When your team loses a game, there are many different reactions. These reactions often depend on when the game occurred, i.e. early or late in the season; the importance of the game (regular season or playoffs); and the success of your team – are they a team that loses more often than they win, or a team that rarely loses?
I dealt with a loss on Sunday, when the Patriots embarrassingly gave up a 21-0 lead to the, admittedly, up-and-coming Bills. I went through the typical stages as the lead was squandered:
1. Denial: There is no way the unshakeable Tom Brady threw four interceptions in one game! They’ll come back!
2. Anger: How could the mighty Patriots give up 369 passing yards to the Bills? Where the heck was the defense?!
3. Bargaining: OK Tom, you threw four interceptions – you can make up for it with a few out-of-this-world big plays!
4. Depression: The Bills?! They are losing to the BILLS, a team they’ve beaten 15 times in a row, and 20 of the last 21 games. This is it; the season is all downhill from here…
5. Acceptance: It’s just one game. They’re a god – a very good – team. Maybe this loss will be a good thing, a wake up call: the defense needs to step up and stop allowing more first downs than any other team in the league, and the receivers and tight ends need to be in the right position to make plays. Oh, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis? Time to start running for gains, OK? Thanks.
For fans of teams like the Patriots, the Jets or the Texans, we are still optimistic. We can swallow this week’s loss and hope it’s one of the few this season; we are confident enough that we believe this is just an early-season blip on the radar, and we still expect a successful season.
Then there are fans of teams like the Minnesota Vikings or the Seattle Seahawks, who are starting to see the writing on the wall: that this is going to be a long season full of losses and disappointment.
What do you do if you fall into this category? You have a few options: If you have a rival, you put your energy into cheering against them – this is made worse when your rival, such as the Green Bay Packers for Vikings fans, is very good. If that isn’t working for you, throw your time and energy into your fantasy team. Don’t have a fantasy team? Well, then hopefully you have another sport you can look forward to. I hope for your sake it’s not an NBA team, because the 2011-2012 season isn’t looking too good.
No rival to cheer against, no fantasy team and no college football, baseball or NHL team to cheer for? Well either hope for a miraculous turn-around, or accept that this is going to a season with many downs and few ups. Maybe you can take the opportunity to spend Sundays with your family – remember when you used to do that?