Last week I wrote an article as a proud Canadian suggesting that we - AS Canadians - come together in unity behind the sole remaining native hope we have for bringing the Stanley Cup home this season. I meant all of us, as a country. Toronto Maple Leafs fans, like myself, and Winnipeg Jets fans and Flames fans and Canucks fans and Canadiens fans and Oilers fans too. All of us, as one, all powerful cheering section, regardless of division rivals and regardless of our old differences and perceived slights and bruised ego and pride, avarice and ingrained malice towards anyone who isn't our home team.
I hope nobody thinks I simply underestimated their loyalty in issuing this plea. I did not.
I am a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Born and raised. I love that team more than is probably healthy, considering the results they keep giving me. I used to say to anybody in my life that was going through a hard time or having a crisis of faith that if I can wake up at the beginning of each hockey season, look myself in the mirror, smile and believe that this year is going to be different for us, than there is no excuse for them not believing in themselves. If we, as Leafs fans can believe in our team each year, anyone should be able to believe in anything. World peace? Check. Cures for illnesses? Check! Just as soon as the Leafs bring home the cup!
This is what we look like ALL the time!
I say this because I want people to know that I understand the reactions that article received. That being, all over the place!
Some people were already rooting for the Sens regardless of their hometown. Some people were persuaded to my way of thinking and others loudly and vehemently opposed it, claiming they'd be dead before they rooted for Ottawa. One person even tried to calm me down (and in an odd way succeeded) by claiming that there is some kind of shadowy "hockey cabal" rigging the show from behind the scenes and that due to the convergence of a number of factors (Canada's sesquicentennial, the Stanley Cup's 125th anniversary and the NHL's 100th anniversary) the Senators would surely win the cup in adherence to some kind of plan...
I see you, dude!
So I was happy with how the article did in many ways, and unhappy in others. I agree with the discussion it fostered, though in many situations I disagreed with the name-calling and the language and, to be frank, grammar employed in that name-calling. I want to go on the record and reiterate my motives to those that simply regurgitated their own existing allegiance to another team and the loyalty that they felt towards that team as well as the people that decided to stick to the age old reasoning that most of the teams are made up of a good percentage of Canadian players anyways.
Some (I'm looking at you Montreal) thought it would be okay that the Stanley Cup could potentially come to Montreal with P.K. Subban if Nashville wins.
That's dumb. That's almost as dumb as the decision to get rid of Subban was on the part of the Montreal clubhouse, but we won't even get into that now because it's besides the point.
The most common argument was that the Senators own fans wouldn't root for another team if the roles were reversed, and that may be true. I don't know. What I do know is that if the roles were reversed and the Sens were out and, oh, say the Canucks or Flames had beaten Anaheim, I would have written the article anyways, urging us as a nation to get behind that team because I'm NOT writing as a Senators fan.
I'm writing as a Canadian.
Yeah, one of these guys!
I don't care how many players on Nashville or Anaheim or Pittsburgh are Canadian. Frankly, I don't care that Sidney Crosby is Canadian, either. This is bigger than them and, frankly, bigger than us. The Cup belongs in Canada. This is it's home. It's named after Lord Stanley of Preston, Canada's Governor General, if you want to really argue the point. America had a revolution to get rid of the monarchy in their country. The Governor General is the embodiment of Royal power in Canada. It's symbolic power only, sure, but it's the truth, and if that's the case than they certainly wouldn't want any of his stuff down south, would they?
So for everyone that decided to comment without actually clicking the link and reading the article, which I'm sure many did (I've been an internet writer a while now) I want you to know that you entirely missed the point of what I said. I didn't say you should root for the Senators because they're the best team in Canada because I would never say that. That's the Leafs, sorry! I also didn't say you should root for them because Ottawa is the best city in the country because I would never say that either. That's Toronto, not sorry!
I said that you should root for the Ottawa Senators as a Canadian team because they're the last ones left defending the True North - strong and free - from 25 years of defeat by American teams. That's it. That's the entire argument boiled down. I'm Canadian, you're Canadian, they're Canadian.
If you're not rooting for your country then turn off the TV and go kick rocks.