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THE MOJ: schadenfreude confuses me, except in the case of Toronto

Concept of Toronto equals Canada not something national networks - or some fans - quite understand
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) battles Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during second half basketball action in Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Oakland, California on Friday, June 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) battles Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) during second half basketball action in Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Oakland, California on Friday, June 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

There was a recent discussion on Twitter regarding schadenfreude – which is defined as the pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune.

The discussion centered around the Toronto Maple Leafs and how some fans were happy to see the Leafs lose 7-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opening game of their Stanley Cup playoff series.

That joy was short-lived however as Toronto has rallied to win three straight games – including two games in overtime in Tampa Bay — to take a commanding 3-1 series lead heading back to Toronto for game five on Thursday.

The whole schadenfreude thing has me confused though.

I understand that some people would love to see the Maple Leafs bounced out of the playoffs as soon as possible.

Personally, I don’t have any issue with the hockey club per se. They play a very entertaining style that I find fun to watch but after covering sports for close to 30 years, you learn to cheer for people and not teams.

That being said, I cheer for individuals like Laurence Gilman, Reid Mitchell, Morgan Rielly, Luke Schenn and Alexander Kerfoot. I’ve dealt with all of them at the rink and/or events and consider all of them quality people.

What irritates me is that our major sports networks such as TSN and Rogers Sportsnet believe that we all bleed blue and constantly shove everything Leafs – and Toronto — down our throat.

Newsflash: the rest of the country isn’t enamoured with the Leafs.

But in a way, can you blame those in Toronto for feeling that way?

After all, any time the Blue Jays or the Raptors go on a run, the rest of the country goes bonkers and everyone in Toronto knows it.

I’ve never jumped on either of those bandwagons.

As big of a baseball fan that I am, I never cheered for the Blue Jays during the Jose Bautista – Josh Donaldson era. I found that team to be extremely arrogant considering the fact that they never really accomplished anything unless you want to count three playoff game wins in a span of four years.

What made it even worse was the glorification of those Jays teams by the Toronto networks. I’d laugh to see how many Kevin Pillar catches they could squeeze into TSN’s “Plays of the Month” or how many different angles of an Edwin Encarnacion home run they could show on Sportsnet Central.

At least this group of Jays is easier to cheer for. Vladdy Guerrero, Bo Bichette and company look like they are having a lot of fun playing the game and that’s the way it should be.

That being said, I was somewhat exuberant in the BMO Field press box last Oct. 8. That was the day the Lions were in Toronto to play the Argos and it was also the same day that the Mariners rallied from an 8-1 deficit to beat the Jays 10-9 and knock Toronto out of the MLB post-season.

Seeing a Toronto team lose, being there while it happened and being able to gloat was like hitting a three-team parlay.

Being a long-time Laker fan – and I mean back to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes and Magic Johnson days – I have never got behind the Raptors either.

Maybe it was because they – much like the Blue Jays – were being forced on you. This whole “Canada’s Team” label is ridiculous. The last time I checked, the jersey’s had “Toronto” on the front – not “Canada”.

Which leads me back to my state of confusion.

You cheer like a lunatic for the Blue Jays and Raptors but you take great satisfaction in watching the Maple Leafs lose?

I’d like that one explained to me seeing how they’re all Toronto teams.

As for me, I think I have it figured out.

My old co-host Don Taylor had what he called the perfect approach when it came to sports wagering.

Bet against your team. If they win, you’re happy despite losing your bet.

If they lose, you can take solace in the fact that you have made a little money.

I have relatively the same approach when it comes to the Leafs these days.

If they win, I take joy in that some good people that I know will have attained success.

If the Leafs lose, well it’s a case of schadenfreude.

Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.

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