Even the Losers


For those of us who regularly follow sports and have specific teams that we always root for, a big loss can be very tough to take. As a lifelong fan of the Atlanta Braves, a 25 (plus) year fan of the Georgia Bulldogs and a former season ticket holder for the Atlanta Falcons, I know this as well as anyone.

This past December, my Georgia Bulldogs lost a heartbreakingly close Southeastern Conference Championship Game [SECCG] to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Here’s some of what I posted on Twitter after that loss:

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Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 3.52.45 PMI went in search of those tweets after seeing how fans of the Seattle Seahawks were conducting themselves on Twitter after their team lost to the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday’s NFC Divisional Playoff Game. While not happy about some of what the Seahawks fans were tweeting, I was fairly certain that when Georgia lost the SECCG that I had probably expressed my disappointment, heartbreak (and bitterness) in a similar manner. After re-reading my Twitter feed from December 1st-December 2nd, and after going through many of the tweets that were posted under the hashtag: Seahawks, I’ve come up with a theory.

And here it is:

The Five Stages of Grief, though originally identified by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as pertaining specifically to death and dying, can be applied to almost every type of meaningful loss that we experience in life–including those that relate to sports.

And to illustrate my point, I’ve *curated a collection of tweets from Seahawks fans that were posted in the period immediately following their team’s loss up until almost 24 hours later. I am not trying to pick on the Seattle fans–not at all. They are famously known for their role as the “12th Man,” so I thought that their post-loss behavior would make an excellent case study.

Stage 1: Denial.

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Stage 2: Anger.

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Stage 3: Bargaining.

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Stage 4: Depression.

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Stage 5: Acceptance.

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 1.43.40 PMAnd because this is my blog (and my social experiment), I am going to add a sixth stage: Grace.

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How do you handle it when your favorite team loses a big (or little) game?

*All of the tweets that I’ve shared here were posted publicly on Twitter.

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