The Ladies… on Losing

Photo: Elsa/Getty Images

With the notable exceptions of Maggie and Mr. Buffalita (a Giants fan), last weekend’s football games were not particularly fun for the Ladies. After experiencing a bar full of Saints fans taking a metaphorical knife to the gut, I found myself in a philosophical discussion with my boyfriend about what type of loss was worse, as a fan: a heartbreaking last minute loss like the Saints to the 49ers, or a thorough stomping such as the one the Broncos received from the Patriots? Some thoughts, including suggestions on how to soothe the wounded sports fan soul, after the jump.

My opinion, that the close losses are preferable to total disaster, appears to be in the minority.  As awful as the immediate aftermath of close losses are, I find that with time I can gain a certain amount of perspective I never get when my team embarrasses itself.  OU losing to Boise State in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl still makes me wince, but I can now acknowledge that it was a great game and a gusty call, whereas I’m still trying to pretend the 2004 World Series and 2005 BCS title game didn’t happen.

As I said, the other Ladies (not to mention my boyfriend), feel differently. A sampling of opinions:

Lady Bee:

Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

I’m so used to the Leafs not making the postseason that I’ve already started concentrating on baseball by March. I’ve been surprisingly OK with any Yankees postseason defeat – I’m usually OK after a glass of wine, an hour of feeling sorry for myself, responding to sympathetic or mocking Facebook posts, and getting a good night’s sleep (which I usually lack in October). And then I wake up all optimistic about the Leafs again. It’s like full circle!
Football postseason losses are more difficult to deal with – the work of an entire season hangs in the balance of one game, not a Best-of-Seven series. And once it’s over, the Leafs are usually in 9th place by then and I’m in Favourite Awesome Teams Withdrawal until Opening Day. The Packers loss last Sunday saddened me greatly, but I was able to handle it mostly because they weren’t…playing…all that well. It was different in 1998 when the Pack lost to the 49ers on the final drive in the dying 90 seconds on the 4th – the first time sports caused me to literally burst into big baby tears. Stupid Steve Young. It really is more devastating when a win completely slips through your fingers in the final minutes, then watching a train wreck over four quarters. Because at that point you can’t wait for it to be over.
Buffalita: 
Honestly I’m finding myself a little torn on that question, and obviously I have plenty of experience being a Bills fan.  The 1 point loss in the 1990 Super Bowl against the Giants really wrenches on the heartstrings of any Bills fan, just because we knew how close they were after working so hard and to have it all come down to a wide right field goal feels so much more heartbreaking than a loss of, say, 20-10.  However, the 1992 Super Bowl against the Cowboys was so embarrassing (52-17) that it almost felt worse knowing that they never stood a chance and weren’t thisclose to a win like in 1990. So I guess my final answer is I’d prefer a wide margin loss and suffer shame and embarrassment over a close loss.  Even though the latter means my team was closer and (hopefully) played better, the feeling of a close defeat hurts much more than a blowout loss. And I have 22 years of resentment and anger to prove that. Same goes for the stupid Music City Miracle. That shit took place on my 14th birthday.

Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Of course, all losses suck in the first 24-48 hours after they happen.  So what’s a girl to do to decompress?  I tend towards junk food and the silliest thing available on Netflix (I recommend The Detonators if you are in the mood to watch things blow up.)  The other Ladies volunteered their own coping strategies, as well:

Bee: Last Sunday night, after fast-forwarding through the Giants taking the first knee (I was on tape delay as I needed to put Youngest Bee to bed) I poured a glass of wine, pouted for half an hour, then remembered the Drunky Oscars were on, snarled about it on Twitter and tried to convince Maggiesox to help me take down Stacy Keibler with a wrestling move. Seeing George Clooney on TV makes everything better.

CuteSports: Counting the days to Spring Training.

Buffalita: My current favorite way to kill time and get super easy laughs is the pophangover network, starting with http://damnyouautocorrect.com/ , followed by the related Wrong Number Texts and Parents Shouldnt Text. Seriously, I’ve killed like 2 hours on those stupid sites in a sitting.

Maggie: I usually just disconnect from the Internet for a while. In fact, that’s how I got in my habit of watching BBC melodramz when I’m sick and miserable: I just want to watch something that only a very specialized few people want to talk about with me and that I won’t accidentally run into sports coverage while researching, and  I don’t have to read crowing about how funny it was to watch the Red Sox blow it If I’m watching Mr. Darcy climb out of a pond. 2003? The Red Sox lost? Pride and Prejudice. 2009, the Phillies lose? North and South. 2010, the Sox blow it in spectacular fashion? HELLOOOOOO, Downton Abbey.

Look, it’s ridiculous, but it works. Try it next time. I swear by that.

Photo: Reuters/Joe Giza

What do you think is the worst way to lose?  And what gets you through when it does?

2 thoughts on “The Ladies… on Losing

  1. CuteSports: Counting the days to Spring Training.

    Amen.

    That said, I am wild about baseball and am a passionate Phillies fan and the Phillies loss this past season knocked me out for about a week. Couldn’t watch the WS; too painful. I spent a lot of time on FB in my Phans group and we all consoled each other. Some of us got together for drinks. No kidding. So I hoped football would help fill the void a little bit. But I am nowhere near as dedicated to football as to baseball. I consider myself an Eagles fan. But I like some other teams, too.

    HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Eagles S U C K E D! Seriously, I spent Sunday afternoons reading Host Stove and trade rumors and some darn funny baseball blogs. I went shopping.

    I met Aaron Rodgers in Philly last year. He was hot AND a class act. I decided to root for the Pack.

    So they lost. It was quite shocking.

    I like the Saints too, and, oh hell! Look, everything has been a big fat bust since October as far as this girl is concerned.

    30 Days, 3 hours, 41 minutes and 12 seconds to Pitchers and Catchers report.

  2. I should have spent more time with my answer instead of giving a smart ass one.

    So remember how I was bragging about how great it was to be a Wisconsin sports fan this year? The thing is, other than the Super Bowl last year, all those seasons actually ended badly. The Badgers have lost two Rose Bowls, the Brewers lost the NLCS to the dreaded Cardinals and the Packers failed miserably this year. Sure, it was great all those teams got as far as they did, but for the most part, there was a lot of disappointment involved.

    I’m torn as to which way I’d prefer to lose. That Packer game last week was just brutal. We sat here watching as it just got worse and worse. We pulled out our laptops to distract us, but we couldn’t turn it off and it was like dagger after dagger as they let it slip away. It was so depressing. In the third quarter my bf kept mumbling “we’re going to lose.” The pain of that kind of loss is drawn out over a few hours and that can be really rough.

    At least a close loss doesn’t drag out. I’m not sure the pain is any worse – it’s just bundled into a few moments of acuteness versus the drawn out nature of the slow loss.

    I guess that doesn’t make any sense, and the moral is that losing sucks either way. When you’re invested as much as we are, I’m not sure it really matters. You’re going to carry that loss with you for awhile no matter how it occurred.

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