Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Cut Michigan slack, losing could happen here too

With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter and the Badgers trailing UNLV by a point, Wisconsin faced a crucial fourth down inside Rebel territory. A failure to convert the first down would make losing a very real possibility. Fans of the Cardinal and White across the country focused their attention on the expected recipient of the ball, running back P.J. Hill, but I wasn't thinking about the action on the field at Sam Boyd Stadium at all. Instead, my thoughts drifted someplace Badger fans won't see at all this season. I started to think about Ann Arbor, Mich.

Like many other Wisconsin football fans, as well as pretty much everyone not an ardent Michigan fan, I've taken immense pleasure in watching the Wolverines start their season with two embarrassing home loses, putting the Rose Bowl hopefuls in an 0-2 hole to start the year.

I've text messaged taunts to friends at Michigan, laughed out loud at their misfortunes, and spent plenty of time watching the highlights of the losses, but facing a possible defeat at the hands of UNLV, I realized that the suffering occurring right now in Ann Arbor could very well happen at any time in Madison.

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Caught up in the hype surrounding an undefeated season and national championship, Michigan fans learned the hard way that "perfect" is not a word fit to describe football teams and seasons. Michigan’s struggles should be not used as an opportunity to jeer, but rather as an opportunity to learn. After all, it could happen here too.

Even though Hill picked up the first down, setting up Tyler Donovan’s game-winning touchdown, the thought of losing has firmly been planted in my head.

If Michigan, with their Heisman Trophy-candidate running back and preseason No. 5 ranking can go down twice, surely UW is not unbeatable.

With that concept now understood, it becomes clear that the losses and subsequent ridicule that Wolverine fans have been faced with is not something that can be cast aside and avoided; instead it must be expected and accounted for. Actions taken now will affect the ones we will take later.

For example, almost immediately after Appalachian State beat Michigan, I proudly declared I’d be ordering and wearing a Mountaineers shirt to the Wisconsin-Michigan game in attempt to really stick it to the Wolverine fans. Soon though, it became apparent to me that it wasn’t such a good idea, and that in doing so I’d be tempting the fickle and merciless college football karma god to act with vengeance toward me (also, Ohio State fans beat me to the punch). Although losing is not preventable, there’s no need to ask for it to happen.

So, with a Boy Scout-like attitude of "be prepared," here are some steps fans can take to make an inevitable upset (not necessarily this year, but sometime in the future) a little more bearable.

Don’t take too much pleasure in the defeats of rivals

What goes around comes around. All the voicemails and Facebook messages you thought were so funny at the time won’t seem so amusing when everyone you know piles on you after an upset. Save the trash talk for people who don’t know how to reach you.

Start with low expectations

A way of life traditionally favored by pessimists, expecting the worst may lead to some unnecessary stress at times, but at least when the big loss occurs, you will have already convinced yourself that it was going to happen. Plus, wins become that much sweeter when you’ve convinced yourself a win isn’t in the cards.

Savor the good times

Knowing that things won’t always be so great means that when they are you should enjoy them even more. UW won’t always have a top 10 football team, so live it up now. Also, when tough defeats do happen, it’s the good times that you’ll want to look to for solace.

Find an outlet to channel your anger

Though the popular decision after a tough loss may be to turn directly to alcohol, there are other ways to take out frustration. Health nuts have working out, but I’d suggest finding something defenseless to pummel instead. Try a pillow or a punching bag — definitely something that doesn’t breathe.

Don’t care so much

Contrary to some fans' belief, losing is not the end of the world. Sure it hurts, but if your self-worth is caught up in the outcome of a football game, then you might want to reconsider your priorities. After all, starting quarterbacks probably aren’t losing sleep on how your econ test went, and if they are, the losing might come sooner than we thought.

Mike is a sophomore majoring in journalism. If you’d like to offer another way to cope with losing (that means you, Cubs fans) he can be reached at [email protected].

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