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Cornered Coach: A Discourse on "Dart Guy"


I can't relate to "Dart Guy."

For one thing, I'm a non-smoker.

And for another thing, as a long-time member of the media, I've been trained to be nonpartisan when it comes to professional sports.

In case you haven't been residing on the planet lately or at least living in Leafs Nation, "Dart Guy" is the new face of the Toronto Maple Leafs. With a painted mug that would make David Puddy of "Seinfeld" fame proud and an unlit smoke dangling from his lips, "Dart Guy" looks like a blue and white cross between a "Braveheart" warrior and "The Marlboro Man.”

What makes seemingly sane folks go completely goofy when it comes to cheering for their favourite team?

It's a question I've often pondered.

A lot of people will tell you that the most fantastic moment of their life occurred when their children were born. However when little Johnny or Joanie pops out, you rarely see the proud papa rushing around the delivery room ringing a cow bell and chest bumping the attending physician. But when Auston Matthews scores a big playoff goal – a teenage kid from Arizona most Toronto fans have never even met – the crazed creatures that inhabit Maple Leaf Square start leaping up and down and screaming as if they've been poked in the rear by an electric cattle prod… a fine, quality Bell or Rogers product, no doubt.

A chunk of me admires their unbridled passion, even if I don't quite get it.

Does  the "super fan" routine give people a sense of community -– linking them to other face-painting zealots?

Or perhaps it makes a person feel as if they stand out from the crowd – another example of the "selfie" generation we now live in.

Maybe it's a way of escaping the humdrum "get up, go to work, go home" pattern that can absolutely numb your mind.

Or there could be an even larger escape method at work here – and all you have to do is watch the nightly horror of the six o'clock news to understand what I'm talking about.

The fact is, all of the above probably holds some water when it comes to trying to understand what makes people get so goofy over their favourite team.

But, hey!

A little goofiness, enthusiasm and fun never hurt anyone and we could probably all benefit from a passionate push in our everyday lives.

In fact, the next time our wives push out one of those beloved little rug rats maybe we should rent "Dart Guy" for the day and get him to welcome the kid into the world in style. 

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