When Your Favorite Team Loses
How do you handle it when your favorite team loses? I’m a big sports fan and I have a number of favorite teams. Generally, Americans are huge sports fans, so this works for a good part of the fandom across this great country.
Americans love the National Football League. It is one of the highest rated sports on television. An entire network is built around a sport that has a six-month season. This past weekend was the second round of playoffs. Eight teams were reduced to four, so half of the fans are very sad today. I happen to be one of the “very sad”.
My team is the Green Bay Packers. Even though I now live in the Virginia Piedmont, my favorite NFL team is “The Pack”. I moved to Wisconsin in 1982 and by 1983 I was hooked. Of course, living in Wisconsin makes it almost mandatory that you be a Packer fan. On Sundays, the entire state (except for Bear and Viking fans around the edges) dons green and gold to cheer on their team.
The Packers are the only team in any major league sport in America that is literally owned by the fans. At selected times, you can buy stock in the time. There are no perks and no dividends, just knowing that you’re supporting your favorite team.
Green Bay on Game Day or Game Night is a ghost town. The streets are empty. Everyone is watching the game. Late morning church services are cancelled. Community events are postponed. My guess is that elective surgeries are even put off.
Yesterday, was the Packers first game in this year’s playoffs. Unfortunately, it was also their last. They lost to the New York Giants 37-20 in a game that the Pack literally fumbled away. Understand that the Packers were 15-1 during the regular season while the Giants were 9-7. All true Packers’ fans envisioned a rout with quarterback Aaron Rodgers throwing three or four touchdowns.
Someone forgot to tell the Giants that they were sacrificial lambs. The Giants took advantage of every mistake that the Packers. Consequently, today there is no joy in Green Bay or anywhere else in the Packer Nation.
I go through a variety of emotions during and after a game. I’m usually incensed with the team’s mistakes during the game. I’ll yell at the screen as if they can hear me all the way at Lambeau Field. After I while when defeat appears inevitable, I’ll turn off the television. But I can’t stay away. I’m hoping against hope. I followed the game on my computer while I worked on other things. It didn’t help. Defeat was inevitable once the Giants got to 30-13.
After the game, a true fan will analyze the game and the reasons for defeat. Blame must be assigned and victims must be punished. In the case of Green Bay, the defense was not very good this year. Changes need to be made, up to and including firing the defensive coordinator. New players will be needed, either through the draft or by free agency.
Finally, every true fan eventually accepts defeat with one proviso: “There’s always next year.”
About Richard Billies