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So, Your Basketball Team Sucks

What to do when your weekly preview is always “We’ll try hard, but still lose.”

NCAA Basketball: Nebraska at Rutgers
Demonstrating a move known as the “Icelandic Waterfall” in a very small arena.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

As you may have heard lately, the Big Ten is blessed with many okay-to-good basketball teams this year, and one indisputably great one. That means that most of you are having okay-to-good times being fans of said teams, except for DJ, whose hatred of Mark Turgeon seems to be causing him to collapse in on himself slowly like a dying star, no matter what their ranking or W-L record is.

However, for a few of us, we are not thusly blessed—our basketball teams are objectively Not. Good. It is, one could say, not The Year, to put it mildly. Sure, we dutifully write our previews for the week, as if there’s anything new we can say. There isn’t. It’s always some rearrangement of “The Huskers will put forth a valiant effort, but as they’re a foot shorter than every other team in the league, they will be out-rebounded and come up short (haha). Also, they still can’t shoot freethrows.”

So, how does one make themselves follow a team when they simply aren’t very good? Below, we have some possible coping strategies:

The Boilerman31 - Misery Hedging

Make some money off of your frustration. You know how this game is going to end, and you’ll be kind of sad about it, but at least you can be richer about it too. Also known as “Misery Hedging.”

This is especially useful when other people are high on your team for no good reason (see #24 Nebraska football to start the season) but you know better. Take those suckers that believe the hype to the cleaners.

The Jesse Collins - Thor Superfan Club

Become an ardent supporter of a player that is either less terrible than most of your team (or maybe more terrible, if you’re particularly masochistic) and make that the reason you watch. Jesse, for instance, is a MASSIVE Thorir Thorbjarnarson fan (I mean, everyone is, right? But Jesse’s next-level.) From the master himself:

What do you do when your team is on a five game losing streak with every imaginable heartbreaker and beatdown possible in one season? You keep looking forward. So for me, I focus on things like “Have you seen how fast Cam Mack is?” and “THOR THOR THOR THOR THOR!” None of this is specifically great fun when the outcome is what it is, but sometimes it’s about what’s happening in the little moments. It helps when it looks like you have a gameplan which we do so EVERYTHING IS FINE!

Jesse isn’t watching Nebrasketball games... he’s watching Thorgames. And boy, Cam Mack is fast, huh?

The WhiteSpeedReciever - Eat Your Feelings

If your team makes you feel terrible, why shouldn’t your snack food do the same? At least it’s kinder to you in the moment. Local expert on this method WSR says, “Minnesota vs. Michigan State? Well let’s put some hot dogs in croissants and see if we can make our heart give up before the Gophers do.” As Boilerman has pointed out, this is simply a fancy pig in a blanket, but it turns out, it can actually get EVEN FANCIER. “My grandma also used to put a little Dijon mustard between the dog and the roll, and it is an amazing hack. Also: The Gophers never beat Michigan State so I’m getting good at making them.”

See? While you’re sitting there devouring your culinary innovations and dreaming up your next iteration, you’ll barely notice what’s unfolding onscreen.

The Younger WSR - Exercise to Exorcise Your Anger

Before his coping mechanisms involved croissants, WSR used to work out his feelings on a Peloton bike. The cataclysm unfolding on the court gave him that perfect “Peloton Face” that people pay big bucks for:

Pictured: WSR mid-game against—you guessed it, MSU—in 2014.

He had no idea how the journey would change him.

“I accidentally had abs for a bit during the Dan Monson era,” he remembers.

The Thumpasaurus - Non-Revenue Love

Maybe it’s just better for you if you decide that basketball isn’t really your thing anyway. Never was, in fact. If you’re lucky, your school is good-to-great at some other sport that happens to take place during the same season. I personally am a great fan of this tactic in the fall, when I find Husker Volleyball to be a far more satisfying fan experience than Husker Football. Thumpasaurus has also tested the merits of this system:

Illini wrestler Isaiah Martinez got me through the John Groce era. This way, unless you’re a Penn State fan, you can experience crushing heartbreak instead of numbing apathy. It’s actually way better because at least you’re feeling something and you know you’re alive! And if you’re a Penn State fan and you don’t already follow wrestling, you deserve all the bad things that come your way because you are an idiot.

