This picture is from September 2016. And this one is interesting…
If you ask me how it started, I don’t actually remember. At all. All I know is now I’m here, and I weirdly know more about the Leafs’ organization than I know about the Pens’. Yes. I know. I am a Penguins fan through and through, but somehow I know more about the Leafs.
When I say somehow…I know why. I just don’t remember how.
If you had to ask me and wouldn’t take, “I don’t know,” with a shrug for an answer, I would say it’s due to Tumblr. But I’m not even sure about that. Actually, now that I think about it, it is due to Tumblr. I was scrolling through one day, and saw some post about a guy sitting in a blue room with a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey on, yelling about the Leafs. I didn’t know who the guy was, but I clicked through on the link, and was brought to a YouTube channel I knew nothing about. All I knew is I found the source of the yelling Leafs guy. His name is Steve “Dangle” and he makes a video after every single Leafs game, called “LFR”s (“Leafs Fan Reaction”). I didn’t know anything about the Leafs, but I did know that the videos were highly entertaining.
So, I started watching them.
Again, I didn’t know anything about the Leafs, nor did I really care about them, but I did know that Steve was incredibly passionate about them, and that was sort of addicting. Also, interestingly enough, Steve had made a career out of yelling about the Leafs.
Soon after I started watching his videos, there was a different kind of video posted. In this video, there was another guy in the room with Steve. They were both holding microphones, and introduced themselves as cohosts of the Steve Dangle Podcast. I was in awe. These guys have a podcast?! How am I not a subscriber, and how do I not listen to every single show they record? I decided to remedy that situation and subscribed on the spot.
As I started listening to the show, I realized just how funny Steve and Adam, the other guy from the video, are. They are joined by their producer, Jesse, who is also hilarious. They talk about hockey, their jobs, their lives, pop culture, life in Toronto, a lot of Pokemon, and occasionally, the Leafs. They have a tendency to wander sometimes, and it is always hilarious. Adam usually makes bad jokes, and Steve and Jesse make fun of him for it. Constantly. Steve routinely forgets things and conversations, and Adam and Jesse make fun of him for it. Constantly. Jesse always sounds like he is just barely putting up with Steve and Adam being, well, Steve and Adam, and Steve and Adam make fun of him for it. Constantly. It’s really just a good time, every single episode. It honestly feels like I’m not listening to a podcast, it just feels like I’m hanging out with 3 of my best friends. I’d like to think that if I met the three of them in not-podcast life, I would be friends with them. They’ve taught me a lot more than I ever would have realized about not only the Leafs, but also hockey, and how complicated and intertwined every single piece of a hockey organization is.
They’ve also changed the way I speak, and some of the jokes I make. If I ever say something is, “GOOFY AND STUPID,” it’s because of the podcast. If I ever comment about being a Fancy Man, it’s because of the podcast. If I ever say, “Oh Adam,” after a really bad joke is made, it’s because of the podcast. If I ever yell, “THIS TEAM IS RUINING MY LIFE,” that’s actually because of the LFRs, but same vein. They have changed my sense of humor and have heightened my hockey sense. It’s so great. I know this all seems very weird, me feeling like I’m best friends with a bunch of dudes I don’t know, but they’ve become part of my routine, part of my life. I really do listen to every single episode of the podcast.
Anyway. None of this has to do with the man in this picture, but it is lead-up to this picture. The man in this picture is Mike Babcock. He used to coach the Detroit Red Wings, but a few years ago, in the ultimate move of hockey wizardry, the Toronto Maple Leafs, who were NOT good and desperately needed, among other things, a new coach, snatched up Babcock. It was a glorious day on the podcast, the guys were so excited for the upcoming seasons with Babcock behind the bench. I was so excited for not only them, but for the Leafs, who all of a sudden became more interesting to pay attention to.
Mike Babcock has a very…interesting way of talking. It’s kind of impossible to describe without hearing it. He definitely sounds Canadian, and he definitely sounds like a hockey player. His way of speaking has become a bit of a thing to joke about on the podcast. If anything, he is a good quote, regardless of how he sounds, but it is always more fun to read his quotes with his voice in mind. Steve in particular has a lot of fun with the Babcock voice. The guys will make him do his impression most of the times he talks about Babcock, and it’s so funny. Every. Single. Time. One word that is especially funny in the Babcock impression is the word, “opportunity”. On the podcast, wherever possible, when the guys can say the word, “opportunity”, they do, in their best Babcock voice. It’s never not funny.
This past summer, Babcock coached the Canadian team at the World Cup of Hockey. While I was watching a game, the camera stopped on Babcock, looking out on the ice, contemplating his next move. I saw it and immediately heard in my head, “Opportunity.” I laughed out loud, thinking about hilarious I thought it was, even though it probably wasn’t, grabbed the remote, paused the television, took this picture, and sent it off to one of my friends who I roped into listening to the podcast and watching Steve’s LFRs.
It was, after all, the perfect Opportunity to do so.