Philly sports fans struggle with emotional losses

It was a devastating weekend for Philly sports fans, with crushing losses for both the Phillies and the Eagles. Two dream teams, two nightmare games, and lots of emotions to sort through for those who watched it all happen.

Philadelphian Ed Ferruggia says that three days after the fateful season-ending Phillies’ loss, fans are going through different stages of grief.

“It’s gotten kind of depressing, I think people have accepted it because Philly fans are used to tragedy,” said Ferruggia. “I think they’re into acceptance. Although they may still be in anger, actually.”

It’s a dark cloud that descends over neighborhoods, says playwright Bruce Graham. His one-man show “The Philly Fan” opens at People’s Light and Theatre Oct. 20. Living in the heart of South Philadelphia, he doesn’t even have to watch the game to know that there’s been a loss.

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“Just walking my dog down Two Street, you can feel this quiet, this simmering resignation. You walk by the open doors of the bars and it’s lifeless,” said Graham.

Devastated after the Phillies’ loss, psychologist Dan Gottlieb tried to focus his mental energy on the Eagles, thinking that they would have a great game. He says he was completely crushed after their loss.

In his role as a therapist, Gottlieb usually counsels people that self- pity is toxic. But he says sports offers a soul-cleansing opportunity to just wallow in it.

“The football game is on, and we’re eating stuff like toxic waste and greasy chips and wings, and the Eagles are going down the toilet and we just whine and feel sorry for ourselves, and it feels so good,” he said.

Graham adds that being a Philly fan is good for the creative spirit, and makes for great jokes because comedy is based on frustration.

Generally speaking, Philly sports fans report that having low expectations is a good strategy to avoid disappointment.  Dan Gottlieb reminds fans that there is always next Sunday.

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