The worst bit, of course, is the bad feelings we fans endure afterwards. I was legitimately depressed for the remainder of the weekend, and am just starting to feel better now. I'm eating bad food, drinking beers even though I don't want to get drunk, sleep too much, and mosey aimlessly around the house with a stupid mopey look on my face. The dogs know something is up, and once in a while will saunter over to my spot on the couch and lick my frowning face, hoping their bad breath and saliva will cheer me up. But it doesn't. Nothing does.
It's dumb, you know: letting the actions of millionaire athletes determine your emotional state. But that's what I do, along with so many other fans. We risk the downside of teams losing (bad emotions, stress, maybe some negative impacts on the stock market) for the possible upside of when they win (high fives and smiles). Like Garfunkel and Oates say: go sports.
The sad part is that I regularly hand over my emotions to things other than the Steelers, too. With an annual review coming up, you can bet I have the same risk-reward scenario with my company. If leadership gives me a big raise and a bonus, I'll be happy for a long while. I'll get to tell my wife and then she'll smile and hug me, maybe we'll go out for a fancy dinner, and I will feel proud about being a good provider to the family...until the next annual review. But if the bosses give me nothing, I may feel like a schmuck for the better part of a year.
Similarly, if our investments do well in 2015, then I'm a genius, and good looking, too. If they tank because of some election in Greece, then I'm a loser with a dorky haircut. There is no middle ground. Unless, of course, I grow up and learn to handle my emotions in a healthy way. (Note to self: Possible goal for 2015...achieve emotional maturity of a self-actualized grown-up. Also, lose 15 pounds.)
Most of us would probably agree that emotions and money get tangled together in a messy way. We accept it. But is there really any reason for us to marry those things to one another? It's a weird pairing. There are few things in this world that ought to be less emotional than financial decisions. We want logic to rule when it comes to our finances. And nothing ruins a genuinely romantic or otherwise genuine moment quicker than money. Plus, a lot of the good (and bad) things that happen to us regarding money have only a little to do with our personal actions. So, at least when it comes to emotions and money, why not try a little segregation?
It's like the alcoholics tell us: some stuff is in our control, and some stuff isn't...so be smart and remember the difference. It's something like that. Anyway, maybe they're right: we ought to recognize that a lot of stuff is in someone else's hands, and we shouldn't let that get us too high or too low.
Or, you know, we can just stay on the roller coaster. After all, my annual review is coming right up and, hey, the Penguins are in first place. If Crosby can stay healthy, they'll have a shot. Maybe this will be a good year after all.
*Photo is from ChadCooperPhotos at Flickr Creative Commons.