AFL 2013 Rd 02 - Essendon v Melbourne

Tips for supporting a terrible team

In life, some people are born lucky and others are not.

For instance, being born in a stable, rich country like the United States Canada usually means a much higher quality life than in a third rate banana republic.

It’s the same when it comes to sporting teams. Some people are simply born lucky.

Take Hawthorn supporters, whose lives are a glittering parade of premierships and superstars and don’t start me on the five minutes you had it tough in the nineties or mid 2000s. Cry me a river.

For others such as myself, the sporting team you’re given at birth is like a giant millstone around your neck, constantly ruining weekends and causing you frequent, searing emotional pain.

But you love that damn millstone.

So much so that you can’t give it up no matter how unhealthy it is and how much it is RUINING YOUR ENTIRE LIFE.

Given that, here are some tips on how to make supporting a horrible team slightly more bearable.

Spreading risk

Any savvy financial investor knows that you never have all your money in one place. You may have some in property, some in shares and some tied up in the courts due to a comic yet disappointing misunderstanding.

Either way, the idea is that when one area goes bad, you’re insulated from it a bit more by having your money in other asset classes that are hopefully still rising.

Sport is no different. The explosion of interest in following multiple sports is undoubtedly being driven by the fact a lot of people have one really bad team, so picking some others in different sports spreads the emotional risk.

US Sports offers a lot and if you have a terrible AFL team there’s no shame jumping on some bandwagon in the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB.

Just choose wisely, you don’t want to pick another dud over there or you’ve actually increased your pain. Hello St Kilda/76ers fans!

The English Premier League used to be a great option. It was very safe to emotionally invest in. You could just pick Manchester United and it would offset all your losses elsewhere. The only downside is you had to be a Manchester United fan.

Now it’s a bit more difficult. I mean Leicester City?

Stress Eating

The week in-week out energy required to hang in with a terrible team means you need a lot of carb loading.

And sugar and salt loading.

Mask your feelings under a pie and doughnut.

That way, during the game, when tears are in your eyes, you can say ‘I’m not crying, it’s just the jam in the middle is really hot’.

Some of you will say that eating that much bad food is very unhealthy but that’s kind of the point. Shortening your lifespan is an added bonus. Following Melbourne has taken ten years off my life and I’m happy because it’s a decade less of watching them.


After each loss, curl up into a little ball in a darkened cupboard. Just let it all come out.

There’s no shame, no judging in the crying cupboard.

Try to keep it as quiet as possible though.

A neighbour once reported me to the police on suspicion I was holding a prisoner. Once I explained it was just that I was a Melbourne supporter, one of the SWAT team members wordlessly gave me a hug. He held me a really long time.

They even let me turn the sirens on to cheer me up.


Many medical professionals and government authorities say excessive alcohol consumption is a bad thing and ruins lives. They’re right but those people aren’t usually Richmond supporters.

Alcohol may ruin your life but supporting the Tigers or a similar side has already done that.

It’s a matter of trying to offset some of the damage. Now I’m not saying you should drink to stupid levels. Usually a bottle of whiskey per loss is about right.

Vent on social media

Going on for hours about the inadequacy of your team and the individuals who constitute it used to be the quickest way for you to alienate friends and family.

Luckily, social media is full of people going through the exact same emotional turmoil as you. People who do want to spend countless days recounting everything that went wrong on the weekend and the proceeding decades.

Join. It’s sort of a safe space, in the way the wild west was a safe space but at least you’ll find kindred spirits or should I say tortured souls.

Sign up to Titus O’Reily’s Electronic Mail Newsletter. 


  1. TalkingCarlton

    TitusOReily Pick a colour: blue, for example. In part, this led me to Chelsea in the mid 90s… Leicester is blue too + Ranieri is ex CFC. 🙂

  2. KobeCoburn

    TitusOReily at least u didnt have swap teams as 1 of your options!My indian mate is trying to drop the pies cos he can read english now

  3. kellyexeter

    As a long suffering Freo fan – I feel your pain. Yes, since Ross came on board things have been better – but these last two games have been a nice little reminder of the days where free psych sessions had to be part of Dockers membership

  4. t01132715

    TitusOReily or how to wallow in self pity a dangerous emotion. You might be suffering from Depression Titus but I am laughing a lot .

  5. ManInAShed

    Q. What happens when you support a traditionally crap team (Manchester City) only to have them sold to an oil sheikh and suddenly find they have more money than the Vatican but that all the new found success is actually rather soulless? A. Take up supporting the Tiges! Inconsistent service and lack of success resumed as normal.

  6. t01132715

    TitusOReily U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602

  7. Eishold

    At least we Melbourne supporters have extremely well-developed coping strategies. When our team inevitably loses its 5th or 6th consecutive game, all we do is shed a quiet tear, punch the cat then move on with the grey hopelessness of our lives. If Hawthorn loses two in a row their supporters develop psychiatric disorders and substance abuse issues. I’d still rather barrack for the Hawks though

  8. sinbadbay

    TitusOReily what happened to the old days when we said things like this about Geelong #gurubob

  9. demonman

    TitusOReily perhaps you can do a piece on how our team (the Dees) can support US!
    Plenty of copy from that one me thinks!!