The Beezer - Blame Someone Else

This method is super versatile, and thus appealing and applicable to many fanbases. You can blame so many things or people—athletic directors, former coaches, weird-ass fans who scared away good recruits, Bernie Sanders—any and all of these things make awesome sports scapegoats. Beezer, as is his way, has finessed this, placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of those who most deserve it: BTN.

I cope by complaining that BTN and FS1 don’t have apps that allow me to watch games through my PS4 and oh darn I can’t see yet another slow, boring, frustrating meltdown.

Brilliant! Law school clearly paid off for our Wisconsin friend.

Your Wife’s Favorite - Do Something Better With Your Time

Lol, that’s not what she meant. Good try though, dumbass. No, there’s a better idea:

Are you just functionally incapable of NOT watching your shitty team when you’re home and they’re playing and you have the means? Don’t worry, you’re no more sick and demented than the rest of us. Vow to do something constructive with that time! it’s ideal for doing laundry and cleaning the room the TV is in, then running into the kitchen to do dishes during the commercials! Maybe you’ll get on a roll in the kitchen, and you’ll miss the part of the game where your team goes on a five minute scoring drought and the game slips away! Then you can turn it off guilt-free and catch up on The Bachelor. (Guess which writer wrote this one?)

Bonus: If you actually do these things, you have a way better chance of getting to do what you thought that the title of this was originally implying.

The Zuzu - Kill Them

Boy, you can take the girl out of New Jersey, but...

Happily, Rutgers is GREAT now, so Zuzu no longer has to resort to this. And actually, she meant this as a way to cope with fans of other teams, not the team itself. Good clarification, I guess.

(OTE does not want you to kill anyone, though we think that should go without saying.)

The Stew - Limit Your Exposure

Like a true Midwesterner, Stew sought to find a middle ground. He couldn’t bring himself to not watch... but he couldn’t really watch either. Thankfully, technology came to the rescue!

During the Likliter years I recorded the games and would fast forward through possessions, and if they scored would rewind and watch for things like ball movement and what went right.

This way, you’ve satisfied yourself that you “saw” the game, and you still get to see any random good thing your team managed to pull off, but you’ve also not spent the better part of two hours cringing. Win-win! Except for your team, which obviously did not win, like always.

The DJ - Outsource the Suffering

While the ethics of this are a little murky, it has worked for our Maryland “writer,” who has found someone to watch particularly frustrating (football) games for him.

One I’ve started doing with Maryland football is recording it and just waiting for my kids to tell me what good things happened because subjecting myself to watching likely beat downs after the non conference was numbing.

Sure, he has to pay their room and board, but it’s a small price to pay.

How about you? How do you cope with lackluster or downright bad seasons? Tell us in the comments!


What’s your go-to method for easing athletic futility?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    The Boilerman - Make a Quick Buck
    (17 votes)
  • 7%
    The Jesse Collins - SUPERFAN!!!!!
    (12 votes)
  • 14%
    The WSR - Eat Those Feelings!
    (22 votes)
  • 4%
    The Younger WSR - Exercise to Exorcise Your Anger
    (7 votes)
  • 9%
    The Thumpasaurus - Non- Revenue Love
    (15 votes)
  • 8%
    The Beezer - Blame Someone Else (Canada?)
    (14 votes)
  • 16%
    Your Wife’s Favorite - Use Your Time Wisely
    (26 votes)
  • 20%
    The Stew - Limit Your Exposure
    (32 votes)
  • 7%
    The DJ - Outsource the Suffering
    (11 votes)
156 votes total Vote Now