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FTB - On Rivalries, Obessessions, and Ad Hominem Attacks

So I am sure by now most of you have read this post which goes from calling me the biggest douchebag in the blogosphere to a closeted homosexual to a jerk to a senators fan. Let's address the most painful insult first - that I am a sens fan. Looking over the almost 200 posts at the Battle of Ontario that I have written the breakdown between Leafs-related v. sens-related is probably 60-40 in favour of the good. Why so many sens posts? Because it's a site dedicated to trash-talking. From mocking numerals to highlighting the achievements of senators old boys (SOBs) those posts served to rile up the opposition fans. Why don't I write about the Leafs more often on that site? Three reason that are pretty clear after a moment's thoughtful consideration:

  1. Muppet does a great job of keeping the Leafs' side of things updates.
  1. Don (a senators fan) covers the bad side of the Leafs' news.
  1. I have run my own Leafs' site (at two addresses) where probably 99% of around 510 posts (holy shit!) have focused on the Leafs.

So it's an easy mistake to make if you are unfamiliar with the intertubes or can't do simple math (rougly 650 post about the Leafs v. about 80 about the sens = about 11%).

But back to the main questions: Why all the hate? Because of our little Hockey-Reference shenanigans. The central thesis, aside from the small-town mentality, is:

Is shit disturbing really that much fun?

Of course, any fan that has any sort of real connection long the lines of what E at Theory of Ice outlines will wholeheartedly agree that yes, shit disturbing against rivals really is that much fun.

It's not like this we are some sort of mutant fan that goes to lengths that no other fanbase does in supporting their squad and antogonizing their rivals. Check out the pages for Jaromir Jagr, Sean Avery, or, once Wyshynski!'s plan comes to fruition, Chris Pronger. I would hope that some Rangers fans would get Denis Potvin's page since he features so prominently in one of their favourite chants.

To be truthful, the insinuation that bothered me the most was that Montreal's fans are somehow above the fray. It's the same kind of arrogance that dared to suggest that Montreal fans affected the team's success through declining attendance. Or that chooses to ignore that "Leafs Sucks" is the most often heard chant at the Bell Centre. Or the arrogance that pretends that a simple search of these interwebs won't prove that it's the fans of every other team that harbour an unhealthy obsession with the Leafs:

If I was so inclined I could probably find at least a few mentions on every fan site or blog that either gets in explicit digs at Toronto (1967!!!, FORTY YEARS!!) or implicit digs at the team.

And you know what? They should be there. Hatred for your rivals in an integral part of the sporting experience. JP said in best in an e-mail:

Without villains there are no heroes, and without heroes, what good are sports?

Villains and Heroes provide the narrative of sports. Mark Bell's hit on Alfredsson doesn't elicit an incredible roar if there isn't six years of history between Alfie's hit on Tucker (dirty) and Bell becoming a fan favourite. The Playoff Hate piece I wrote could be applied to any sport. Ask a Liverpool fan how they felt yesterday as United won their 17th league title to move within one of their team's record haul. Ask United followers how they felt on this day. Hell, even seeing the opposition's apparel was enough to anger Grabia. Even the Godfather agreed with the premise.

Maybe as a Habs fan the above is a foreign concept since they seem to believe that everyone loves their glorious franchise. Idiotic polls certainly do nothing to aid this sense of entitlement that permeates the fanbase. A reader actually sent a contribution with the following message (emphasis mine):

Yesterday my friend admitted that she was a Habs fan, and I was appalled. By her logic "everyone loves les Canadiens!" and i went "what kind of fucked up town did you grow up in?!" and she said "even if people like the leafs or the sens, their second choice is the habs" and i said "NO! that's the same stupid logic that I refuse to accept! I do NOT have to like them just because they are canadian! I would never cheer for the sens and I would never cheer for the habs"

She gets it. While Toronto fans have CoxBloc and MF37 pushing back against the forces of evil and ignorance in the media everyone else has to dream up what kind of media treatment the Habs would get if they laboured under the same willfully ignorant media as the Leafs.

The back and forth in the comments of sisu's post offer a bit more of an insight into the thoughts of the East Coaster:

My beef isn't with the act. It's with the complete fixation.

He might want to have a word with whoever set up his webpage then because at the bottom of each page there is a quotation from one of the original Anti-Leafs screed's in recorded history:

...I prayed to God. I asked him to send, as quickly as possible, a hundred million moths that would eat up my Toronto Maple Leafs sweater.

Complete fixation indeed.

Here are some links to read after wading through all of that:

  • Mirtle highlights why the Red Wings are so ahead of everyone. Everyone got sucked into this feint.

  • Godd Till's letter was not published by The Omen. Big big big! Surprise. I wonder if he just rationalises that we're a bunch of rabble when one of us proves him wrong.

  • The Marlies are going 7! Clemmensen is still in net but apparently he is a superman in elimination games. Over/under on the attendance at this game is set at 2000.5