  10. Samosthenurus

    TitusOReily betting on the opposition also helps.

  11. Mitchell Peacock

    This pretty much sums it all up, Andrew Yvonne Scott Simone Christian

  12. tonyb1971

    Us Port Adelaide fans are starting to feel your pain, Titus….
    I need to get me a crying cupboard.

  13. Chris Mockford

    Some handy hints to make life a little easier Matthew Peckitt

  14. Nosey Norman

    The worse thing about being a Demons’ supporter is that the recycling bin gets full four days before the bin truck comes.

  15. becc_

    TitusOReily have you been to an AIHL game? Bunch of guys that bust a gut each week & don’t get paid. The difference is… delightful

  16. becc_

    TitusOReily have you been to an AIHL game? Bunch of guys that bust a gut each week & don’t get paid. The difference is… delightful

  17. 72nivek

    As a Hawthorn and NE Patriots fan, I dont know what this article is about… oh hang on, I also follow the Redbacks.

  18. Geoff Schaefer

    My wife has started wrapping the TV remote with bubble wrap…

  19. Phoebe Walker

    Miles Rayner Caleb Rayner this applies to us U0001f629

  20. Matthew Miles

    Nigel John here’s one for you Collingwood fans

  21. Dodgi Robi Cvitti

    Some tips Davidos Anthony Limoli James Carlson

  22. Robyn Hay

    As a Western Bulldogs/Footscray supporter, whose blood is Red, White & Blue – Titus – you think you are in pain? Welcome to the bottom of the ladder my friend…..

  23. Matt Saroni

    Pale blue really does not match, guy on the right.

  24. Jamie Andrew Gault

    Share this with your brother Pablo Edscasbar

  25. Joe Alamidis

    George La Rosa really significant read for people like me and yiu

  26. Will Tinkler

    Sophie Peach Ben Leckie Fred Skulley read this for a bit of understanding as to why I am the way I am. Hugh Tinkler, Elijah David and Angus Sutherland probably no different

  27. mcars

    Thanks Titus, wonderful as usual. (Signed) 3rd generation Tiger Fan

  28. Boatie McFloatie

    True football depression is when you lose a GF by 119 points, get absolutely legless, go to sleep on the bus and wake up in Sydney instead of Adelaide, broke and with 51 text messages on your phone.

  29. Marshall Bromwich

    Robyne, Damon, Todd, Randall, Jake, Erica, Mikhaila, Lincoln – do you recognise our Irish mate in the pic?

  30. Marc Gowan

    I know a few people in this cagtegory lucky I am not one of them

  31. Sean Webb

    At least Dan and I can just blame you Olivia Morrissey… all your fault

  32. Angus Sutherland

    Hey wow wow wow I’ve seen a premiership in my lifetime don’t drag me down with you blokes

  33. Dane Helmers

    Scott Gabriel this is what our lives are like you prick

  34. Alison Brown

    The whole Brown family can relate to this one – Mark Nathan Olivia andMadi U0001f613U0001f613

  35. Alison Brown

    And Nathan i now see why the interest in soccer and NBA lol

  36. Matthew Holland

    Craig Townsend you should read the alcohol section

  37. Paul Aspin

    He feels your pain Mark. Written from the perspective of a long suffering Dee’s fan

  38. Angus Sutherland

    yeah 3 year old me remembers it like it was yesterday

  39. Scott Gabriel

    I read this on the tram coming home tonight, thought it would be rude to post it to your timeline. He’s very funny Titus, tragic Melbourne supporter, but love the passion!

  40. Rowan Anderson

    Carlton, Vancouver canucks, buffalo bills. I’m all over this topic.

  41. Thanasi Samaras

    Samuel Terminelli Michael Zoumaras Costa Morias Kris Krotiris Stavro Zacharia Adrian Macolino this topic may have come up once or twice!

  42. Cath Wallace

    This is good to know to get me through the year. I guess you are already aware of these strategies though Ben Van Zeyl?

  43. Ben Van Zeyl

    Expert Cath. With the exception of spreading risk i generally commence sobbing, binge eating and drinking whilst venting at 3/4 time

  44. Andrew Martin

    Pete Sara Nathan Ridgway Wayne Thomas … 😀 😀 😀 Good advice for our friends eh Ryza Martin Stephen Moore … 😉

  45. Sausage_n_Chips

    TitusOReily brilliant Titus! Weary Tigers supporter just managing to work through the brew shakes to send this tweet…

  46. Mark Brogan

    NSW Waratahs in super rugby – world’s biggest underachievers. If that’s a thing.

