Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 04.11.07
Quebec City


Patiently waiting for victory, eh?

The last time the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup Lester Pearson was Prime Minister.

Exp. 67 was getting ready to kick off the best year the nation was to have for quite some time.

Dinosaurs still roamed the earth and I was just twenty years old.

As I write this, I don't know what is going to happen in Tuesday's game against Philadelphia. Nor do I know what will transpire between now and Saturday night when the Leafs meet the Canadians for the final game of the season.

All I know is come Sunday morning I'll still is a Leaf fan.

It's a sickness, really. Like a two-pack-a-day smoker I realize it can't be good for me but I just can't stop.

I come by it honestly. I grew up in a household that cheered for the Maple Leafs, the Hamilton Tiger Cats, and the queen.

Not necessarily in that order. It really depended upon who had the best season.

As a kid I wore the blue and white of the Leafs with pride. Hat, socks, sweater, the full regalia.

Nowadays, I'm reduced to three pairs of boxer shorts, and a rather attractive blue plaid with tiny maple leafs around the waist band, a gift from my nephew and niece.

I still wear them with pride but not so the legions of Habs fans that surround me will notice.

I've even passed the disease on to my own son.

I took him to the Forum for his first Leaf Game when he was seven years old.

Following family tradition I had explained to him why the Leafs were the best team in the world, why they could skate rings around the Canadiens, and how the survival of the Free World depended upon his upholding the tradition of cheering for the blue and white.

I know, it's not the kind of burden to place on a seven-year-old's shoulders but neither is the story of Hanzel and Gretel or The Little Train That Could but we do it just the same.

Convincing him the Leafs were the NHL's finest was actually the easy part. Explaining why 20,000 fans cheered when the Habs scored took a little more doing.

You would think living in Quebec for the past 39 years would have cured me. But strangely enough, like any delusional patient, challenging the source of my fantasy has only made me cling to it more tightly.

I've tried just about everything. Prayer, meditation, positive thinking. Short of asking the Anglican Church to perform an exorcism to rid the Leafs of Harold Ballard's lingering malevolent spirit. I'm at a loss.

And don't suggest the Catholic Church. They all cheer for the Habs!

Anyway, time is running out. I'm not sure I can wait another forty years. But what the heck, it's little enough to ask for a fan of the best team in hockey.