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Recovering from the gut punch game

Every fan handles these situations differently. How do you move on after that last Celtics loss?

NBA: Playoffs-Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Ugh. That was rough.

I’m going to take a brief break here from analyzing the game, in part because I just can’t right now. And that’s part of what I’m talking about. Everyone has a different way of handling this kind of loss as a fan. So, I thought I’d take a look at fans in this moment.

Some people tend to lash out and rage. It isn’t hard to find them, just jump on Twitter or tune into talk radio. They want their pound of flesh and if anyone gets in their way with a cheery disposition, their heads will roll. My only beef with these fans is that sometimes they take it too far and wind up hurting people that had nothing to do with the outcome of the game.

A step down from there is the people that just have to process everything by getting it off their chest: what went wrong, who was to blame, what it means in the near and long term future. In many ways, that’s the heart of blogging and I totally relate.

On the complete flip side are the true believers. I hesitate to call it “blind faith” because that sometimes has a negative connotation. This group admits that it was a tough loss, but it doesn’t shake their core belief in the team. The glass is perpetually half full, every bad play was just bad luck, and every good play is proof that greatness is just around the corner. Obviously there are degrees to this.

Some people (like me) tend to shut down after a bad loss. Like, literally power down the computer, turn off the TV, and go do something completely different. Personally, I’ve found this to be therapeutic (though admittedly it isn’t ideal for running a blog).

Other people can’t let it go and have to break it all down until it has been analyzed and dissected down to the smallest detail. I’ve been there before, too.

Even as I lay out these different personality types, I fully admit that I’m oversimplifying a lot. To truly map this out, you’d need to use Venn diagrams, where different aspects of all of the above intersect and overlap. Then you have to account for the fact that people change. Sometimes slowly over time, and sometimes dramatically from game to game.

So what? Why am I even talking about this? I don’t know. Maybe in my old age, I’m getting more introspective. Maybe I just want to reach out and help people sort through their own confused feelings. I also have a young son who is really getting into watching sports and I’m trying to navigate him through these ups and downs in a healthy way.

Regardless, I’m a firm believer in the concept of “you do you.” Whatever way you want to be a fan is your prerogative. The only issue I have is with people who seek to do harm to others or themselves (physical or emotional). Those people I would strongly urge to seek help and/or find a better way of working through emotions. At CelticsBlog, you all should know by now that all I ask is that you be respectful to everyone else. Let them be the fan that they want to be.

The loss last night was gut wrenching. No sugar coating it. I’m not sure exactly what it means about the character of this team or the season as a whole. I don’t know how they’ll respond in the next game(s). I just know I’ll be tuning in.