What to Do When Your Team Loses

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Losses can be painful and can lead to anger. We need look no further back than the previous few weeks to see this. Ohio State losing to Penn State, Nebraska’s defeat at the hands of Wisconsin, Florida State being edged out by Clemson; all of these have induced massive amounts of rage in a nation already torn apart by politics, Halloween, and the World Series.  The fact is, in college football, 50% of teams lose on any given week.

I’ve been a college football fan in general and an Ohio State football fan specifically for 20 years now. If you’ve been a dedicated fan of any team (other than the Harlem Globetrotters) for more than a few years, you’re going to experience a heart-breaking loss every now and then. Some say that the bitter sting of defeat helps us appreciate the sweet taste of triumph more fully, and while it may be true, that sentiment provides very little comfort in the hours after your team blows a 14 point fourth quarter lead against their most hated rivals. Here’s a guide on what to do during those difficult times:

Unplug

One of the first things I’ve learned to do after a loss is turn my phone off. Haters love to hate, and cell phones make it way too easy to be a hater from miles away. Don’t fall for it. Get rid of your phone until tomorrow, turn off the TV so you won’t have to watch 30 game breaks reminding you that your team fumbled a punt with no time left to let the other team score a seemingly impossible touchdown.

Yard Work

Usually one of my least favorite things to do, it can have its advantages when you have extra rage built up you need to vent. College football takes place in the fall, so if you have a yard, there’s a good chance you’ve got some yard work that can be done. Angrily chopping wood while cursing the offensive coordinator may earn you some weird looks from your neighbors, but they’ll keep their judgments to themselves.  No one is going to confront an axe-wielding ball of fury.

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Get Away

After a tough loss, I usually don’t want to speak to another human being for at least a few hours. When Texas beat Ohio State in 2005, I knew I was in no fit shape to talk to other human beings, so I spent the next six days in a national park, living off the land and befriending a family of opossums. The rabies shots were painful, but the friendships formed last a lifetime.  Those opossums and me still keep in touch.

"I call the big one Bitey"
“I call the big one Bitey”
Meditate

Clearing your mind of all thought has many famous proponents, from some guy named Dolly to Def Jam founder Russell Simmons.  It also boasts many benefits, but chief among them is the ability to center oneself, transcend temporary emotions, and realize your place in the universe.  When you see that the entirety of human existence is but a speck of dust compared to the vastness of the cosmos, you’ll have a hard time remaining upset about your squad allowing a 96-yard drive in the fourth quarter.

Play Video Games

I recommend you avoid difficult games (no Dead Souls) and sports games, which can add to your frustration. Play something you are familiar with. Games from the Fallout series are my go-to. The story is engrossing enough to take me to a world where football no longer exists and virtually exploding the heads of a few feral ghouls helps release tension.

Music

Music soothes the savage beast. Put on some relaxing jams to mellow yourself out. Some smooth yacht rock should do the trick, or try some relaxing classical music (no In the Hall of the Mountain King).

Laughter

Unless you work in the medical field, or have even a passing knowledge of human biology, you’ll agree that laughter is the best medicine. Try staying angry while watching Jeff Daniel’s spill his insides in this timeless clip from Dumb and Dumber.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwcVJMvVWDA&w=560&h=315]
See, your anger is already lifting. Now, keep up the laughter with The Jerk, Friday, or my new favorite: The Nice Guys. Seriously, why more people don’t recognize Ryan Gosling as the comedic virtuoso he is is beyond me. Maybe they’re too lost in his eyes to laugh.

Finally

Now, if all that didn’t work, I’m afraid I have only one option left.  Look at photos of kittens.  I know the internet is a place nearly devoid of cat pictures, so here’s one for easy reference:

fletch