Coping with Loss: Managing Defeats of Our Beloved Ducks

Steven Smith Editorials

Life on earth is filled with both joy and sorrow, as we all understand that concept as part of the human condition. Oft-times the new pains and injuries to body, mind and spirit is out of our control. Mortality brings injury, illness, disease, broken relationships and “man’s inhumanity to man” directly upon us. No one is immune!

Self-inflicted trauma however is a far different critter to cage. Let us specifically examine college football with the, “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” and as noble DUCK fans–how we are dealing with those dreaded losses! The old bromide of, “if you swim with sharks long enough you’re going to get bit,” especially is true in college football when your team is trying to break into the elite of the sport.

Let’s examine the different ways to manage the trauma of getting whupped.

Loss is a cause for grief. We are familiar with the five stages of grief in…  1.Denial and Isolation   2. Anger   3. Bargaining  4. Depression  5. Acceptance

John Giustina

Losing is pretty hard for players too…

Individual football fan reactions to loss are infinite and complex. Most however, you can throw a hat over to cover. These are reasons most often given:

  1. Poor coaching is the major default reason, of which is often and repeatedly manifested on FishDuck by site commenters.
  2. Injuries to key performers (all teams have them during a season) affecting team results.
  3. Penalties and bonehead mistakes in execution by the players are real game changers at critical junctures.
  4. The way the ball bounces, or the ‘lady luck’ meme (although women as yet are not seen on the gridiron)!
  5. The elements, including the weather, crowds and most critically the Ref’s. (as they have it in for us!)

Often we fail to give enough credit to the other team of coaches and players who, on that day, were simply better than we were. Think of the last two Natty’s we played in against superior programs that vanquished our heroes! They were fine teams filled with future NFL players, and while we lost to noble foes, the pain of another “almost” National Championship is rough on devoted Duck fans.

Kevin Cline

Losses are tough for fans of all ages…

How do the rank and file fans deal with the Damage of Defeat?

  1. Hit the sauce (even harder) or take a myriad of substances (better living thru chemistry, yikes) to dull the pain.
  2. Pout, whine, scream or weep uncontrollably. I am sure you have never shouted at an inanimate object like the television, (right!) during a big doomed losing effort?
  3. Acting out physically such as punching a wall, biting fingernails, bruxing (as retired dentist just had to throw that one in) grinding your teeth in angst, slamming doors or counter-tops.
  4. Swear off the Ducks for good and forever (until the next game), or cut loose with epithets that would make any nun blush.
  5. Seek therapy on the couch or possibly take up scrabble and win big points with triple word or letter scores like anguish, inexorable, and extinguishing all hope of winning that brass ring.

Gary Breedlove

Fans murmur during a loss, and it is hard…

Perspective here is vital. There are 130 college football programs in the country, and basketball has over 300! Ultimately only one will prevail as the National Champion, but all others are considered dross for failure to obtain the Brass Ring? No doubt you have many sane and crazy ways to cope, because you are still a fan and Oregon has been on that doorstep often. (Like the Womens Basketball program recently!)

The commenting section on this site is a great avenue for self expression on how you individually manage the morose aspect of the failure to win. You may well have wise, sage and provident life experience not yet mentioned and the ability to prevent further harm to fellow Duck Athletic believers? That life you may save via talking them off the ledge, or taking away all their sharp objects are gestures of intervention, concern and caring for a fellow (Delicate Damaged Duck Fan) in utter despair.

It is not a question of “if, but when” that disappointed despondent demeanor will occur. We all need solutions to survive the next time; what are yours?

Steven E. Smith
Powell Butte, Oregon
Top Photo by John Giustina

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