It takes countless tragedies to lead a man down a road that ends at the face-paint store.
Watching your favorite team lose is a difficult task. Some people, like myself, will stubbornly watch every last second of a blowout loss. Others, like my grandfather, will turn the game off the moment it becomes hopeless. Everyone reacts differently, and that's perfectly okay.
Despite the euphoria created by Urban Meyer's arrival at Ohio State, Buckeye fans at large can't expect Ohio State to steamroll through 2012 unscathed. Coaching transitions are never seamless, and that's important to realize when looking forward to the upcoming season.
While not impossible, 12 victories seems very unlikely for Ohio State this fall. Because of that, I went the proactive route and created a guide for a wide range of people and personalities to help Buckeye Nation digest Urban Meyer's first loss. Choose the guide that fits you best, print it out and have it ready for when the time comes.
A Guide for the non-vested significant other of OSU fans
Step 1: Avoid all of your natural instincts. Your brain is telling you to cheer your mate up by offering things like, “Well they tried really hard,” or “I’m sure they’ll do better next week.” This is the last thing they want to hear. In fact, it would be better if you said nothing at all. Silence can be a symphony sometimes, and this is one of those moments.
Step 2: You know that list of things-to-do your spouse was supposed to go through after the game? Yeah, that list is effectively cancelled until Sunday evening (at the earliest). I know it’s hard, but they'll do a piss-poor job in the state they're in now, and they'll be thankful and do much more thorough work if you allow them to postpone their duties until they recover.
Step 3: Go buy alcohol. You might think you have plenty in the house, but we assure you it isn’t enough. While you’re out, pick up a good flick at Red Box. The last thing anyone will want to do is think about anything football related again anytime soon. Distractions are healthy.
A Guide for the Optimist
Step 1: Smile. It’s tough right now, but you just watched a loss that wasn’t the result of Jim Bollman or Walrus-ball. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was any of the former or current National Championship contenders. Growing pains occur all the time -- remember Ohio State’s 2001 team that went 7-5?
Step 2: Keep to yourself. You are a rare breed and very likely surrounded by multiple pessimists ready to explode. Any attempt to cheer them up will only fuel their sour mood. Avoid saying things like, "We’re making progress," or "At least we now have the ability to mix up our snap count." Knowing these things is one thing, but sharing them to the wrong person at the wrong time will result in a depressingly negative conversation.
Step 3: Form your perspective. Ohio State’s rebuilding process is relatively easy when compared to similar situations in the past. Remember when Michigan didn’t know the difference between defense and, "Hey great job, here’s a teddy bear you guys!" It could be a lot worse, so don’t worry. Things are in good shape.
A Guide for Face-Paint Bros
Step 1: Re-evaluate the crap out of your life because something is terribly, terribly wrong.
Step 2: Repeat until the thought of buying face-paint sounds as silly to you as it does the rest of us.
A Guide for the Pessimist
Step 1: Calm down. This is important for many reasons, but mainly because fans of the opposing team are dancing at the sight of your misery. If you glance at the mirror and you look like this, this or this, you must do this immediately and get through it. This is especially true if you’re at the game. Sometimes it’s cool to do something that gets you on the Internet, but this is not one of those occasions.
Step 2: Avoid people and find your happy place. Have some go-to games in your DVR that remind you of a better time. The Big Ten Network replays all kinds of great games like the ‘02 National Championship game, the ‘06 OSU-UM game, or last year’s Wisconsin game. Watching these will take the edge off, if you allow it.
Step 3: Make people aware. Everyone has that person in their life that wants to talk about the game, regardless of how pissed you are about it. These people most likely work with you, and they’ll want to detail exactly what they think went wrong regardless of how busy you pretend to be. If you’re up front with everyone you associate with saying you don’t want to talk about the game, burying the pain and emotion becomes a whole lot easier.
A Guide for the Bros (A Murder of Bros?) on High Street
Step 1: While you and your friends are acting really cool and throwing beer at anyone dressed in enemy colors, take a step back and realize how big of an asshole you are. This is important.
Step 2: Repeat until Buckeye Nation doesn’t have the "They’re the worst fan base in America" title anymore. The fact that we’re edging Notre Dame in this category is just as appalling as it is embarrassing.
Bonus: A Guide for Michigan Fans
Congratulations, a winner is you!
Step 1: Celebrate! We encourage you to celebrate with fellow Michigan Men, but identifying them can be tricky. If you’re having trouble with that, challenge the person in question to jingle their keys the Michigan way. If said person can ignore the pain and ferociously shake their keys for five consecutive minutes, well, you’ve got yourself a Michigan Man! Celebrate and laugh until your throat goes dry.
Step 2: Build confidence! This loss means the universe is starting to right itself back into shape. You’ve had to endure some dark days, but things are returning to the way they should be. "Ohio" is losing and your team finally has a coach who gets it. Hoke is passionate. Hoke is tenacious. Sure, he’s equal parts portly and annoying, but he’s recruiting the right kids and coaching the right way. What you need right now is to dig deep for an arrogance and self-entitlement of yesteryear that makes you so positively delightful.
Step 3: Troll! Find the best places for "Ohio" butthurt and troll until you’re maize and blue in the face. Some may look down on this practice, but hey, you can’t just up and hide all that swag. Trolling is best done with CAPS LOCK and an abundance of nonsensical taunting. Call their coach Urban Cryer (IT RHYMES!) and their team NOhio or LOLhio. If you don’t receive at least one Internet death threat, you’re not trolling hard enough.
We hope this helps. If none of these guides fit you -- you’re either not built for the aftermath of a single rebuilding season or utterly dead inside. Go somewhere else because you are lost.