Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bob Lobel: Dealing With Sports Disappointments

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

Folks that follow professional sports teams and identify their lives as good or bad depending on the success of those teams need therapy in a big way. 

The success or failure of these teams is too precocious to attach any real significance to their fate. I suppose in shrink speak this might be called  “insecurity attachment.” Like, we need some medical marijuana to pull us out of a losing streak, or at least take our mind and put it somewhere else. 

This is not a personal recommendation. 

I’m in the business of identification. However you want to deal with your personal “insecurity attachment” is your business.  Give credit to our politicians for recognizing a way out of the disappointment of having heroes from a year ago turn into alien stumble and bumble beings, dressed in the laundry we root for. 

I was going to write this week on the disappointments we have had to deal with and rank them in some order. Too difficult. Where would you put the Bruins in comparison to the Patriots, and how would each of those fare against the Red Sox  of the moment? 

Getting personal, it seems grossly unfair to bring up Aaron Hernandez. Not unfair to him, but unfair to anyone you might want to compare him to.

Lets talk about players who have been disappointing. Marchand was a disappointment, Buckholtz has been a disappointment, Gronk as well, and there are plenty of others.  Some were incredible heroes in the past 12 months, and some have become angels that fell to Earth.

Dealing with this emotional upheaval in a sane manner and without “insecurity attachment”  is identified as being a real fan. These are not the “fair weather” or “pink hat” garden variety.  It would be much healthier if we all were the latter. Seriously. Really. 

The burdens of social media and all that goes into the statistical evaluation of any given sport is not worth the attention it demands. The problem is we all can’t win all the time. That is a concept that seems to be impossible to embrace. 

Try this to make you feel better- I am not a doctor so I cant write some script, but I can offer the following that will benefit a particular sport  and keep our sanity at the same time; World Cup soccer and the American Dream that the USA will someday win it.

Not possible. 

Seriously. Really. It’s not going to happen. Ever.  Oh sure, we can host our own tournament and not invite any other nation. Anybody could do that. But no.  The first tipoff on this fiasco is to recognize that most of these matches are claimed to be part of “The Big Fix.”

The other surefire tip is that when the USA is put in a group every four years, it’s called the “group of death.” The US may get to round two for TV’s sake, but the fans are not stupid. They know there is no shot of ever winning in our lifetime, or even in the lifetimes of generations to come. 

Think of the international indignation of America winning a World Cup… Just not worth it if it means the rest of the world would hate us more than they do now.  

Time to get a grip on the way we handle these sports disappointments that seem to control how we think about our self worth.  The time has come for sports psychologists to be less about the players’ performance and more about the fans reaction to it.

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