Post College Football Depression Syndrome

Published 10:47 am Wednesday, January 13, 2016

If you’re an avid college football fan like myself, you most likely woke up on Tuesday with an empty feeling in your stomach. From early September through Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship, you’ve feasted on the countless MACtion and Fun Belt appetizers and consumed more than your share of noon to 2 a.m. Saturdays filled with nothing but your worn-down remote, giant television and wings. Your dessert was — hopefully — watching your favorite team win its bowl game after a successful season.

But, alas, it’s now over.

This is how Andrew feels

This is how Andrew feels

Darkness has fallen on the world of sports, and now we must find something to pass the time until spring football arrives. Even then, it’s only 20 days or so before the gloom returns until practice starts in the fall. And without the opportunity to score 100-plus points on our rivals in NCAA Football 16 — pours one out for the best video game of all time — people like me will instead aimlessly click from one channel to the next in hopes that baseball or basketball will raise our pulse during these long, dreary, football-less months ahead.

Going months on end without the sweet sound of your alma mater’s fight song and the not-so-amateur pageantry of the college game can be a very traumatic experience, I assume it’s much like quitting smoking cold turkey. Sadly, this Post College Football Depression Syndrome (self-diagnosed) cannot be cured with a nicotine patch.

Instead, the next seven months will feature a range of five distinct emotions, all of which are characterized in one of my favorite Disney Pixar movies, “Inside Out.” To help cope with the loss of the first sport I remember watching as a child, and to raise awareness for this condition that will affect millions this offseason, I’ve listed those stages below:

Stage 1: Sadness

It hit as soon as the confetti began to fall upon the champion Alabama Crimson Tide. You tell yourself that it’ll be okay, but you know deep down that you can only take so much SportsCenter features about LeBron James and Steph Curry.

Stage 2: Anger

You’ll find solace in NCAA March Madness, especially if your school is in the tournament. Once your bracket is busted, though, you’ll lash out at your family and coworkers that try to talk to you about anything other than the one thing that would fill the void left in your heart.

Stage 3: Disgust

You may have played baseball as a child and thoroughly enjoyed it like I did, but there isn’t a sport (besides NASCAR) that can be more tedious to watch on television. And unless your favorite team is the San Francisco Giants — who seem to win the World Series every time it’s an even year — you’ll watch 162 games only to be disappointed in the end.

Stage 4: Fear

You long to hear Big and Rich sing “Comin’ to Your City” just one more time, and you begin to ask yourself if you’ll ever again feel the joy and sleepless anxiety that leads up to the first College Gameday broadcast of the season.

Stage 5: Joy

When you finally accept the offseason as a fact of life, you’ll start to receive the preseason prognostication magazines in the mail. Photos of your team’s star players checking into fall camp will be posted to social media, meaning that kickoff is right around the corner. It’s so close that you can smell the food cooking on the tailgate and hear the synchronized cheers of 100,000-plus fans.

It’s going to be a long 228 days until Cal plays Hawai’i in Australia — 227 if you take into account the time zone change — but it’ll be here before we know it.

ANDREW LIND is a staff writer and sports editor at The Tidewater News. He can be reached at 562-3187, or at @AndrewMLind.