Seven Stages of Bracket Grief
SHOCK AND DENIAL
Definition: A person in grief thinks that he is dreaming and he cannot / refuses to accept the incineration of his bracket before the Sweet Sixteen has even started. The time for which this stage lasts cannot be determined. Simple tasks and decisions cannot be carried out by a person in shock.
Evidenced by: Kansas losing to Northern Iowa. Kansas! I didn’t even watch this game as we had family movie night (‘Aliens in the Attic’ and, no, don’t watch this) so I was dumbstruck watching The Lead scroll across the bottom of SportsCenter.
Usual reaction: ‘No! No fucking way! Northern Iowa!! Kansas lost to Northern FUCKING Iowa!!! This can’t be happening!! Wait, are they talking about the Women’s tournament?’
PAIN AND GUILT
Definition: Realization this loss is true, usually during the SportsCenter highlights. Many people succumb to drugs and alcohol while dealing with intense feelings of what could have been done differently to avoid such a loss.
Evidenced by: Villanova losing to St. Mary’s. If this tournament taught us anything it’s that the Big East could be the most over rated conference in the entire country. Villanova, Georgetown, Marquette (they’re Big East, right?), Notre Dame all went home early. This does not bode well for Syracuse being my pick to be national champs.
Usual Reaction: ‘Why did I go with Georgetown? What the fuck is wrong with me!! I knew their offense sucked and John Thompson was a terrible coach. I really should have known better that to put them in the Sweet Sixteen........I need a beer.’
Definition: The person may get angry due to the injustice that has happened to him or he may get angry over a person responsible for the loss in his life.
Evidenced by: My venomous, ten minute rant about how Scottie Reynolds was single handedly destroying my chances of winning this year’s office pool. I had Villanova going to the finals to face Kansas in my second bracket (this was before Kansas had lost) and in both Final Fours.
Usual Reaction: ‘Look at him!! What the fuck is he doing??!! That’s it, Scottie, force up another shot that has no chance of going in. You have teammates, you know! Fuck! Sit his ass on the bench!! He's killing your team!'
Definition: The person starts bargaining for the loss and tries to find out ways in which he can revert the situation and compensate for what he has lost.
Evidenced by: Frantically looking at underdog picks you made to make yourself feel better while browsing everyone else’s online brackets to figure out ways you could possibly pull this disaster off. (Note: you can’t)
Usual reaction: ‘OK, everyone ahead of me had Kansas winning it all except for that one admin that has Kansas State…shit, she’s looking like a genius now…so if Syracuse and Kentucky get to the finals I can at least get second place….wait, I have Xavier beating Kansas State…so if they win….’
DEPRESSION AND SORROW
Definition: Person accepts the loss but is unable to cope up with it. Depressed and demoralized, the person is in despair and behaves passively at this stage of life.
Evidenced by: Complete lack of interest in the rest of the games.
Usual Reaction: ‘You can watch HGTV now, honey, these games are meaningless to me. I need another drink and a nap. I hate my life….’
TESTING AND RECONSTRUCTION
Definition: Person starts to indulge in other activities so as to escape the disturbing sorrow
Evidenced by: My (now) five year old’s birthday party; patching my leaking roof; watching ‘Dead Snow’ (which was one of the goriest comedies I have ever seen. At least, I’m assuming it’s a comedy since I laughed several times).
Usual reaction: ‘I need to get away from the television. Taking a run to Home Depot to get roofing tar and will be on the roof for the rest of the day. If you hear a thump in the driveway it’s just me falling to my death.’
Definition: Acceptance, the final stage, projects a ray of hope and the person starts believing in himself. Reality and facts of life are accepted and the person moves forward with this life.
Evidenced by: Subtle interest in ongoing games. Watching with interest the Cornell – Wisconsin game, listening to the breakdown of how Kansas lost to Northern Fucking Iowa, rescanning the office brackets for any outside chance.
Usual reaction: ‘Hey, Michigan State and Maryland should be a good game. Let me grab a beer. At least I can enjoy this without worrying about the stupid bracket. Wait, I have Michigan State winning this game. Come on, Spartans. Let the comeback begin!!’
Today’s distraction: The Ten Common Misconceptions we learn in school (According to Paul). I can’t vouch for Paul’s credentials or qualifications, but he says motherfucker and ‘tard, so he’s ok in my book.