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The Super Bowl Can Mean Super Grief for Some Fans

January 30, 2018

For Super Bowl 52, almost half of all televisions in the U.S. were tuned to the Super Bowl, the most watched sporting event in the country.

In New England, home to many devout Patriots fans (and some fanatics), the game likely evoked a range of emotions following the team’s 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

But is it normal to experience strong feelings when your team loses? According to Natchaug Hospital’s Carrie Pichie, PhD, the answer is yes.

“Being a loyal fan of a team can make one feel like they are part of something larger, almost like a family,” Pichie said. “As a result, it’s normal to experience emotions with winning and losing and even personalize it. Humans are competitive by nature and have a strong desire to win and be the best.”

Fans should be ready to cope with the range of emotions they might experience, said Pichie, especially those associated with losing – irritability, anger, disappointment, helplessness or even depression.

“If your team loses, it’s important to take your mind off the game so you don’t dwell on it,” Pichie said. “Shut the TV off to avoid the post-game celebrations. Do something unrelated, maybe something calming or physical. And most importantly, stay optimistic – there’s always another game to look forward to.”

Pichie warned that fans should be wary of the effects that gambling, alcohol or taunting behavior can have on emotions.

“These types of external factors exacerbate feelings about a sports team losing and can lead to more extreme reactions because it makes things more personal,” Pichie said.

Most important, keep good perspective, says Pichie.

“Losing is a part of sports that you don’t have control over. Be a loyal fan and find a way to keep supporting your team in a positive way.”

For more information about programs and services available at Natchaug Hospital, click here.