Stephen Brunt, in yesterday’s Globe column (it requires registration, but if you search for ‘Stephen Brunt’ through Google News you can get the full content) is all too happy to jump on the reduced expectations of a Stanley Cup win in Montreal, recounting a friend’s observation that the city, content with winning a round or two nowadays, has become like Toronto. In this he may touch on the truth, but he’s more wrong that right. Montreal doesn’t have the same expectations now that they did, even as recently as 10 years ago (once Patrick Roy, who was known to single-handedly win a cup, left town just two years removed from their last cup win, the expectations began to drop), but become like Toronto? Not quite. Having lived here in Toronto for the past few, I’ve had plenty of chances to roll my eyes at LeafsManiacs. Yonge street doesn’t fill with honking cars when the Leafs win a playoff series, it fills when they win a playoff game. When they win a series, the mayor begins planning the parade route (at least, Mel Lastman did; David Miller seems a bit less frantic. Lastman actually wanted to throw them a parade for getting to the third round, for chrissakes).
There’s also a difference between the cities in the sports demeanor come October. Montreal fans are hopeful that their team can win it all, and passionate about the season’s outcome, but will grudgingly admit that their chances aren’t good. Toronto fans, on the other hand, seem genuinely convinced that their team will win it…each and every year. I’ve never experienced anything like it. They like to claim it’s devotion and dedication, but it smacks mainly of delusion. It’s kind of creepy. Like being in a sports bodysnatchers town.
Hot Docs starts tonight. Our first documentary is about soccer-playing Guatemalan prostitutes. Seriously.