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.
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?
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.