March can Truly Drive Us Mad
Updated: Mar 30, 2022
I am not a clinician, but in my personal experience, depression related to sports can be some of the most difficult forms of depression to cope with. Ask my wife how I’ve moped around the house!
As I write this, fans of the St. Peter’s, Miami, Arkansas, and Houston men’s basketball teams have to be extremely disappointed neither the Peacocks, Hurricanes, Razorbacks, or Cougars won this past weekend. To get THAT close to the Final Four, and not make it is tough!
Conversely, fans of their respective vanquishers – North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, and Villanova are feeling giddy!
Part of what makes "sports depression" so tough is the finality of it all. Unlike Major League Baseball and professional basketball, and hockey, in which there is usually the "next day" (unless it's a game 7), certain sports, like NCCA men’s and women’s basketball, and pro football, are "one and done." Win, you move on. Lose, and you have to deal with defeat until next season. Going from rooting for your favorite team week after week, month after month... and then, boom! It's all over for another year! That is TOUGH stuff to take!
Here are a few ideas I've found that can help:
* Remember it's still just a game. Not always an easy one, for sure, but it's still true. Are you gainfully employed? Do you have your health? Great kids? A loving spouse? Take any or all of those away, and a crushing loss, or even a joyous win, is put in its proper perspective.
* If it's LATE in a given sports season, and your team is still playing, remember how fortunate you are that your team is still alive, when most have cleaned out their lockers for the off season. In the case of the Green Bay Packers, while their season ended prematurely with a division-round loss to San Francisco, it marked the third-straight year they made the playoffs after missing the postseason in 2017 and 2018. Regardless of the season or sports, many teams go YEARS without earning a postseason berth.
Keep things in perspective. Not always easy! But it can help.
* If your team loses, it's not so bad if you are down in the dumps for a day or two. If you are extremely depressed long after that, you "may" need psychiatric help. Some additional tips are offered at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-game/201811/combating-depression-and-anxiety-in-sports
I hope your team wins!