Losing really sucks. There’s a sinking feeling that comes with putting your loyalty and tuition dollars into a school only to watch its football team run a freaking draw on 3rd and 12 to set itself up for yet another empty possession against a conference rival. It shouldn’t hurt as bad as it does, given that you have no true personal investment nor input when it comes to the team’s success. You’re not the one out there practicing, game planning, and traveling every week. I mean, look at you. You’d barely cut it as a walk-on at Podunk Valley State, so don’t kid yourself. But this doesn’t matter to you, because you didn’t sink 50 bucks into a licensed team polo to watch your team stagger through a five-win season. You spectate to WIN.
That being said, things won’t always swing your way. Football losses come in all shapes and sizes, each of them agonizing in their own special way. Maybe a rival hands your school a 42-10 drubbing, or perhaps an FCS team comes into town and pulls off a double overtime 29-26 shocker. The logical thing to do after a loss would be to act like it never happened and get on with your life, but nobody does that. From my experience, most people will hang around the place where they watched the game, only they’ll double down on their drinking. The idea of going out on the town can seem like a pain in the ass when you’re pissed off and already too drunk, but I’m urging you to get your people together, call an Uber, and do it anyway.
Some of the craziest times in my whole life happened out at the bars after a big football loss. It’s hard to describe, but things are just different. Rather than being full of excitement and opportunities, the bars are neck-deep with notes of chaos, anxiety, and primordial self-destruction. Accidentally bump into someone on a normal night and it might result in a quick “My bad,” or, “Sorry man.” But on a night like this, you’re more likely to elicit a “Watch it,” “The fuck, bro?,” or even some serious fighting words. Make no mistake: you are not among friends.
The streets and bars that have grown so familiar to you over the years now have a hint of danger about them. Everyone is angry drunk, and the goals they’d normally have for such a night are completely out the window. Think about what people normally set out to do on a Saturday night. Get laid? Win a few games of pool? Discover a great new watering hole? Nah, these surrender cobras are just trying to get as drunk as possible before last call — and nothing is going to stop them. It’s a given that you will see and do some fucked up shit after your team loses, but luckily everyone’s collective memory of the night will be too foggy and full of holes for it to matter.
In the early ‘60s, a scientist put a large population of rats into a very small living area. It didn’t take a lot of time for the rats to start behaving abnormally, and before long they were killing and eating each other in garish displays of deviance and cruelty. What the fuck does that have to do with anything? Well, when I go out to the bars after my team loses an important football game or other big sporting event, I don’t see my friends and neighbors; I see a bunch of angry, diseased rats running around.
Deciding to join the ranks of these rodents doesn’t make for a “pleasant” or “remotely enjoyable” time, but it’s not something you’ll soon forget, and I recommend giving it a try at least once. After all, your team now has no shot at the conference championship as long as that noodle-armed shitbird is in at quarterback. Rational thoughts will have to wait until Sunday..
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