Big Billy – True blue hockey fans

The jig’s up, so I might as well let yis know I got a secret weapon that pretty much guarantees the Leafs are gonna win the Cup.

Now, there’s a few different kinds of hockey fans. The vast majority are prollly fellas that Big BIllyjust like to watch the game once in a while, maybe have a couple of beer and a few laughs with their friends. In this category I’d put somebody like my cousin Brad. If you invite him somewhere to watch a game, he’s happy to come along. He’ll tell ya his favourite team is the Canadiens, and he even got a red hat with the logo on it. But that’s about as much as he knows about hockey.

Then at the next level, there’s fellas that used to be a big fan years ago but don’t really follow it that close anymore. Take my buddy Tommy, for example. Now when he was a younger fella, he was way into the Maple Leafs, but like everybody, ya get married and have kids and before ya know it, yer not into anything the way ya used to be. And of course, ya can spot fellas like this a mile away because they’re always sayin’ – Hockey ain’t what it used to be.

We’ll be watchin’ a game and some young fellas will zip along the ice handlin’ the puck all slick and everything else and ya just know at some point Tommy’s gonna say – Yeah, he’s good, but Darryl Sittler could skate circles around him in sneakers.

Then ya got fellas like Murph, who wouldn’t really care that much about the hockey if they didn’t have ten or fifteen bets on the go with people. They’re the toughest to watch games with, because from one week to the next, ya never know who they’re gonna cheer for.

We were watchin’ a game one week there and Murph was jumpin’ up and down like he won the lottery because the Canucks were winnin’. The next week we were down the Legion watchin’ the game and the Canucks were winnin’ again. Murph was tippin’ them back pretty good that night she wasn’t keepin’ track of the score that close. So Cyril says to him – 3-0 Canucks, you must be pretty happy about that, eh, Murph? That’s when Murph looked up at the screen, banged his fist on the table, took off his work boot and threw it at the TV. We found out later on, he bet against them that time so he owed somebody a dozen lobster. A fan like Murph is only as loyal as his last bet.

Then ya got fellas like Timmy. He’s a wiry, skinny fella who never played hockey in his life, but he knows every bit of trivia there is to know about the Boston Bruins. Every trade, every draft pick, every stat there is, Timmy got it stored away up there somewhere. I swear to cripes, if you said to him – what kind of underwear did Paul Henderson have on when he scored the winning goal in 1972? He’d probably say – blue Fruit of the Looms, medium, bought them at the K-Mart in Peterborough, on sale, three pairs for $4.

Anyways, that brings me to me. I’m the type of fan that follows the team close enough to want to watch Hockey Night in Canada every week and yell at the TV when things aren’t goin’ good, and jump out of my chair yellin’ when they score a big goal.

I know it’s just a game, but it’s one of the things that don’t change in life – ya know what I mean? No matter what kind of day ya had, or how much money ya don’t got to pay the bills, or how mad the wife is at ya for somethin’, it’s good to know you can always turn on the TV on Saturday night and cheer for them blue and white jerseys.

Now I know I tell yis all the time about when me and the fellas get together to watch hockey, and there’s usually a buncha cases of beer and somebody gets rowdy and the wifes are all mad at us for a few days afterwards. But most of the hockey I watch, I watch it by myself at home, and there’s nothin’ too special about it.

Of course, if you’re the only one in the house watchin’ the game, yellin’ at the TV about a stupid penalty or howlin’ like crazy when they score a big goal, everybody else ya live with starts to think you’re crazy. And Minnie and the kids all know, if I’m watchin’ hockey and they don’t want to listen to me goin’ on about the game, they just leave me alone.

But there was one night there a while back where I was watchin’ the game after I ate about five salami sandwiches and a bag of chips, so I was startin’ to fall asleep. Rosie was sittin’ on the couch paintin’ her fingernails.

Anyways, I wake up a few hours after the game ends and there I am with one sock off and my big toenail painted blue.

Holy cripes, I was some wild. I guess Rosie wanted to watch somethin’ and I was keepin’ her from it, so when I feel asleep she took my sock off and painted the big toenail on my right foot. But ya know somethin’? It turned out the Leafs won that night. And the next night. And then they won their next game a few nights later.

Now, hockey fans are a pretty suspicious bunch. So, needless to say, before the Leafs’ first playoff game I snuck into Rosie’s room to steal some more nail polish.

Imagine what a hard time I had tryin’ to explain all this to Minnie when she walked in on me sittin’ on the bed, paintin’ my toenail.

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