Actually, this is more why I love hockey and not specifically the Leafs, but I think it'll do.
I’ll be honest—sometimes I wonder why I chose to be a fan of the Maple Leafs. I don’t have any personal connections to Toronto or any hockey memories with my family. The only connection I have to hockey at all is that as a little kid, one of my favorite segments of gym class was whenever we did floor hockey. In winter, we did mainly basketball (by “did basketball”, I mean “mainly just skills drills instead of actually playing the game”, one of the reasons I don’t like basketball now.) This went on for what seemed like forever—at least four months straight, except a short gymnastics unit when we were really little. However, for two glorious weeks (only about two weeks since the custodial staff didn’t like cleaning up the scuff marks), we had floor hockey. I was never an athletic kid—never on any teams, always picked last, etc.—but at floor hockey I freaking ruled. Actually, maybe I didn’t—I was a goalie for a while and when I started to realize I sucked at that I became a more…let’s say “enthusiastic” defensive force (basically find the guy with the puck and grind him down, which led to more than one high stick/unnecessary roughness/etc penalty.) Aside from this fact, I have no reason to be interested in hockey at all, much less a Leafs fan.
I remember starting to casually follow the NHL early in high school. At the time I was convinced that I would become an incredibly awesome screenwriter, and one of my stories involved a hockey team. The only problem with writing a hockey movie was that my knowledge of hockey was skeletal at best, so I had to do research. The more I researched, the more interested I became.
I had been a fan of other sports before. When I was really little, among the plethora of jobs I wanted to be when I grew up was an NFL announcer just so I could use the telestrator to draw stuff on the field. While football was interesting, it seemed far too intricate with too many loopy rules. Baseball and basketball seemed too slow and too filled with idiot primadonnas for my tastes. But hockey was accessible to me—the rules seemed less loopy, the players seemed like OK people—so I was drawn in.
In 2003 or 2004, I forget, an extracurricular group I was in had organized a trip up to Montreal to see the Canadiens play the Bruins. I had already gotten bit by the hockey bug, so of course I went. Even though we were way up in the cement nosebleeds, the energy, the excitement, the electricity in the air all enthralled me. Unlike other sports, it seemed like no matter where I looked on the ice or around me there was something interesting to see. Instead of watching fat guys standing around a field, there was something exciting in ever single corner of the ice. It was perfect for someone like me who can get very easily distracted. Guys, I could have been born a Habs fan on that day, despite a 1-0 loss to those smegging Bruins.
And yet I didn’t. I’m not sure why I chose the Leafs over any other team. The only possible influence that I might have had is the fact that I coincidentally share a last name with a former Leaf who didn’t do jack shit for the team. Maybe it was a few too many childhood hits to the head. Maybe I have a thing for losers. Maybe you guys had cookies. I don’t know. What I do know is that I am a Leafs fan and I have had a blast so far being a Leafs fan. As the expression goes, I will stay the course, and I have made my bed and I will lie in it. Judging from some of the great company I have made, at least I won’t be alone.