As a sports fan, you are familiar with the saying “You win some and you lose some.” But even though we know we can’t win them all, watching your favorite team lose can be tough to handle, especially when they lose repeatedly.
If you’ve been following me, you know that I am a lifelong Green Bay Packers fan. I take a great deal of pride in their wins, and suffer bitter disappointment when they lose. I’ve been spoiled by a very successful team over the years, and I realize that their continuing struggles this year are not the worst thing that could happen in my life.
But with the loss to Washington on Sunday night, my Packers are now 4 and 6. With the chances of making the playoffs slipping away, I am finding myself dealing with a bit of depression. I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, but I feel it in my heart when they lose!
Losing is part of sports, and no team wins every game or has winning seasons every year. We all have to face a losing team sometimes, so I’ve pulled together some ways to cope when your team is having a string of lost games or even a losing season:
#1 – Let it out
For many of us, the performance of our favorite team actually affects our emotions. We can’t pretend that losing doesn’t make us upset or disappointed. So give yourself a chance to vent a little! Call friends or family members who are also fans, and take turns letting off steam.
Suffering is better with friends than alone.
#2 – Get some exercise
Physical activity is a great way to work off the stress and frustration. Get outside for a short walk or a quick jog. Or hit the gym or home treadmill for a good sweat fest.
This one always works for me. Just getting some fresh air goes a long way in making me realize that I don’t need to be getting myself so worked up over the result of a game.
#3 – Find something to distract you
Find an activity to take your mind off of the team. Read a book, cook something, or watch a good movie. Just try to be sure that it is NOT sports related!
If you love video games, having another go at the game might just help you. Set up the game they just lost and set the difficulty on easy to help you get the result you wanted to see. Pounding on your opponents will have you feeling better in no time!
#4 – Eat something
Food can make you feel better. Certain foods like mac and cheese or a good beef stew are called comfort foods because they often bring back pleasant memories and make us feel good. You’ll be distracted while you do the cooking, and the wonderful smells are sure to have you feeling better before you even take the first bite.
My comfort food of choice is chocolate, and I opt for a piece of dark chocolate to make it a little healthier (and because I love the slight bitterness of dark chocolate).
#5 – Remember the good times
Think about the fun you’ve had tailgating or with friends and family during a game day party at home. Those special memories are sure to put a smile on your face.
If you are lucky enough to have a highlights or greatest moments DVD, pull it out and watch it to be reminded of a past championship, the greatest plays in the team’s history, or that come from behind win that all fans love to talk about. We have several of these DVDs at our house, and I think they’ll be getting some heavy use the rest of this season!
#6 – Choose a back-up team or sport
I suffered through some pretty tough years with the Packers of the 70’s and 80’s, so I learned at a young age that it helps to have a “back-up” team to cheer for. My grandparents lived in Pittsburgh, so I adopted their Steelers as my second team and cheered for them unless they happened to be playing the Packers.
This year I’m fortunate that my favorite college football team is doing pretty well. I’ve always followed the Wisconsin Badgers, and watching them move up through the top 25 rankings has taken a little of the edge off of the Packers struggles.
#7 – Retail Therapy
This one usually works best for the female sports fan, but if you love to shop, maybe something new featuring your favorite team will lift your spirits. A new scarf or some new jewelry from Team Colors By Carrie can be an inexpensive way to boost your mood.
#8 – Stay loyal to your team
A few losses isn’t enough to drive a true fan away from supporting her team. Sticking it out through the bad times will make future successes that much sweeter.
I continue to wear one of my football jerseys on game day, and put on a favorite team sweatshirt to go out and run errands. When people ask why I’d wear Packers gear when the team is having a losing season, I take the opportunity to tell them that a true fan supports her team in good times and bad. I’m no fair weather fan!
#9 – Adjust your expectations and celebrate the small victories
Let’s say your team is 4 and 6. There would be nothing more exciting than them going on a roll and winning every remaining game to get to 10-6. And while that’s possible, it is highly unlikely.
Instead, take a look at the games remaining on the schedule and determine which ones your team has a realistic chance of winning. If you are thinking that the team could win just 2 more games, it will feel like a major victory if they end the season at .500!
It will also help to find something else to cheer for. Cheer loudly for every touchdown the offense scores, and every stop the defense makes. Celebrate when the team has very few penalties, or when newer players make a play that indicates they might have a bright future.
#10 – Remain optimistic
There is always next week, or next season, and another chance to win. And when things get really bad, remember that a loss can be helpful to the team’s future due to a higher draft pick and a chance to replace under performing players.
Repeat with me that famous motto of the eternal sports optimist: “There’s always next year!”
How is your favorite team doing this year?
Have you had to deal with losing this season? If so, I’d love to hear how you are handling it!
Until next week,
P.S. I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine will be filled with family, food and football!