As a person from Toronto and follower of Torontonian sports teams (Leafs, Raptors, Blue Jays, Toronto FC) there is a general feeling that Toronto, 4th
largest market in the NBA (behind New York, Chicago, Los Angelas) tends to lose far more often than other sports cities, such as Boston, Philadelphia
or Detroit. I was wondering if this feeling was legitimate or, being whiners, our whining would happen regardless if it was legitimate or not.
In particular, there is one American city spoiled with championships: I am speaking about Boston.
Since the year 2000 the city of Boston has enjoyed 6 final appearances in the Superbowl and 3 championships. The Boston Celtics appeared in 2 NBA
finals, and won 1 of them. The Boston Redsox have appeared in 3 MLB World Series, and won all of them. The Boston Bruins appeared in 2 Stanley Cup
finals and one of them. If you include MLS finals, Boston has been in 4 of them, losing in all the finals.
Taking the big 4 sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) Boston has enjoyed a sickening 13 finals experiences and 8 Championships! I wonder why people
don't make a bigger deal of this. In the sports world, the Boston area has continuously experienced the joy of winning.
The runner up after Boston is Los Angeles. which has enjoyed 7 NBA finals, with the Lakers winning 5 of them. In Baseball, the Angels won in 2002. In
hockey, the LA Kings have won 2 championships, and the Anaheim ducks have appeared in 2 Stanley Cup finals, winning one of them.
In the same time period, Toronto 3 teams, Leafs, Raptors and Blue Jays have won a combined 0 championships and have appeared in 0 finals. The blue
Jays appeared in 0 playoff series and the Raptors have appeared in just one eastern conference finals, losing it, and havent come anywhere close
since. The Leafs have lost again and again, and continue to lose.
I started this thread probably because after starting the NHL and NBA seasons so well, the Leafs and Raptors have fallen into a morbid losing streak.
I wonder why, and not just why, but just as a sociological dynamic, some cities do incredibly well (Boston) while other cities with a larger market
(Newspapers, Television Networks, number of people influenced within the market (which includes all of Canada, really, as the Raptors market
themselves as "Canadas team") as Toronto can boast 25-30 million fans while Boston can tout mainly people from the New England area, 14.6
Yet Toronto fans continuously experience and perhaps induce a poor performance in their teams. Is that possible? What is it about Toronto, that causes
it to be 13 short of Bostons 13 appearances? Within a city and its environs, the people, the fans, develop a relationship with their team through the
medium of the Newspaper columnist, as well as the television network which covers the team; nowadays, many teams have their own special networks with
their own unique scheduling.
Throughout there is exchange of information, ideas, reinforcements, between what people think about their teams and how the teams perform. Here's
what I think an unconscious narrative plays itself out in the minds of many Torontonians and Canadians more generally: pay attention to us!!!
Its a ridiculous feeling, but its an understandable feeling because, America being what America is, it succumbs to chauvinism and so can't resist
teasing and demeaning, and effectively, patronizing the relationship overtly, in effect creating in Canadians this underlying, annoying, and for some,
very difficult to acknowledge, insecurity about ourselves in relationship to America. It's really a silly thing to think, but nevertheless teasing of
the sort you'd see on American television and movies of Canadians, and even Canadians to themselves (SCTV) will produce a counter-effect and the
counter effect for most people who are "interested" in the subject will usually be heavy on the reactive side.
I know there will be Canadians who deny feeling this way, but I don't buy it. If you don't see it, you're probably just trying to hide it from
yourself; on the other hand, you can be aware of a feeling and refuse to enact it; therefore I see how silly and ridiculous it is to think in terms of
'me" or my canadianness with regard to other human beings living in a country south of me on the same Continent stolen from native people by white
This whole topic might sound almost loony because it may just be random and chance, and there may be no dynamical influence between
the collective self awareness of being from "this city", and so being influenced by the local lore and politics of sports teams, and the performance
of those sports teams.
I know both Bostonians and Torontonians love their sports teams equally. But one of them exists in a relationship of frustration while the other has
experienced success after success.
I don't know, I guess I find that interesting. How "sports", seemingly such a trivial thing, can yet contribute in some way to our self-identity,
even in contributing to experiences of ourselves as being people who have sports teams who keep sucking. While other people have the opposite
experience, perhaps giving them an edge as people in some non-related domain. The New England area, for example, is privileged with higher education
institutions like Harvard, Yale and MIT. I'm not saying Toronto has bad higher education institutions, UofT is usually ranked in the top 20
worldwide, but it is not in the same category as Harvard, Yale, or MIT, which are consistently at the top of the list.
LA has hollywood, and New York has its financial and business clout; Chicago is more in the middle, financially relevant with important museums and
Toronto has...the hockey hall of fame? A strong financial market, obviously the financial center of Canada, but relative to New York and Chicago
Toronto is out of it's league.
This way of thinking about ourselves as people from certain cities - and the "collective ego" that it produces - seems to mire our minds in a way of
being that conforms with the relational "status" of the relationships they develop.
This theory would be plausible were it not for Detroit and its successes. Since 2000, the Detroit Pistons won 2 championships and the Detroit Red
Wings won 2 championships, not including the 2 they won in the late 90's. The Detroit Tigers have lost in 2 world series. Though just being in one is
Whether or not there are relationships between a cultural "self concept" and the way its teams play is up to debate, but there is still nevertheless
a fascinating situation in sports, where one city wins so much more than another city.