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FanTake: Five Stages of Twitter Grief During a Duke Basketball Loss

Saturday’s game, being broadcast on ESPN3 and not on any local television stations, afforded me the rare opportunity to “watch” a game unfold on Twitter. Of course I had the play by play screen in front of me on my computer, but the tweets really gave me the information I needed to figure out exactly why Duke lost to a team with a kitten footprint as its logo.

Another thing I noticed was the hilarity with which Duke fans use Twitter. As the end of the game drew near, and the finality of the loss began to set in for fans, they took to Twitter to bemoan and beg, to vent their frustrations and to offer helpful suggestions such as “WHERE THE *$&#^$ IS MARSHALL PLUMLEE,” and my personal favorite, which I can only assume was the beginning of a very fervent prayer that was never finished, at least for the public record:

After the game was over, and I was finished sobbing uncontrollably onto my phone screen, I started making the connection between your tweets and the Kübler-Ross model, otherwise known as the five stages of grief. The stages are:

    1. Denial
    2. Anger
    3. Bargaining
    4. Depression
    5. Acceptance

And while I’m not sure that all of us have hit stage five, I’d like to take you now through your very own Kübler-Ross model of Twitter during a Duke loss.

1. Denial

“This can’t be happening.”
“No way.”
“Parker has to be sick.”

For Duke fans, denial isn’t just a river in Egypt (eh? I’ll show myself out thanks). I think the biggest lie any Duke fan could tell themselves this year is “Oh, we’ve got a great lead on them, no way they come back.” Denying things doesn’t make them any less true; it only causes more pain in the end. And I’ve never seen anyone in more denial than a Duke fan on Twitter in the first five minutes of a game. Of course denial leads to…

2. Anger

One of the things I love most about Duke fans on Twitter is their burning, seething anger in regards to all things losing and baby blue colored. In fact, I believe I saw a tweet the other day that said, “Nobody hates Duke more than their own fans.” While I think that’s a tad extreme, it seems at times justified when I see, “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PUT IN PLUMLEE YOU IDIOT” pasted on my timeline with 22 retweets and a couple hundred stars. After the anger though comes…

3. Bargaining

I’m almost positive that at some point I’ve uttered the phrase, “God if you just let us get this basket I’ll never use the ‘F’ word again I swear. Then, the second the ball goes in, I jump of the couch and blatantly break my promise to the Good Lord, repeatedly, whilst running around the house shaking my wife, my dogs, and anything else I can get my hands on. However, when the ball doesn’t go in and we lose, I sit quietly with my head down, wondering why God hates me enough to make me feel this pain. And of course that leads to…

4. Depression

“Why do I love college basketball?” “Why do I set such high standards for a team that obviously has imperfections?” “Why am I eating 16,000 calories worth of ice cream because Clemson beat us, BY DOUBLE DIGITS?” There are a lot of questions after a loss, and normally they all get posted on Twitter. I think a good bit of depression is understandable, in fact last year after our loss to…well, you know who, I tweeted “Missouri loves company,” and then had a glass of whiskey. However, if you find yourself on a ledge somewhere after a Duke loss, do us all a favor and maybe apply that intensity to something else. Come on back inside and lets eat this ice cream together. It’s Rocky Road, which is appropriate for March I think. And finally, just like March, all roads lead to…

5. Acceptance

No matter how much you want to, you can’t turn that clock back. Not unless you’re Superman, and if I find out one of you has the ability to fly around the world backwards and reverse time and you haven’t been doing it to help Duke win games, I’m going to shove kryptonite in your nostril. Acceptance is where you normally see a shortage of cursing on Twitter, instead seeing things like, “Well, you can’t win them all,” and “I guess everyone has bad days,” and “IF ONLY HE WOULD HAVE PUT IN MARSHALL PLUMLEE.” You see a lot of coaching tips, a lot of sad tweets to players telling them to keep their heads up, and a lot of “We’ll beat the piss out of Virginia, surely.”

What are your five stages of Twitter grief when you’re witnessing a Duke loss? Do you have a specific stage you get stuck on or have trouble moving past?

Make sure you follow all the Tweeters mentioned in this article and then come follow me too at @tstyles77!