With possession of the Governer’s Cup to be decided in 20.5 hours, it has occurred to ..."/> With possession of the Governer’s Cup to be decided in 20.5 hours, it has occurred to ..."/>

Louisville Cardinal Fan Therapy Session: How to deal with loss…#1


With possession of the Governer’s Cup to be decided in 20.5 hours, it has occurred to me that my westward “little brethren” are white knuckling their way through the day.  Coming in ranked #25 in the country, the expectations are high over in the ‘Ville and with high expectation comes high pressure.  You see, this game has significant implications for your program. Wanna see what you lose?

  • Top 25 ranking
  • Respect (Haha)
  • “Momentum?”

Realistically all you lose is the ranking.  You can’t convince many the other two exist. The reality of this game is that Louisville has everything to lose and little to gain.  If you win then you think you should have anyway so that’s a wash but when you lose?  Wow.  On the other hand, Kentucky has nothing to lose and everything to gain.  After all, not many are picking Kentucky to win so when we do, taking down our ranked “little brother” will give us huge momentum for the upcoming season.

And before you all go spouting off about how Kentucky Football has been the porch holding the doormat of the toughest conference in CFB(Vanderbilt) for years, remember two things:

  • We play in the SEC
  • We know

So, in anticipation of tomorrow’s game and the game on 12/29/2012, I am offering you my olive branch.  Below are Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s “5 Stages of Grief” with a little explanation of each by Julie Axelrod.  I’ve taken the time to pare it down a little and break some points down further for the “ones and ones” of Louisville fans out there. You’re welcome.

Denial and Isolation:

The first reaction to learning of terminal illness or death of a loved one -University of Louisville- is to deny the reality of the situation. (Deny all you want, but a Cardinal fan is a cracked out 3 year old kind of crazy) It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. (You can’t rationalize being the fourth best team in the state) It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. (When the fantasy is shattered) We block out the words and hide from the facts. (1948…really?) This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain. (You people sure make temporary look an awful lot like permanent)


As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. (Yes, you are STILL a Cardinal fan) We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. (Irrationally toward “big brother) The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends (do ALL your friends knuckles drag the ground?) or family. Anger may be directed at our dying or deceased loved one. (Charlie Strong if the Hurtt-ing becomes too much) Rationally, we know the person is not to be blamed. (Wrong) Emotionally, however, we may resent the person for causing us pain or for leaving us. We feel guilty for being angry, (Getting caught) and this makes us more angry.

The doctor who diagnosed the illness and was unable to cure the disease might become a convenient target. (NCAA) Health professionals deal with death and dying every day. That does not make them immune to the suffering of their patients or to those who grieve for them. (No but their cold hearts sure do)

Do not hesitate to ask your doctor to give you extra time (You can’t fix stupid) or to explain just once more the details of your loved one’s illness. (See prior advice)
Arrange a special appointment or ask that he telephone you at the end of his day. Ask for clear answers to your questions regarding medical diagnosis and treatment. Understand the options available to you. Take your time. (But not theirs)


The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control–

  • If only we had sought medical attention sooner… (Penicillin doesn’t cure EVERYTHING)
  • If only we got a second opinion from another doctor…
  • If only we had tried to be a better person toward them… (You can only use what you got)


Two types of depression are associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regret predominate this type of depression. (Reality sets in that you have indeed wasted all your time on a fourth rate athletic program) We worry about the costs and burial. (Shovels are cheap) We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us. (Don’t enable other weak minded people) This phase may be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. (Speak slower) We may need a bit of helpful cooperation and a few kind words. (Really slow) The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell. Sometimes all we really need is a hug. (Porcini’s anyone?)


Reaching this stage of mourning is a gift not afforded to everyone. Death may be sudden and unexpected (No, you’ve seen this coming for a long time) or we may never see beyond our anger or denial. It is not necessarily a mark of bravery to resist the inevitable and to deny ourselves the opportunity to make our peace. This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. This is not a period of happiness and must be distinguished from depression. (What is there to be happy about?)

Loved ones that are terminally ill or aging appear to go through a final period of withdrawal. This is by no means a suggestion that they are aware of their own impending death or such, only that physical decline may be sufficient to produce a similar response. Their behavior implies that it is natural to reach a stage at which social interaction is limited. The dignity and grace shown by our dying loved ones may well be their last gift to us. (So stop your arrogant squawking)

Coping with loss is ultimately a deeply personal and singular experience (But there are more than one of you)— nobody can help you go through it more easily or understand all the emotions that you’re going through. (Assumes facts not in evidence: you rarely think therefore are unable to process) But others can be there for you and help comfort you through this process. (Like a junkie feeding a junkie) The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it comes over you. (Here, cry on this) Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing. (There’s nothing natural about THAT)

**NOTES** This post ONLY applies to those on whom the shoe fits. **NOTE**