Maybe last night’s win has you hoping for something miraculous to happen and normally, I’d be right there with you. This time it just seems like the team has rolled over and died. There are millions of fans left in the wake who must now enter the grieving process.
For those who are unaware, there are five stages of grief. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, theorized the five stages that we refer to today. Commonly known as DABDA, the five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The stages of grief don’t have to go in this order, and they are often different for each person. Some may start in a different stage and even remain in stages for different periods of time. Some people may get stuck in a certain stage.
Many fans will have unique grieving processes, but it is important to recognize the stages and process your grief healthily.
Kubler-Ross’ denial stage is characterized by feelings of avoidance, confusion, shock and elation. I know many fans like myself may have an urge to stop watching games to avoid thinking about the disappointing season. Others in the denial stage might be confused on how we continue to lose and what needs to be fixed. The shock is definitely there. Maybe there’s a little bit of excitement/elation to just tank and get the season over with.
Some fans may start out in the anger stage, while others may transition into it. Those in the anger stage experience feelings of irritability, anxiety and frustration. This one feels like a no-brainer. The fans are definitely frustrated and irritated and anxious. You can see it all over social media, where fans have the freedom to direct their anger at players, coaches and other fans. This is the most obvious stage of grief for Yankee fans right now.
I think I’m in the bargaining stage right now. People in the bargaining phase struggle to find meaning, reach out to others and tell their story. Guilt is a driving force in the bargaining stage. My superstitions feed my guilt and feed the bargaining stage. For context, I am superstitious about watching games. Mostly the thought process revolves around, “If I don’t watch, maybe they’ll do better.” So, I feel that now that I started writing about the Yankees I had some part to play in the team potentially finishing the season under .500 for the first time since 1992. It’s not rational at all, but that’s grief. Maybe if I stop watching games they’ll win every game and make the playoffs. Fingers crossed.
Depression can be numbing and overwhelming, and it can bring feelings of hopelessness. It is often the stage people think about most when they go about the grieving process. What is a world without the person, place or thing that you love? Some fans may already be in this stage, but I predict a large uptick once the season is over. People that are depressed need emotional support from others to help them through this stage. So, find your sympathy and give the closest Yankee fan to you a big hug.
Finally, the acceptance stage. You’ve accepted the outcome of the season and are ready to take on next year. It’s just a game, and there’s always room to improve. This season is a thing of the past. Most of us haven’t reached this stage yet, but hopefully many more will be able to process and heal through their stages of grief. Acceptance isn’t the solace you may think it is. There are good days and bad days, but your emotions are more stable and you’re ready for another season’s unknowns.
I’m providing tips on the grieving process not for us, but because the rest of the league wants to watch us cope. They want to see us go through the same despair they’ve endured. The Yankees have been on top of the baseball world for so long that they hate us cause they ain’t us. I mean, is it really as bad as they want to clown us for? First time below .500 since ‘92, no playoffs and last place in the AL East. It doesn’t sound great on paper, but comparing it to other teams’ performances tells a different story. I’m not about to google the last time each team ended the season under .500, but I know there aren’t many that maintained .500 and above for 30 years. You only have to look up last year to see the Red Sox certainly can’t stay above .500.
Now we just look like every other major league baseball team. Not to mention the five other divisions have multiple teams below .500. Not the AL East though. I love to play in the hardest division, come out average and have people clown us. It really shows me they’re praying on our downfall. I’m fine grieving about being average.
See you next season.