Grieving Your Team’s First Round Exit

-~ Chris Simmons (@sik0simmons)

So your team got knocked out of the playoffs and now you’re wondering, “What do I do now?” Whether due to the classic “Gentleman’s Sweep,” where your team managed only a singular win, or in an epic seven game duel when it comes to the playoffs a loss is a loss. And if you’re feeling down here is a brief guide to feeling better about you team(life?).

Stage One: Complain about the other team’s best player

Lebron James gets away with travels, Kyle Lowry flops too much, Steph Curry isn’t the MVP, Kawhi Leonard still rocks too-tight cornrows. Those are just some of the jabs first round losers will take to make themselves feel a little better about the talent their team simply didn’t have.

Stage Two: Demand a new Coach/GM/Best Player

This one is for all you Rockets/Grizzlies/Celtics/Pacers fans who either don’t realize how good you actually have it (Isaiah Thomas, Andre Drummond) or realize it was never that good to begin with (Dwight Howard, Grindhouse Hoops). You’ll hoot and holler for a new guy and hope that the same old infrastructural issues don’t continue to plague your team. They will, but don’t think about that right now.

Stage Three: Add Caveats to your season

We lost our best player in the middle of the season! Our coach was terrible! The refs were biased! We started rookies! They were ahead of schedule! These are the built in excuses every team has for why they weren’t better. The truth is every team loses players to injury, games to coaching decisions, and series to experience. Your team didn’t have a handicap, it just didn’t survive.

Stage Four: Accepting defeat

At some point every fan has to accept that their team probably wasn’t going to win the title this season anyway. They can pick any number of reasons from key playoff injuries to holes in the roster but the truth is there was probably very little chance. The sooner fans accept this the sooner they are able to transition to the final stage of playoff grieving.

Stage Five: Picking a side

By far the most fun and productive part of getting over your first round exit is picking a side for the remainder of the playoffs. Sometimes the deciding factor is the “we lost to the champs” argument that props up mediocre teams. Other times it is contempt for victor’s best player/coach/owner. Still others it is the respect earned from a long playoff series between two evenly matched teams. Whatever the reason, fans who watch the playoffs post exit, will ultimately take sides against their rivals and make for some of the best trash talk of the season. Choose wisely though, you want your bandwagon team to win impressively and not fail spectacularly.


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