  47. Nathan Ridgway

    Pete Sara …. Andrew Martin wants as many dad jokes on his page as possible , that’ll learn him U0001f602

  48. GBO26

    TitusOReily I’m a Swans supporter and have enjoyed a golden period for the club, but you always worry the lean years will return.

  49. Jessica Monk

    Vanessa Wilmot Matt might find this useful U0001f61c I also now understand why Nathan supports Manchester United (and he says it’s because we lived there!).

  50. thebigrooster24

    TitusOReily very crisp Titus… I used to work at the dees, and my doctor has likened that year to the Stockholm syndrome…

  51. RhombusHatesYou

    KobeCoburn TitusOReily Your mate needs to be careful as swapping teams can lead to that most damning of social cancers – having a 2nd team

  52. RhombusHatesYou

    TitusOReily t01132715 It’s not just the effect of Melborne on its supporters but the effect seeing this has on their family and friends.

  53. RhombusHatesYou

    thebigrooster24 TitusOReily Could be worse. A mate of mine’s older brother developed Stock, Aitken and Waterman Syndrome. Terrible.

  54. Rachel Ortlepp

    Hahaha nice try if you replaced ‘a terrible team’ with collingwood then this article would be the same #pray4tay #shewasdroppedonherheadasachild

  55. Larissa Hurley

    Sappy McNaught
    Kieran Hurley
    Don’t we know it U0001f602U0001f602U0001f602

  56. Justin WR

    Peter Gardiner might help. Damian Robb just so u know what it’s like for Troy

  57. dlm1303

    1. Shift to another state (distance and absence, and no judging friends)
    2. Have an argument with the membership department of original club
    3. Look at the club through unclouded eyes – how crap they treat their players and fans
    4. Support Gold Coast

  58. Adam Wells

    Hopefully this can help you this season Haydyn Kennedy

  59. Haydyn Kennedy

    All of this applies to me.. All of it. Thank god for the Cowboys winning the NRL last year or I might’ve had to be talked down off the ledge

  60. Adam Wells

    Yeah I just jumped straight onto spurs after the cats missed the finals

  61. Joseph Misitano

    You boys aren’t 76 fans, are you?

  62. Jack Carter

    Saints, Hawks, Parramatta eels (formerly Adelaide Rams), Western Force, 36ers

  63. Matt Francis

    you’ve bled foxes and Denver Broncos since you could breathe

  64. Mick_EFC

    TalkingCarlton TitusOReily Our teams may be in a hole but at least we’ve got 16 premierships to keep us warm during these dark times. 

    Bombers will get to 17 first though… GO THE DONS!!!

  65. Michael Moro

    Haha sure Arnt mate but don’t you Barack for essendon ?

  66. Charlie Styles

    Jeremy Gonis seems I don’t need to do this after all

  67. Simon Neal

    This supports my long held theory that the Melbourne Storm supporter base increased significantly around the same time John Elliot’s name was removed from the grandstand at Princess Park

  68. Jeremy Gonis

    I would say after last week that Melbourne are still in that “terrible” bunch

  69. Gavin Lawrence

    Nick Splitter.. Haha. Saint kilda/76s fan.. Talking directly to you there!

  70. Steve Scully

    Giosué Valeri Adrian Beltrame – ‘Take Hawthorn supporters, whose lives are a glittering parade of premierships and superstars and don’t start me on the five minutes you had it tough in the nineties or mid 2000s. Cry me a river.’

  71. Ashley Bruhn

    Hayden Baker – We really messed up our lives with dees and Newcastle United.

  72. jnewta

    TitusOReily If anything, he’s putting a gloss on it TimMcLardy 2manysourades ccumbrae NB fosterben

  73. AzzKikA79

    TitusOReily Always expect to lose, even when going into a game as clear favorites?

  74. fosterben

    jnewta TitusOReily TimMcLardy 2manysourades ccumbrae we endured those 17 years of pain well, i thought

  75. Mark Johnstone

    Ashley Mills Adam Hipwell – something in here for all of us…

  76. Pdudley64

    TitusOReily Will there be an unhelpful guide to round three AFL?

  77. Peter J Stuart

    David Le Page, Ad van Amrooij, Angelo Petrakos, Dean Leishman, Ron Shanks, Ian Mckenzie,

  78. thebeggarman

    AzzKikA79 TitusOReily yep. Also put some money on the oppo -creates a win-win result. Also can tip against your team -guarantees they win

  79. The Original Buzz

    I am a Carlton supporter, I know the pain well.  It was  amplified by them taking on Malthouse.  I also follow the Raiders in the NRL, 3 wins and a draw (which is not a loss) and 2 losses.  The Thunderbirds in the ANZ Championships who are the same as Carlton, 0 – 2.
    I will be in the cupboard with my bottle of Jacks if anyone is looking for me.

  80. Michelle Collins

    Patrick Collins. Replace whisky with vodka and add a block of chocolate.

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