There is a man who eats porridge everyday for breakfast – as he has done for 60+ years. Why? He doesn’t particularly like it, nor is it because of the nutritional value of oatmeal. He eats the same breakfast day in and day out because “it’s what he has always done.” WTF – drive to the local grocery store, and buy yourself a box of cornflakes. Hell – be a rebel, and head to Tim Horton’s and order a chocolate covered donut.
John has been a Toronto Maple Leaf fan for as long as I have known him. They are his oatmeal! Most of the time, the team frustrates him to no end. I have witnessed him shouting at the players on the TV. They don’t bring him any joy – the Maple Leafs last won the Stanley Cup in 1967. In fact, out of the past 8 years, they qualified for the semi-finals ONCE. But ask John why he still cheers for them, and he will say “because I have been a Toronto Maple Leaf fan since I was 5.”
So, in light of my recent commitment to bettering life for other people – I am picking 2 new hockey teams for John to cheer for. I recognize that there are some of you thinking – that’s crazy! I know who you are – you are long- suffering supporters of questionably performing teams (because fans whose chosen teams are performing well do not care about switching teams). You are the sports martyr – you believe that there is some kind of unspoken honour in cheering for the same team through thick and thin, and it’s blasphemy to switch the teams that you support.
I say REALLY? If the team you cheer for doesn’t bring you happiness, what does it reward you with? Are you collecting a dividend as a fan? If the motive for supporting a sports team isn’t financial – then it’s emotion driven. Why wouldn’t you choose to cheer for a team that brings you joy and entertains you? Where is it written that being a fan of a particular team requires a lifetime commitment?
If a person is unfulfilled by their career, they look for a new job (on average, a person changes jobs 7 times).
If a stock that you own is starting a downward slide, you sell it.
If people are unhappy in their marriage, they divorce.
If the car you own is a lemon, you trade it in on a different model.
People mature and situations change – life is too short to not find enjoyment when and where we can.
And so – the new teams. I am not a sports fan, so this was a completely unbiased process.
In light of John’s longstanding connection to the Toronto Maple Leafs, I ruled out the Montreal Canadians and the Boston Bruins, knowing that on principle alone, he would have a hard time cheering for either of these teams.
Cheering for the Chicago Blackhawks and the Pittsburgh Penguins would be a sort of bandwagon move, so I eliminated them.
I crossed off Rhett’s San Jose Sharks – so John and Rhett could continue their rivalry in the years to come (unless Rhett switches teams).
The first team I chose is the Vancouver Canucks – as we will be BC residents, this was an obvious choice. I think it is patriotic and respectful to cheer for the “home team”.
My second choice for John was totally random. Since Vancouver is in the Western Conference, I looked at teams in the Eastern Conference. Checking stats, this team is middle of the pack as far as points: with the potential to move up. I selected the Washington Capitals.
Choosing new teams for John likely won’t qualify as a random act of kindness – but I suspect cheering for these two teams will be an enlightening experience for both of us. Change is good.