Boy, are they sad-sack fans.
They’ll tell you as a fan you must support the team. That the sweater you just hurled costs a ton of money. They’re painfully right about the latter, but in a way it helps bolster the argument of sweater tossers. The fact that your team is rotten and has the temerity to charge you an arm and a leg to wear their colors is the real, much larger, disgusting display.
But their bigger emotional point, of being a fan, basically through thick and thin, wherein you must support the team at (no pun intended) all costs – is loopy. Why should you root for a team that doesn’t entertain at best or even try hard at worst? Where does it say in the sports ticket of life that if you don’t tickle my fancy I have to put up with this stuff? Why shouldn’t one have the right to let the “old side” know, as dramatically and graphically as possible, that the effort and performance they provide is rancid to the core?
Now the 100% all-in fans will counter – well just don’t go to the games. They have a point. The ultimate best weapon to show one’s anger would be to not spend one penny on the purported professional team you’d like to love, warts, acne and all.
But most fans, it seems, are like abused spouses: they can’t leave for reasons only Shrinks would understand.
So, agreeing that fans can’t stay away, and assuming that boos and catcalls have had no effect – what’s a long-suffering supporter to do?
Toss the sweater.
Toronto, Canada knows all about this. There, they have a ersatz-professional hockey team called the Toronto Maple Leafs with the highest ticket resale prices - $373.50 – in the 30 team NHL. They are a completely bush-league-bass-ackwards-amateur-gong-ghoulish horror show whose best efforts are given during platitudes after play. In Jan. and Feb. of 2015 the team won TWO games out of NINETEEN! Along the way they set franchise records for most losses in a row. (The franchise was founded in 1917.) They’ll miss the playoffs again – which actually is a bright light in a sea of darkness because should they have squeaked into the first round of the Stanley Cup post season wars, they’d have been absolutely murdelized and blown out – because in these playoffs – teams step up, find another level, and flatten the fakers.
Now, remember, Toronto is a town that doesn’t embarrass easily. Not only have they put up with the Maple LAFFS for decades of decrepitude, they have a hard core 30% of the town called “Ford Nation” that loves that 300-pounds-of-fun, classless, cutie-pie guy, ex-Mayor Rob Ford.
So you can’t say Torontonians haven’t been good sports. But they’re worn out. They’re sick of sick play.
Therefore this season, they’ve engaged in sweater tossing – and they started in game 2 in a loss to Pittsburgh because they were still steaming from the previous season’s rank futility.
And not one fan booed after the sweater hit the ice. In fact, there were a couple of cheery whistles!
The team bans these flinging folks from the confines of the Air Canada Centre for ALL events for the rest of the season. Hardly tough medicine: once these fans are off that bad-booze of loser-leaf-hockey they’re on their way to recovery. They can even be charged by the police for public mischief and get jail time. Christy Clark, premier of BC, has it about right, tweeting: “...Most Canadians would rather be arrested than put on that jersey.”
Leaf players, aggravatingly, as mentioned, platitude well and swell, talking of “moral victories”, when they lose a close one; of “character” when they get blown out in the first period only to come back within a goal or so by the time the third rolls around; of “looking in the mirror” after yet another lackluster effort and a limp-leg loss.
Because the NHL can’t institute a Broadway theater routine – where if the show sucks, the show shutters after a week, at least throw the fans a bone and let them toss a sweater.
Contras will say the players might get injured by inadvertently skating over a sweater unseen, and fall.
This is true. Don’t have an answer for that one, other than to say that players playing “soft”, going through the motions, at ¾ speeds, are WAY likelier to get injured from a hard-charging opponent than they are from said sweater. (Funnily, enough contras don’t complain so much when hats are tossed on the ice after a player scores a hat-trick, and the players have to make it back to the bench.)
So - sweater tossers – make sure you toss the jersey during a stoppage in play...
Leaf players are pissed at the tossings. (They also played like they’re pissed, from booze.) They say that sweater tossing shows no respect for the uniform – and here, they are absolutely bang on.
(Apparently, there’s a tradition throughout the NHL in dressing rooms that a sweater never touches a floor.)
That’s so nice.
Back to the ice. It’s merely the fans logically following in the players’ skate steps. The players show no respect for the uniform - on the ice WHERE IT COUNTS - with their lousy play – so the sweater heavers are simply following suit. Players also claim it insults the Leaf traditions – but that institution’s traditions are tawdry, tired. They haven’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967,
When they had a measly five other teams to contend with. In 2014 ESPN ranked them LAST for professional sporting organizations in North America. 122 out of 122.
Game over. Sweater tossers one and won – Leafs, and other loserish teams, 0 and none.