It's been a long time since we've had to experience a loss this terrible as the one dealt to us by Texas A&M on Thursday. What devices or activities or shows or music or drugs are we using to distract ourselves from this torment? Is it safe to mix your chosen analgesic with a whole Saturday of football?
The Garnet And Black Attack staff answered below, and we hope you'll do the same in the comments.
To my surprise, alcohol intake slowed on Thursday night as the deficit grew. This made for a significant change from the 2012 Florida game, which found me unconscious for the third and fourth quarters. By the end, the only foreign agent in my bloodstream was despair.
There was a time in my life when I would have completely shut down and not watched any college football for the rest of the weekend. (And this was when South Carolina frequently lost six games in one year, not over three years combined.) I don't know if it was the nature of the loss or something more disturbing (emotional maturation?), but my emotion after the game was more resignation than frustration or anger.
I plan to skip a few of the early games on Saturday morning and finish the last few chapters of A Storm of Swords to recharge my batteries a bit. But, otherwise, I think I'll be full go by the time the Clemson-Georgia game rolls around. In fact, if the loss to the Aggies changed anything about my plans for Saturday, it's that I will definitely be rooting for Georgia to beat Clemson
When the game ended, I was an in oddly zen-like state. This owes to the fact I was watching alone, with no antagonists or fellow suffers to feed off of. So when it was over, I posted the recap, grabbed my keys and drove over to a small wine bar where a friend of mine was playing some music. The bar had no TVs (yay, no highlights) and was virtually empty (yay, no one talking about the game.) It was a small chunk of space that was entirely unaffected by the debacle at Williams-Brice. It was as if I'd stumbled across a furnished bomb shelter after a nuclear blast. I turned off my phone, sipped a few beers, listened to the music in relative solitude, and decompressed in the dim lit bar. And truth be told, I feel pretty great today. So my advice: remove yourself from the chaos. There will be plenty of time to sort through the rubble.
My theory is this: at the end of the day, there are many things in life I can control, and Gamecock football, love it as I do, is not one of them. I'm not happy about starting the season the way we did, but I'm not interested in letting a loss-even a bad one-put a damper on the rest of my Labor Day weekend.
Steve Spurrier's track record. The loss sucks, but I'm confident Spurrier and the coaching staff will make the necessary adjustments to get this team back on track. I expect the team will have a very productive week of practice. I'm not going to freak out over one game, especially one against a ranked opponent.
Well Tim looks to be in a much healthier place than I am, with the whole "not freaking out over one game" attitude. Meanwhile, I've spent most of the time since the end of the game wallowing in my misery by reading about the game and noticing everything going wrong today. (I made toast then realized I'm out of butter, my internet is slow, etc) But I have the day off work and I'm heading up to spend the weekend with family soon and that will help distract from my misery. Weirdly enough, I'm still excited about watching a whole bunch of college football this weekend. It obviously won't be a complete distraction, but if there's enough chaos and/or actual good football it'll remind me why I was looking forward to the season so much in the first place. I guess it's a bit paradoxical that college football will likely be both the source of my pain and my painkiller this weekend, but nobody ever said that being a sports fan makes sense.
The Meat Locker
When my alarm went off this morning at 5:30 a.m., A familiar feeling came over me as I realized that we are back to old Gamecock football expectations. Which means no expectations. There used to be such a simple time when expectations were so limited due to mediocre football. It's been so long, I kind of forgot how it felt. Thanks to last night, I was brought back down to reality, as was the rest of our fanbase. The idea of a national championship was pretty neat, but in all reality pretty tough to envision given our history.
The feeling this morning reminded me that there are a lot people close to me that know this feeling. Those people are Clemson fans. Those guys are always so delusional in their thoughts of where they think their program is prior to the season. How do they deal with this pain? Should I pick up the phone and call one of them? Will they make me feel like a jackass while at the same time open myself up to a barrage of hate? I basically just realized I'm alone in this. My wife is a UT alum, she doesn't care. The only thing that comes out of my eight week old daughter's mouth is barfed-up formula. Time to handle it like a man, dude. Move on.
Since arriving at work, I've been listening to a Band of Horses playlist, mostly "Acoustic at The Ryman" because that's my jam. But not "Mirage Rock" because that album is my forever biggest musical letdown, because they went all mainstream and went away from everything good they used to do. Jorge feels me on this one.
Coping style: Denial. Last night never happened. I haven't looked at a single stat sheet. Couldn't tell you what the overall numbers were or how many yards our frightening defense gave up. I look away and move on to next week. The "idea" of an SEC Championship remains a pretty neat idea, but I won't set myself up for such heartbreak. Let's just see if Nosovitch can play corner and try and beat ECU. That's a start.
First of all, if you're down and out I feel ya, it's understandable. This was our worst overall loss since 2003, and makes you wonder what the future holds for our program. We thought we were better than this, and we obviously are not.
The good news is it's one game, and there will be plenty of opportunities for redemption. How am I handling the immediate aftermath? Well, it's going to be a beautiful couple of days here in north Georgia, and I'm going to spend it with my family and neighbors, setting the TV up on the deck, watching more ball and eating great food. How great is that?
Times like this you have to take a step back, realize what's important in your life and put a football game in it's appropriate place. Hopefully for you, like me, it's quite a few rungs down the priority ladder.
(cue inspirational music)
I'm just glad I have Northwestern football to look forward to on Saturday. [sobs]
But really, I got sad for a little while on Thursday night, then I watched Vandy and felt slightly better. I also called my brother, who's a student at Kansas, to find out how to properly react to your team being rather embarrassed on the field.
And now I'm attempting to give myself false hope that this is our one hiccup and we're going to come out on top in every other game this season. I don't really believe that, but it's more fun to think about than the more realistic outcome, which is that our run of 11-win seasons is probably not going to keep going this year. I'm also trying to focus on the non-football positive things in my life, like this freshly baked batch of brownies, the slew of Jimmy Buffett albums on Spotify, and the upcoming three-day weekend.
Like Jorge, I have a zen attitude about football. I love the sport, and I love the Gamecocks, but I understand that Gamecocks football is something I can't control and that I'm wasting my precious time being upset over the loss. To be honest, I'm still excited for the season. My expectations for Carolina football have been seriously tempered, but I'll root for them to get better each week. If we're back to 7-5 / 8-4 Carolina this year, well, I enjoyed rooting for the Gamecocks to pull upsets during those days, and I'll do the same this year. Football to me is something to enjoy watching and talking about with friends and family. It's a game and it's supposed to be fun. I'm not going to let this loss get in the way of that. When I get home from work today, I'll crack open a beer and ease my way into the long weekend. Life could be worse.