Still feeling the sting of the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre, I am once again reminded of the amazing loyalty of blue-and-white fans over the course of the past couple of decades. Despite the fact that you can actually count on one hand the number of times the Leafs have made the playoffs in recent years, Toronto fans continue to sell out the massive complex for every game.
Hope seems to spring eternal for hockey fans in Toronto. They love the game and they love their Leafs, all the while knowing down deep when they look at things in the cold light of logic before the season is half over, that they have little chance of seeing a miraculous playoff run again this year. When you stop to think about it, loyalty to a sports team, a particular person or cause, does not come from the head; it comes from the heart.
Someone said recently that loyalty is really an emotion, not a notion, and that has impacted me. Loyalty has its own rewards and it does not deserve to be measured against petty scales or shallow standards. What we feel about the object of our loyalty is what is important. Success is a happy heart, not a seemingly perfect situation or seeing your team hoist the Stanley Cup at the end of the season.
Loyalty is all about a short memory and love for love's sake. It's a matter of the heart and what you get out of playing, or watching, the game.
Loyalty makes you want to keep coming back -- to stay the course.