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Riding the Emotional Lows of October Baseball

Friday, October 20, 2017 8:44 AM

For fans who bleed Cubby blue, it’s been both a crazy and exciting season but one that didn’t end with a World Championship. While disappointment rides high, it’s important to recognize the emotional lows we may experience and how best to deal with them for our own health, safety and well-being. Robert Farra, PhD, Psychotherapy at NorthShore, offers the following tips:


  • Acknowledge your feelings: There’s nothing wrong with feeling disappointment, sadness, heartache or frustration. These are natural emotions with which we can all identify. It’s healthy to vent. But it’s also important to be in control of your emotions. Remember, it’s just a game and not life or death. Don’t be destructive to anyone or anything, including you.
  • Commiserate with others: Whether with family, friends or strangers, it’s cathartic to talk with others who feel the same way. But turn the negatives into positives. Talk about the Cubs having a young, strong, talented team for years to come; that another post-season run is highly likely; that the team was exciting to watch; and that they made it to the championship series again. Positive communication and engagement with others are healthy ways to lighten the mood.
  • Avoid destructive behavior: Remember there’s also a winning team and very excited fans who may feel like taunting the loser. While it’s tempting to get defensive, take the high road instead and exhibit great sportsmanship. Recognize the winning team’s talent and hard fought efforts. Responding to taunts can escalate emotions and lead to physical violence. Ignore them and move on.
  • Eat something healthy: Baseball is synonymous with hot dogs and beer—both good things in moderation. Your disappointment, however, may prompt you to overindulge on processed foods, and worse, alcohol. Avoid the probability of indigestion and intoxication. Instead, eat foods rich in protein, grains and fiber such as fish, chicken, nuts, fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water. You’ll feel better physically and mentally.
  • Turn off the TV and all electronics: Yes, your smart phone too! It’s tempting to watch all the post-game highlights, clubhouse celebrations and analysis, even if the focus is not on the Cubs. Remove yourself from the situation. Find a quiet place to clear your mind, take slow and deep breaths and relax. Diversions are also helpful—reading a book, taking a walk, looking at the blue sky or the moon, listening to soothing music.
  • The series is over, now what? Every sporting event has a beginning and an end. What do we do now that we’ve invested so much of our physical, mental and emotional energy into these games? Remember the good times and be optimistic about the team’s promising future. But then return to your regular routine—carrying out the important responsibilities you have to your family, job, community and fellow human being.

 How do you handle an upset with your sports team?