Sunday, 1 April 2012

A is for… Agony

Being a fan of a sporting team is a tough gig. You only have to look at any number of faces at sporting events around the world to see that we suffer; nails are bitten to the bone and tears are shed on an almost weekly basis. So why do we put up with it, and what can we do to alleviate the pain?

The nature of sport

Sporting teams can be generally put into one of two categories: those who expect to win the majority of their games and challenge for trophies, and those who don’t. Unsurprisingly the former has a lot more fans, yet it’s my belief that both sets of fans get to celebrate and suffer almost an equal amount due to those differing levels of expectations.

When your team is playing a team you’re expected to easily beat it’s almost a no-win situation. Victory often becomes more of a relief than a celebration, whilst a defeat can be devastating. Losing is also no fun when you’re the underdog, but it’s arguably a little easier to take, whilst a rare victory is that much more satisfying, often being fondly remembered for months or even years to come. 

When we suffer

Hope is a powerful force and something that the sporting fan regularly clings onto, often against logical reason. When all hope is finally extinguished, whether it’s a team being knocked out of a cup competition or their season coming to a premature end, it’s a nasty feeling. That hope could be built up over a course of months from a series of good performances, and then dissipate in a few ugly minutes. Or it can be a slow slipping away of hope; a series of disappointing performances over a longer period. Either way, the thought that next season might be the year is of little comfort at that time.

Time is a healer

Sport may not be a matter of life or death, but fans invest a lot of emotion in the fortune of their teams and usually there are no magic words to make a despondent sports fan feel better. The only certainty is that time does make things better; the next match or new season will come about before you know it. What may seem like the end of the world at the moment it happens may be much easier to take the morning afterwards, when one can be more rational with their thoughts. 

It will get better with time

The payoff

Whilst there are some masochistic sports fans most sporting suffering is fleeting, and the average fan should find enough pleasure in watching their team to more than balance out any despair they feel. Agony is an unfortunate element of sport, although by experiencing it you also gain more of an appreciation for the good times when they come along. I’ve found it easier to deal with sporting disappointments as I’ve matured in life; in the dark times I try to reflect on the happy memories I’ve had with my teams, and if nothing else works then a few drinks usually does the trick.

How about you; are you able to control your emotions when things are out of your control, or do you have to get it out of your system in some way? Have you got any tried and trusted methods for getting over sporting agonies?


  1. At times I feel that fans are more emotional and involved than the actual players.

  2. Ah a soccer mom, I've seen and felt the gamut of emotions. And I'm only talking about little boys! LOL Still good fun though.

  3. Wonderful post! From the perspective of both a team player ( high school) and a sports fan. sporting events can be emotional roller coaster!

  4. A is for Agony... great post for fans and players. As a Fan my teams have pained me through their seasons...ugh!

    Great start for the A to Z challenge...

  5. You sports fans... so silly. Put yourselves through so much for a game! Great post, Evan.