” to you all..

  3. Johnny Eggo
    December 26, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    I absolutely have to disagree with you and agree with ms leduc. Its our right as PAYING fans to express ourselves when we are not pleased with the product/service that is being produced. Its like any form of business, your not going to keep paying for a crap product and hoping that they turn it around. I can tell you right now that if Sony started pumping out crap games for their ps3 and charged 150 bucks for each one, there wouldn’t be to many ps3 gamers left. The fans have a reason to be pissed. Leaf nation isn’t like some bandwagon jumping american club. There are individuals that have been fans before the birthdates of some of corporate assholes running the place. They take pride in their team and sometimes tough love is the only action one can take.

    You can draw comparisons to a money pinching private ownership like buffalo, but in no way can you compare a private owner to a private corporation whose majority shareholder is a pension plan. You can say that things will be brighter in the future, but ticket prices are still gonna be overly excessive, with little or no product on the ice. Lets put it in perspective. The cheapest ticket at a Real Madrid match is 30 euros. Thats 40 bucks canadian. The cheapest Leaf ticket is 35 bucks Canadian. Real Madrid houses the best (or second) best football club in the world, in the worlds biggest sport. Consistency.And it has nothing to do with a salary cap because a proper farm system can keep good players circulating into the system. The leafs sign undrafted collegiate players and trade away strong draft years for 1 dimensional players. A great way to build a club is sifting through trash and paying a premium through trades. You can essentially attend a team with no salary caps games at a slightly pricer rate than a team full of AHL players with no destiny of landing on the top line (or 2nd for that matter).

    Don’t feed me this B.S about fans ‘hating their team when they are losing and love them when they’re winning’. Sure fans love when there team wins because the last thing we want to see is Sean Couterier accompaning Seguin on the 2nd line. And like all fanhood, despite the disapproval its nice to see your club win a game. I don’t expect a team like Real Madrid, but at least a respectable team that can compete amongst the big boys. “The Toronto Maple Leafs will be a playoff team, when? That will depend partly on the fans. A player cannot develop when every move he makes on the ice falls under constant criticism. A team cannot focus on playing as a team – and most importantly, winning – when they have to worry about fans throwing waffles at them”. Your right. Players can’t develop because the players that are playing have reached there ceiling, and you can’t keep hoping to trade up shit for a better player, especially without draft picks. This isn’t NHL 2003. The reason JFJ was tossed out of town was for a lack of progression in developing the leafs, by doing a quick build through trades involving draft picks and free agents. Hypocrisy anyone? The waffle throwing incident is nothing more than a corporate coverup to stave future humiliation for mlse. They saw what can happen with TFC and heaven forbid if this goes viral and actual change happens.

  4. Sam
    January 4, 2011 at 10:47 am #

    I am a loyal fan. My grandfather was one of the first Leafs fans and that means a lot to my family. Yes, some have dropped away. But we will not. I like the way it feels to stick by my team no matter what. Leafs are my team and always will be! And I can wear swag that really is old, not just retro :-)