If I recall my days of scripture study, there's a part of the Book of Deuteronomy (or is it the Book of Leviticus?) that references Toronto Maple Leaf fans. The translation, and bear with me as my Hebrew is rusty, is "If a man roots for the Maple Leafs, following the great expansion, he has committed an abomination: and shall surely be destined for heart breaking failures."
Five years ago today, I wrote God about this unfortunate fact. Here's what I wrote on March 15, 2003.
Hello God, it's me Mike.
What exactly do you have against my Toronto Maple Leafs? Why to you use your omnipotent power to crush us at every opportunity? You tortured us with the Harold Ballard regime, forcing me to grow up in a decade almost completely void of playoff victories. Then, when everything lined up perfectly for a Habs-Leafs Stanley Cup Final in '93, you gave The Great One yet another break and used your mighty power to blind the refs as Gretzky clearly high-sticked Gilmour. We deserved to win that night. You made sure it didn't happen.
Now, in 2003, that very same Gilmour came home. On Thursday night, I watched #93 play for four minutes and fifty-one seconds. Everything seemed right again. Everything seemed perfectly in place for a serious run at the cup. Leaf fans were happy. We were oh so happy Lord! Then, as quickly as you giveth, you taketh away.
Dougie was laying on the ice, clearly in pain. The war horse couldn't stand, but this warrior was going to get to the bench on his own. As I watched him crawl twenty feet to the bench, I looked up and asked you one simple question. "Why?"
On behalf of all Torontonians, I apologize for whatever it is you don't like about us. Perhaps it's our arrogance? We are the self-proclaimed capital of Canada, you know. Perhaps it's the fact that many Leaf fans spill on to Yonge Street to celebrate a single playoff victory. Is it that we're satisfied with so little from our hockey team? Should we expect more? Tell us oh Lord, tell us what we can do to earn your favour. If we change now, maybe Dougie is back for the playoffs? Please see what you can do...
Your biggest fan,
That plea clearly fell on deaf or disinterested ears. Since I wrote that letter to God, an entire season was cancelled and we finished two points out of the playoffs, one point out of the playoffs, and however close we get this year before the final buzzer sounds.
On behalf of Maple Leaf fans everywhere, oh Lord, I cry "UNCLE!!!!!!!"