"And so you're back from outer space,
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face;
I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave your key,
If I had known for just one second you'd be back to bother me..."
- Gloria Gaynor, I Will Survive
|Says it all|
This is a difficult letter for me to write. Well, it should be a difficult letter for me to write but it really isn't, so it must be the right thing to do. I've decided our relationship has run its course and I am writing to tell you I'm breaking up with you. No, there's nobody else, not specifically. I just don't love you any more and that's the bottom line.
We've been together a very long time and I always thought our relationship would last forever, but things change, you know? People change and they want different things sometimes. It's nobody's fault, really.
Except, in this case, it's your fault. Totally. I could soften the blow and give you a bunch of platitudes; I could say, "it's not you, it's me", but it's totally you. You could have kept me in your life forever with just an absolute bare minimum of effort but that was beyond your capability, it seems. All you really had to do was show up year after year and even pretend to give a rat's ass about my feelings. Maybe every now and then do something constructive about your personality, other than making pathetic cosmetic changes to your appearance, like that idiotic geometric figure behind the nets. Seriously, what the hell is up with that?
But not only could you not make even the slightest effort to do the little things that would make me happy, this year—for the second time in seven years—you didn't even bother to show up. And now, again, months after I expected to see you at my door, you come staggering up my path (on account of all your head injuries) wearing the same clothes you left in, expecting me to just accept your absence and let you back into my home, my life, my Saturday night schedule. Well, not so fast there, buster. As that noted scholar, George W. Bush, once said: "Fool me once, shame on....shame on you. Fool me.....you can't get fooled again." I know you'll understand what he meant (on account of all your head injuries).
In case you think this is a knee-jerk reaction and I'll "get over it" in time, let me assure you that it isn't. It's been a long, long time coming. I've been falling out of love with you for years and when you slapped me in the face with the last lockout I started to realize just how well I could get along without you. Sure, I took you back that time, but the seeds had been sown and I was definitely not as passionate about our relationship as I used to be. But rather than doing anything at all to try to remedy that situation, you just went right ahead and pulled the same stunt all over again and now you come back to me without changing a single thing. Not one thing that would mean anything to me. And you think that's good enough? Get over yourself.
|NHL ticket prices|
I also don't like the way you treat people you profess to care about. Your "solution" to the positively frightening rise in head injuries over the years is to say "what can we do about it, hockey is a dangerous sport." No thought has been given to slowing the game down; in fact, you've tried your best to make it faster over the past decade. There are too many bodies out there in too small an area going far too fast; it's only a matter of time before someone is killed during an NHL game (again). Is that an acceptable level of risk for you? Well, it isn't for me. Just another way we have grown apart over the years.
Is some of this due to the fact that I'm a Leaf fan? Hey, probably. Forty-five years of abject futility is really more than anyone should have to put up with. But then, I'm a hockey fan first and a Leaf fan second and let me say this about that: if I had given up on the Leafs when I probably should have, I would have long ago turned my back on you, NHL, because I have a lot more fun at hockey games at virtually every other level I can think of, from TimBits hockey right up through Major Juniors. The sport is the best on earth until you meddlers get your hands on it. Blame some of my frustration on the Leafs' ineptitude, sure, but don't for a second let that mask my issues with you, personally.
So I think it's time we faced up to the fact that we have drifted apart and put an end to our...ok, my misery once and for all. I know you will get along fine without me. You probably won't even notice I'm gone at all because you have so many lovers in so many other ports. Now, don't even try to deny it. There are plenty of people who you still hold in starry-eyed awe of you and that's fine. Good for you and them. I've decided that I need closure and a change in my life and you have, this winter, provided the perfect opportunity for me to do that.
I wouldn't call this a bitter split, though I wouldn't exactly call it amicable, either. Mostly, it's a split filled with ennui on both of our parts: I don't care what happens to you from here on in and you clearly have the same lack of concern for me. I'm sure we'll cross paths again at parties (such as a championship round or two) and when one of our favourite kids graduates to the post-season after many years of being held back in school. I'm sure your name will come up in conversations with my friends and I can look back fondly on the many years of pleasure we had together before the recent disillusionment. I know I won't be able to avoid hearing about your activities and, though it will probably hurt a little, I think I can follow your life from a distance with no major issues. But we will never again be close, you and I, and there was a time when I thought saying that would really be tough. Today changed that for me: when I heard you had returned from wherever the hell you had wandered off to, I didn't feel happy, I didn't feel excited, I didn't even feel indifferent. No, I felt angry. I felt pissed off that my life was in pretty good shape and I no longer even missed you but here you were strutting around trying to distract me (and many others) from really important business like Spring Training (just around the corner) and taking down the Christmas tree and reruns of Community. It would have been bad enough had you returned and I felt torn or sad. But to resent your return? Well, that brought the whole thing to a head and I knew it was time to write this letter, before I had to consider watching another Ottawa home game where half the fans are holding "Leafs Suck" signs even though the Senators are playing the Blue Jackets that evening. (Not your fault, per se, NHL, but still really damned sad to watch.)
|"Count" Gary Bettman|
You know, on second thought, don't call me. I'll call you.