Nazem Kadri (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
A handful of disgruntled Maple Leafs fans once again disrupted a game by throwing jerseys onto the ice – and how proud they must be to be so brave and original in registering their dismay. Surely, this will make the team better!
Dear idiotic jersey-throwers (and those considering it) everywhere,
Consider this a typed-out high-five and congratulations on a job well done. You gentlemen have skillfully made your nuanced point in a manner a considered column or passionate speech never could. After another night of at least one of you disrupting an NHL game by chucking your jersey from the stands onto the playing surface, we all finally get it. Admittedly, it wasn't apparent until the moment those jerseys touched the ice, but it sure is now: the team represented by the piece of uniform is not particularly good. On Monday evening, the Maple Leafs were the group of players convicted via flying clothes, and it wasn't just one of you rendering judgment via your ability to partially disrobe before large gatherings of people; the guy I'm guessing is the Grand Poobah of your membership chose to throw his Leafs jersey on the ice while the puck was in play, creating a dangerous situation that easily could've seriously injured one of the players he claims to cheer for.
This stuff has been happening for months now, at the Air Canada Centre and on the road for Leafs games, and in other NHL venues. And let's give all of you wise guys credit – your completely unselfish actions have made a big difference. Goodness knows the Oilers and Leafs have turned things around 180 degrees since you humbly registered your individual displeasure in front of the world, and your names should be engraved on the Stanley Cup when both teams win it in the next year or two.
Forget about coaching, trades, fancy stats or personal accountability among players – thanks to you, we now know what really transforms a team from pretender to contender is having one or many of its games delayed by 15-20 seconds at a time as a team employee or player scoops up the jersey and removes it from the ice before resuming play. It's nothing but a series of epiphanies for players after that type of stunning sacrifice from a fan, and it takes brave human beings like you to lead the way to success. Be sure to send us your measurements for your eventual statue outside the rink.
In all seriousness, anyone who says you don't have a right to be incensed with an organization that struggles for what feels like forever is absolutely wrong. Rage and frustration are completely understandable, but there's an adult way to express it, and there's an 11-year-old's way. The team, the players on that team and virtually all of its sentient fans understand full well they're not succeeding without the additional burden of having to endure your ego's cry for help disguised as some sort of rebellious gesture. And when all you're doing is inconveniencing the rest of us with a cliched, impotent, infantile act, don't be offended when we stand and applaud as security drags you out of the building by your ear.
Boo as loud as you want at a game, but keep your jersey on your person. Or if you can't do that, take your jersey, cram it in your mouth, put your hands in your pockets and scream louder than you've ever screamed. We'll all be better off for it.
The comparatively well-adjusted and emotionally mature among us