Since both the Sabres and Bills never make the playoffs anymore, I’ve grown accustomed to just sitting back and trying to watch the NFL/NHL playoffs without thinking about our shitty teams. Sure, I’ll play the “how do these playoffs teams stack up against the Sabres” in trying to figure out how far they are away from them. But, for the most part, I try to decompress and actually cheer for the best game, not the best team. I’d like to kind of forget about the Sabres until at least the draft.
Well, it is nearly impossible to do that with the Leafs in the playoffs. My Twitter feed the last week has been filled with a bunch of suicidal Sabres fans and some media members who are consumed with jealously and agendas. I just listened to Jeremy White go on a colorful rant about it which inevitably circled back to wanting to tell anti-tankers to bite him (Not shocking). I also heard about Howard Simon’s bowel movements because he was yelling at the Caps/Leafs game, to the point he had to turn off the TV in the 2nd period (Get some Tums, bro). Mike Harrington can’t go 10 minutes without tweeting how the Leafs are WAAAAAY ahead of the Sabres rebuild.
Great, now both BN and WGR have found common ground about the Leafs.
WGR is acting like the Leafs stole our idea for a get rich quick scheme which lead to our girlfriend leaving us for them and TBN is acting like we are filming a porno of our ex-girlfriend who is getting gang banged by your best friend and her new boyfriend. It is sadness vs. hate or both.
The Leafs have always struck a cord here. Win/Loss records or playoff encounters can normally accentuate a rivalry, but when it comes to the Leafs/Sabres, both teams can suck, yet, the hate will always be here. You won’t lack any sort of recycled yearly narratives such as,
“Taking over the arena”…
“BAD FANS selling their tickets to Leafs fans”…
“Toronto fans being shitty drivers and assholes at the games.”
In other words, it is low hanging fruit. Nothing gets the media happier than when they can get fans pissed off and the Leafs are ‘old reliable’ when it comes to getting people angry. It is a perfect storm to enrage everyone because of the insecurities of a Sabres fan base that gets jealous very easily.
Look, I’ll be the first to say I can get jealous of other teams. I’ve always been jealous of the Patriots because of Brady/Belichick. I was jealous of the Flyers when they had Daniel Briere and would admit to being that guy who would tweet disparaging things about Larry Quinn/Golisano/Darcy whenever he’d score against us. I wouldn’t let it die. But the difference? We are talking about 17 years of the Patriots domination and 5 years of Briere playing well in Philly. With the Leafs, we are talking about one season of “Domination”. The Leafs have been pretty shitty since the first lockout and by all accounts, worse than the Sabres during that time period. All of a sudden I’m supposed to be enraged and act like there’s no hope? I’m not an optimistic fan as I tend to be more cynical, but I don’t need the Leafs “run” to change my trajectory.
The Leafs are a fricken 8th seed and are up 2-1 against the #1 seed. Doesn’t this seem to happen every other year in the NHL where a top seed is in danger of losing to a #8 seed? Now, do I have a little bit of apathy or “it is what it is” towards this? Sure. Teams being better than our teams has been happening for a long time and at this point, I’m kind of numb to it. Hence the reason I try and decompress when I watch the playoffs because I don’t want to think about how shitty they are.
Still, it is just one season. If the Leafs got 110 points and we were on year #4 of post-Eichel and the Sabres aren’t playoff bound, then I’d understand fully. That’s the thing about jealousy in sports, for me and maybe it is my age of being 37, but it needs to be something that happens a bit more long-term than just a one hit wonder.
I have enough angst towards my teams to know I really don’t need to lose my shit over a heroic run to the 8th spot by a team that has been worse over my lifetime.