I admit that I went to Boston with an attitude. As a fan of Toronto Maple Leafs, I do not think kind thoughts of anything Bruin, and so donned my Leafs cap to represent the true blue and white. I didn’t have to wait long for a reaction. “You guys have been losers since 1967.” The guy stared at me deadpan at the bus station.
My comeback wasn’t a classic. “At least I don’t live in Boston.”
It was going to be a long weekend, but I was up to it, and went straight into a bar called The Tam to watch the Bruins-Canadiens game, now in overtime. I received a few glares and just one muttered comment – “I think this guy is messing up my karma” – but that was it. I almost felt bad when the Bruins lost the game.
The startling silence continued over the next day – perhaps because I was at a writer’s conference? It wasn’t until I arrived in Cambridge that things picked up again. A square-jawed, almost pleasant-looking man leaned out from an alley. “Leafs are the only Original Six team that didn’t make the playoffs. Did you know that?”
I wasn’t sure if he was right. It took me a couple of blocks to think it through and another few to think of my comeback. “Now I know I’m in fucking Harvard.”
I continued on to The Sinclair, preparing for the next attack.
“Love the hat, man.”
I wanted to detect a tone but couldn’t find one.
“Got to wear your colors,” said another. “I respect that.” It wasn’t until I ran into an old friend at the show that the antagonism returned. “I looked up, saw the Leafs hat, and thought what an asshole. I knew it must be you.”