For the Dismayed Fan: 10 things to do when your offense is bringing you down

It’s the second week of the National Football League season. As I gaze out across the vast expanse of football fandom and traverse the wild terrain of posts, comment threads and Tweets, I’ve made a striking observation: There are some fans that are unhappy with their team’s offense. In particular, they’re unhappy with the offensive line. Seriously. It’s a thing. And for some poor souls, this is causing significant stress, anxiety and displeasure. It’s disrupting their thoughts and poking at their fundamental sense of well-being. I’m not a football expert nor am I a certified mental health professional. Still, I know this pain well and would like to help. Here are ten suggestions for when your offense- especially your offensive line- is giving you the blues:

  1. Keep breathing. Try not to pass out. That said, a temporary loss of consciousness may be a relief.
  2. Look at stats from the latest game. Maybe there are a few buried gems that will bring you some comfort. For example, perhaps your rookie running back rushed for 93 yards on 3 carries.
  3. Food. I know, I know. All the psychologists says not to stuff your feelings with food. But just do it, at least during the game anyway. I’m told crunchy foods are good for countering anxiety, but do whatever works for you. Last week, I took the edge off with dark chocolate peanut M&M’s. This week, I went for tortilla chips. The former was more effective for mood adjustment. However, the latter generated less self-loathing after the fact.
  4. Listen to sports radio. The analysts are experts on the game. Some are even former players. They have a more sophisticated understanding than a lot of us and may very well offer up some observations that give you reason to be optimistic about your team’s offensive proficiencies. In some expert camps, for example, pulling out a win late in the fourth quarter demonstrates a special kind of moxie. As one quarterback was quoted as saying, “there’s beauty in the struggle.” Perspective.
  5. Get support from other people, preferably from trusted friends as opposed to fellow fans in social media groups. While you may find some kindred spirits there, it’s also a breeding ground for trolls. No matter what the subject–missed field goal attempts, bad play calling, awesome catches or shitty o-lines–the trolls will jump in with their vile racist chatter about players they don’t like or agree with. Who needs ugly non sequiturs? You’re trying to feel better, not worse. Stick with your friends.
  6. Summon up some of your personal voo doo mojo. Make a shrine for your offensive line. Call it an o-shrine. Or for an Irish twist, O’Shrine. Adorn it with trinkets that you believe will bring good luck to the team. Create daily rituals to generate positive energy for the players. Chant, using impressive Super Bowl stats as your mantra. Come up with your own touchdown celebration dance and perform it in front of lit candles every day during the season.
  7. Try accidentally whacking your foot against a hard surface, breaking a few toes. The pain in your foot will instantaneously eclipse whatever pain you’re feeling about your offense. I did this very thing over the weekend, and it was effective. It’s dumb, but go for it! (And yes, I get the irony of “trying” to do something “accidentally.” Just work with me already.)
  8. Watch a lot of games with other teams. You’ll discover that some fans have it worse than you do.
  9. Choose a name of any player in the NFL. It doesn’t necessarily have to be someone on your team. Pick a name that has an interesting sound or cadence. Say it again and again and again….out loud….in silly voices. Play around with accentuation and inflection. I’ll use Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as an example. First, just say it normally–“Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.” Next, try putting the emphasis on the second “Ha,” as in Ha HA Clinton-Dix.” After that, maybe try “HA HA Clinton-Dix,” using a sing-songy voice like ha, ha, made you look. Another angle, “Ha Ha Clinton….DIX.” The possibilities are endless. This will do absolutely nothing to change the situation with your offense, but it will temporarily distract you from your pain.
  10. Walk outside. Look at the skies. Feel the sun on your face. Let go. For all your rumination, yelling at the television and complaining to your friends on Facebook, the success or failure of your team’s offense is ultimately beyond your control. Enjoy the spaciousness of being unburdened. Float there. And if your team won this week, in spite of a bad performance by the offense, take a deep bow and give thanks to the football gods and goddesses.
  11. BONUS TIP:  Watch Marshawn! Start here or here. Beast Mode never fails to entertain and somehow always makes everything better, unless you’re a Jets fan.