“If you cannot be good at what you do, then you should try to be pleasant while you’re screwing it up.” According to Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star, this is the sole rule for Toronto’s sports teams.
Toronto has a self-defeating mentality when it comes to sports; we seem to be convinced that we are the underdogs. We believe that we are the downtrodden, the long shots, the-little-city-that-couldn’t. Is it our lack of confidence in our teams that causes the losing streak? Or is it the losing streak that inspires our lack of confidence?
For many of us, disenchantment with the Leafs started in childhood. Each season we continue to delude ourselves that this will be “the year” — and each season since 1966–67, we’ve been wrong. The lack of skill with which the Leafs continually fail is particularly embarrassing because we’re Canadian. And one of the fundamental stereotypes about those of us who are up here in the Great White North is that not only are we supposed to be nuts about hockey, we’re supposed to be good at it too. To add insult to injury, if the Maple Leafs don’t make the playoffs this season (they won’t) and the Florida Panthers steal their spot, we will officially be the team with longest drought of playoff appearances in the league.
So much for hockey. Steven Spielberg would have us believe that raptors are among the scariest creatures to ever have walked the Earth, but much in the way that you felt let down and injured when you found out that a velociraptor was about as big as a full-grown cocker spaniel, you’ve been duped and disappointed by the Toronto Raptors: duped into believing that they’ll succeed and disappointed when they don’t. Teams who have an approaching game with the Raptors must feel a lot like teams who played my old high school’s football team did: they would have to seriously screw up in order to lose.
And the Blue Jays? They’re not terrible, but they’re not that good, either. And frankly, I don’t know that many people who care either way.
I’m not the only one who’s noticed that our sports teams are less than glorious; other people have taken note of our poor performance. For example, in June 2011, ESPN: The Magazine awarded us the title of “Worst Sports City in North America” based on the performance of all of our professional teams. With that kind of press, it’s not surprising that our teams and our morale aren’t so hot.