One of the most wonderful things about sports is just when you think you've seen it all something amazing happens you've never seen before. I thought I'd seen a team choke and fall apart in every way possible, but the Toronto Maple Leafs proved me wrong last night. The Leafs gave up 3 goals in the 3rd period and 2 goals in the final 90 seconds of regulation in their 5-4 loss to the Boston Bruins in overtime. You don't have to be a die hard hockey fan to realize that should never happen in a playoff game. Although the Bruins are the defending Stanley Cup Champions (you never underestimate the heart of a champion) this has got to be one of the greatest comebacks in the history of team sports.
I watched Portland blow a 12 point lead in the 4th quarter against the Lakers (I was on the Laker side of that debacle), Bill Buckner let a ball go between his legs (I was on the Mets side of that debacle), and Reggie Miller score 8 points in 6 seconds against the Knicks (I was indifferent about the outcome), but I've never seen anything quite like this. Individual collapses are hard to quantify so you have to exclude those (Greg Norman at the Masters) and closers and kickers are infamous for ruining people's lives so Scott Norwood and Jose Mesa are off the hook. The Maple Leafs collapse is probably the worst I've seen in the last 25 years.
I wonder how the work day is going in Toronto. Is everybody in a grumpy mood? Did everyone call in sick? Can the Maple Leaf fans be consoled in any way, shape, form, or fashion? As a die hard sports fan I can only imagine the emotions these guys are going through. It will be difficult (if not impossible) to pick up the pieces and move forward. Fans take these losses hard and looking on the bright side just isn't an option when your heart has been ripped out of your chest. When the Sonics lost in 94' it took me 2 full years to recover. It may take the fans in Toronto even longer to get over this. Sports is not life, but the outcome of a game can certainly effect how you approach it. Time heals all things, but the Maple Leaf loss will linger with Toronto fans for a while. If you know any Maple Leaf fans send them a get well soon card. It's the right thing to do.