If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.
- Henry David Thoreau
There is an eleven-year-old girl to whom I look up. Her name is Keila Penner, and she lives in Lachine, Quebec, a fifteen minute drive from Montreal. Penner is a fan of the Ottawa Senators, which is somewhat uncommon, considering that the franchise has only been around since 1992, and she lives near Montreal where the Canadiens play hockey. Les Habitants have been a professional hockey franchise since 1909, and have won the Stanley Cup 24 times, which is more than any other team.
Outsiders often compare Montreal’s devotion to Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge to a religion, but there is no denomination of followers so fervently aligned, while simultaneously critical and suspicious of every edict that comes to be promoted as truth. La Sainte-Flanelle are more like a sometimes-benevolent dictatorship of culture. After all, there is no blind faith in the team, fans demand to see evidence instead of trusting in the unseen. However, there is uniformity in the following.
Or, at least assumed uniformity.
With the Canadiens and Senators set to battle in a first round playoff battle, Penner’s school decided to hold a “Habs Day” event in which students were encouraged to dress in the local hockey team’s gear. Not only did Penner wear a Senators jersey to school that day, she refused to take it off when confronted by teachers. She was, in turn, sent home by the school.