You could feel the collective WNY community holding its breath Sunday night during the last 13 seconds. And if I have to describe what I mean by 13 seconds, well, you’re not a Buffalo Bills fan.
This region takes its football – and its Buffalo Bills – seriously. Very seriously. It’s not just the smokin’ hot Bills of the past few seasons, who are humble and hungry and trust the process. It’s the legacy beyond the four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl back in the ‘90s. It goes back to the ‘60s when the AFL its scrappy teams playing in places like our War Memorial, now the Johnnie B. Wiley Sports Pavilion on Buffalo’s east side. There’s lots of love and loyalty for the Buffalo Bills and the team’s legions of fans.
The 12th Man, the Bills Mafia, the incredibly committed fan base that swaths the community in blue and red for every game day is present to celebrate every victory and feels the pain of every loss just as deeply. It’s a palpable let down on those awful days when the Bills’ season ends. And that’s where we are right now.
Sports fan depression is a real diagnosis, and it’s quite common for fans to feel let down and disappointed after a game gone bad. Or an unlucky coin toss. Or the repeated reiterations of “wide right.” Fortunately there are some techniques you can try for moving past the sadness.
- Take a step back. Even the most important athletic match-ups are…games. The emotions behind the activity make it loom large and it’s easy to get swept away in the pre-game excitement and abundant media hype. A good part of your life is not affected, so take a step back to gain some perspective.
- Stay social. Two years of COVID has taught us that isolation is a lonely, scary place. Stay connected and engaged with your friends and family. Remember, chances are they are disappointed, too.
- Fill the void. Well, just because we’re not moving on doesn’t mean that we have to stand still. Read up on winter Olympics that are starting soon. Plan a spring vacation. Pour over those seed catalogues and think about your garden. Re-engage with a hobby or an activity that can occupy your Sunday afternoons for a while. Just find something you enjoy and do it.
- Talk about it. There’s lots of Monday morning quarterbacking and armchair coaches with their own take on what happened. Would the squib kick have helped? Was it a bad coaching call or a unfocused defense? Commiserate, reconstruct the good moments (Holy mackeral, Josh’s final pass to Davis, I mean, come on…), and start anticipating what next season can be like.
- Wait it out. Sports fan depression usually doesn’t linger. After the shock wears off and you’ve talked it through with your personal team, you should start to feel that “we’ll get ‘em next year” optimism. Or in the words of Josh Allen, it just fuels the fire. (Lock on to this: Tom Brady’s not in the Super Bowl this year and he’s talking retirement…again.)
Seriously, if you’re still out of sorts after a few days and you’re not sleeping or feeling like yourself, reach out to Spectrum Health. Counseling can help you restore your perspective and help you remember that the season opener is September 8, the perfect time to circle the wagons again. Go Bills!
Sr. Manager of Public Relations