For Yankees fans, the realm of dreams has turned into a nightmare.
After watching the New York Yankees see their season in its absolute worst – a 6-2 wild card defeat against arch-rivals Boston Red Sox – the Bronx Bombers loyalists are feeling beyond the blue that only a lifeless and dull Wednesday in the Big Apple.
Now all that’s left for Yankees fans is a deep sadness, an emptiness, a sense of hopelessness, anger, worthlessness, jealousy and troubling feelings that are beyond words—especially for those who “get it.” don’t” as diehards do.
That is sports depression. It is a legitimate mental health condition that licensed professional counselor Greg Miller has been treating for years at ThriveWorks in Cherry Hill, NJ.
Miller knows this pain well as a self-confessed victim of sports depression in 2013 when the San Francisco 49ers, his favorite football team, defeated Edgar Allan Poe from the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII.
“Sports depression is like losing a job or a relationship: It’s something you put in a lot of time, psychologically, emotionally, and physically,” Miller told the Post, quickly acknowledging that the Yankees’ one-game playoff is more than just one. More was the game for New York.
“It was a systemic sporting issue for an entire city upon which a game really hinged. . . . Now fans will hear about it all fall and winter going 1-3 at the Giants and Jets, plus, Who knows what the Knicks and Nets will be, Islanders and Rangers too.
So, as New Yorkers — who are still awaiting the city’s decade-long title drought — brace for a bleak decline already with Boston-related bragging rights, sports gloomy fans begin to lament. it happens.
“It’s a sad process. Essentially, it’s an entire region of the country that is going through grief simultaneously and together,” Miller said of what Yankee fans will endure.
What does that process look like? For one thing, it has already started.
The game takes the grief Kubler-Ross model of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance—and according to Miller, those middle three overlap with each other, detailing when each stage is most important to fans. it happens.
This one came early and two runs through as Xander Bogarts hit Yankee Gerrit Cole home in the first innings. Those feelings became more apparent in the third inning when the Bombers’ ace pitcher was shaken after a shocking subpar night.
“That was the sucker punch,” Miller explained. “Many fans were quick to disengage with the argument of ‘it’s okay, it’s still early’, but it’s really just a way of deflecting how much the game means to you and your team.” How much is frustrating you. Then the doubt really starts to set in and it leads to anger.”
Fans can thank Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin for catalyzing the moment.
He gave Aaron Judge the green light for a home run in the sixth inning, on a play where throw number 99 was waiting, before he came close to the plate from afar.
Ultimately, the odd ball position reduced the Yankees’ best chance of getting back into the game.
“No matter how much the fans prepare for the worst case scenario, it’s the thing you don’t see coming that knocks you down,” said Miller of the game’s biggest error relating to a third base coach rather than a player. said.
The sudden burst of suppressed frustration turned into anger, the yelling at the TV, the outright meltdown in public, more than one bonehead play is often the moment when things are no longer about the team but personal.
“It’s a feeling that they’re letting me down, and it gets internalized,” Miller said. “Sports fans have a lot to do with that, when it comes to their teams, they expect things out of entitlement. But then the anger starts to boil over, and you go soft on the next stage.”
This is where the questions of “what if” begin to sink in in the form of cognitive distortion.
While this moment strikes different fans at different moments, it often comes only when hope is running out.
What if Yankee DJ Lemhieu didn’t make it to the injured list just before the playoffs? What if Cole brought his A game? What if the Yankees’ bats didn’t go subzero cold? What if Nevin didn’t pull off one of the biggest blunders in third-base coaches’ history?
“Psychologically there’s a big difference between ‘could’ and ‘should’,” Miller said. “All fantasy fans are now asking themselves to fall into the category of ‘could.’ Do it because the roads are not built and move on.
An Alex Verdugo two-RBI single in the seventh inning took the score to 6-1, the moment when depression sank for many Yankee fans.
“That’s when ‘I can’t even be mad about it anymore, all I can do now is sit with this discomfort’ . . . once you have that moment, it can go many ways But there is almost always separation involved,” Miller said. “It’s a lonely feeling.”
Whether it’s turning off the game, leaving the room with the people you’re seeing, or even going to the bathroom for a moment, when depression hits.
At this point in time, many fans will be looking for confirmation of how they feel, or even sympathy from others who are going through a similar form of pain and defeat.
A social element also comes into play here.
“Now Yankees fans are starting to realize their friends and rivals will have everything over them from Boston and that adds to the depression,” he explained.
Of course, those Red Sox loyalists were quick to rub it in by playing Jennifer Lopez’s music at Fenway Park after being decidedly late in the game.
That depression can be so severe that it leads to sleep deprivation or persistent oversleeping, frequent isolation, changes in appetite, and other associated symptoms.
“If you experience any of these,” Miller said, “it’s worth it to talk to a professional for help.”
“Only a few rare ones” have reached this point.
Most fans are still mired in a depression after such a damning loss that Red Sox fans will hang over the Yankees’ heads for eternity.
“Today is not the time to process. It is time to take care of yourself,” Miller said, suggesting to see a friend for lunch or dinner, get out of the house for positive reasons, or simply Enough, just take a break from sports. “It’s okay to take the day off from watching sports. It doesn’t make you a bad fan . . . otherwise you’re looking at a long winter with depressive symptoms if you can’t begin to rationalize Huh.”
Putting it bluntly, Miller said that acceptance isn’t always a positive process, and, in fact, it can be quite brutal—like the chances of the Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays or Houston Astros winning this entire year. Coming to terms with that, which in itself can cause the associated grieving process to start all over again – but moving on is essential.
“Life will reveal itself as it normally would for five months without the Yankees.”
Miller also explained the sixth stage of grief that is now being studied professionally: finding meaning or purpose.
So, as Yankees fans have endured what’s no doubt a disappointing off-season, it’s important to look back on 2021 and determine “here’s what I learned about myself, the team, and what to expect next year.” Is.”
For fans who follow through, they will come to self-realization along the lines of the Yankees, not really the giant titans of baseball as they previously believed.
Then they would come up with some positive endings, such as: Giancarlo Stanton rose to the occasion and proved himself to be a worthy investment and a valuable member of the team.
There’s a lot to unpack and take in spring training, but, ideally, fans who are suffering from depressive episodes at the hands of the Yankees will be able to make a healthy move before April.
“There will be another season – that sport is the linchpin acceptance of depression.”