Seven Days On: A tale of loss and finding one’s self again

WRITER’S NOTE: The following entries are excerpts from the daily journal of a heartbroken Leafs fan. They are not meant to be a guide to health and wellness, but may well be considered so. If you are experiencing discomfort as a result of the Leafs Round One exit, please know that you are not alone. The goal of this writer, despite the fact that he has written five Leafs articles in a row, is to forget that the Leafs exist…for a little while at least. Please, read on.

by Mike Brock

Sunday, May 16 – The Next Morning

Fantastic. Sunday morning. New start. So many opportunities. Doors wide open. Sunny side of the street. Might even get some chores done. Go somewhere for coffee. And amazingly, I only have one job today.

I need to get my mind off yet another horrifying, soul defying, mind frying Round 1 loss.

I need to do something that has nothing to do with hockey. Something fun.

First thing I do is look at the schedule.

What’s this? Not just one Game Seven, but TWO Game Sevens! OK, I’ll watch a bit of one. Probably a good idea to watch a team other than the Leafs. In fact, I just read a very interesting article about why I should watch the playoffs, no matter which team I cheer for.

No chance these games go to overtime, right?

First up, Pittsburgh and New York at MSG. No chance this goes to over…OK. But that means for sure that the Stars and Flames will not go to OT.

OT.

That was a long night of hockey. At least I didn’t think about the Leafs.

Monday, May – Turn my attention to The Hoser Cup

The Hoser Cup is the playoff pool that my bud Johnny and I have been running since 1990. And while I’ve won more than my fair share (just ask him), I’ve always been at a bit of a disadvantage because it has been proven that it is too it’s too much for a Leafs fan to watch the Leafs go on a playoff run and have a bunch of high scoring Leafs on his Hoser Cup Roster. It would be greedy for so much good to happen to the longest suffering sports fans, right? To have a long playoff run and a shot to win the Hoser Cup? That combination hasn’t happened since 1999, when Johnny thought that the Devils had it under control. But, nevertheless, like the tipsy bird on Homer’s desk, every year I continue to go back to the well. I pick four or five Toronto Maple Leafs ever year in the Hoser Cup Draft. The great news is that I usually watch them pile up points in the first round. The bad news is that not one Toronto Maple Leaf has scored a point in the second round of the NHL Playoffs since 2004. 

Tuesday – Perspective is important

Yesterday came and went without a hockey game. That’s a good start. If I can’t watch my favourite hockey team, it makes it just a little easier to swallow if nobody can watch their favourite hockey team. But it’s Tuesday now. Three days into this abyss of fandom. Sometimes, even when you can’t make sense of things, you should try and look at it from a different angle, or even stop looking at it altogether. Either way, it’s always good to keep looking for something new. So today, I’m going to spend a lot of time reading a book.

Turns out that reading a book isn’t as much fun as watching your favourite hockey team.

Wednesday – Chores that needed to get done…

Went for a long walk today. I wanted to take a little time to think about the other Canadian hockey fans, and what they must be going through, too. I WANTED to, but I didn’t. 

Then, I was given the opportunity this afternoon to do some of the chores that were “excused” when the Leafs were playing. I had a thought as I was cleaning the garage. I wonder if it’s as much fun doing chores as it is watching your favourite hockey team play in playoff hockey. No, it is not. My mind wanders to the Island. That’s where I’ll be able to filter through the flotsam and jetsam and get to the important stuff. I need to go North.

Thursday – Getting Out Of Here

There is no shame in running away. At least, that’s what I say as long as I’m running away to Manitoulin. 

Now, it’s been five days since the Leafs were ousted. In the old days, the glory days, the Leafs were usually still in the playoffs during the May Two-Four weekend. That meant that we’d have to go into the Anchor, or Aunt Vi’s (or both) to watch the games. But, there is no Leafs hockey this weekend. If the fresh air doesn’t knock me out, satellite radio will do just fine for the Battle of Alberta.

Most importantly, though, it’s about time to get home. It’s about time to understand again that the best parts of life that never let you down. Just like my oldest friend, Bubber. It is about time for Bubber and I to soak in the North Channel.

Friday – Opening Up

To wake up with the sun kissing the shores of Manitoulin is a gift that will never set. A few things to do around camp. We put the boat in. Build a trampoline net, because Safety is always Fifth. The Yahtzee Yogi also makes his first appearance of the season. Perhaps his wisdom will grace these pages one day. Because everyone knows that rolling dice is perhaps the most predictable way of gathering knowledge.

Saturday – Fishing

Seven days on. First Saturday without the Leafs. Fished and fished and fished with Bub. We didn’t catch a thing. Still happy. Have not thought about the Leafs in 2 days.

But imagine going 57 years without catching anything…