College basketball season is right around the corner. So let’s do some math:
Logically, actually following, living and breathing for sports is a futile endeavor. Every year, I watch the NCAA tournament. Every year, my school’s team loses at some point during this tournament. After every loss, I see people around me either throwing angry tantrums or just getting sad. Last year we were sad. I prefer the sadness to the anger, at any point, because it’s better at bonding people together than anger, and you don’t regret it as much afterwards. I’ve never broken a chair out of sadness but I’ve know people who had to purchase a new chair thanks to sports.
After every one of these losses, I am reminded that only around 7 or 8 college basketball teams’ seasons end in a victory - There are around 4 year-end consolation tournaments, each with one champion, and the Ivy League doesn’t play a conference tournament, so a few of the teams in that conference will win their last game against one another. Otherwise, from what I understand, everyone else either loses in a conference tournament or loses in a post-season tournament. This isn’t perfect science, but according to that fuzzy math, there’s a two percent chance that you don’t end your season in tears.
Maybe not in tears. Everyone deals with loss differently. I personally have been criticized for not taking losses hard enough, and I personally have been criticized for being taking them too hard. I think this is because I deal with losing in sports with less anger and more despair. I get, like, comically depressed, melodramatic, I way overdo it because to I don’t feel like sports is worth getting sad about, yet I find myself feeling it anyway, so I’m caught in a weird bind between being disappointed in others and disappointed in myself. When I catch myself actually upset at a game, my mind goes to “oh, I thought I wouldn’t do this” for at least a few seconds before coming back to it. Those are the darkest moments of my sports fandom.
Yet, these are real emotions. I respect that, feeling something with enough intensity that you’re crying by the end of it is so rare. I respect people who don’t feel shame for that, who are free in doing that, because I don’t feel like I am and I wish that I was.
Due to spite for or maybe fear of that, I’ve turned away from following sports (I have written about this before, by the way) how I used to. It just feels like I’ll always be disappointed in some capacity. For others, my advice is this - Try not to let it get to you the way that it gets to me. If you want to be angry, if you want to be sad, do that. I’d hope you keep it under control, of course, but it is so much better to feel something than to hate yourself for feeling something.