Overwatch League has had an incredible second season, with the introduction of multiple expansion teams, multiple upsets of top-tier teams, and several teams managing perfect 7-0 stages. That said, it hasn’t been easy for everyone: for every win one team gets, another team gets the matching loss, and some teams get more than most, with the LA Valiant going 0-7 in stage 1 and the Houston Outlaws doing the same in Stage 2.
It’s a tough time to be a fan of either of the green teams, is what I’m saying.
I’m a fan of both the Valiant and the Outlaws; I’m also a fan of the Denver Broncos, the Colorado Rockies, and Air Force Academy sports, all of which have had some high highs and even lower lows. I’ve had several decade’s worth of experience cheering for teams through good seasons and through bad, which means I’ve developed a few tricks for weathering the storm. To those having a rough time with their green teams, and for those fans of non-green teams who are also not having the best stage (I see you there, Justice and Mayhem fans, and I love you too): these are for you.
- Give Yourself Permission To Be Sad
It’s always hard when your team loses – this is a constant. If you’ve been a sports fan for a while, you may have been here before, and while it’s not a fun feeling, it’s at least a familiar one that you know how to handle. If Overwatch League is your first introduction to sports fandom, however, this one might be a little more difficult to field. It’s just a game, right? And you weren’t even playing! You shouldn’t be sad about that, right?
Wrong. You were emotionally invested in the outcome of a team’s performance, and it went poorly. It’s okay to be upset, regardless of the cause. Go ahead and be sad; yell into the void about how you would’ve done better if the other team hadn’t eaten that grav; curse GOATS meta with all your might; get into it as much as you need to. It’s okay.
(Just don’t start a riot or anything. Not all of sports fandom is worth emulating, and that’s a bit too far.)
- Limit Your Social Media Intake
Twitter is depressing after a string of losses. You’ll have players on their personal accounts apologizing for not doing better, which are heartbreaking when you know they’ve been doing their best; you’ll have the tweet from the official team, which isn’t a bad thing until you see all the angry people in the replies. It’s a quagmire sometimes, and it’s not worth putting into your eyeballs if you’re already upset.
If you can leave supportive comments without falling victim to trainwreck syndrome and reading the angry ones, go ahead! Be supportive, and then go look at a Twitter feed that makes you happy. (I recommend EmergencyKittens.) If you can’t, or if the negativity is going to be too much for you, then give yourself some time away. This holds true for Instagram, tumblr, Reddit, or anywhere else you’re in Overwatch League fandom. If it hurts too much, take a break.
- Watch Something Else
Don’t dwell – do something else instead to take your mind off of it. Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube are always good places to turn, especially if you’re looking for a comedy special or something animated and fun. (Or HBO Go if you just want to watch The Wire for the fifth time. Whatever makes you happy.) If you want more Overwatch in your life, the Overwatch League twitch channel has VODs for this season and all of last season, perfect for reliving your team’s glory days. If you want to watch top-tier Overwatch play that you haven’t seen before, why not dive into the Contenders scene? The current season is going strong, especially for Florida’s Academy team; I also have it on good authority that the Contenders Korea Season 2 finals are a fantastic watch.
- Do Some Self-Care
You’ve given yourself the time to feel sad; now it’s time to take care of yourself and do something that makes you happy, or at least soothes the ache. Take a hot bath with that bath bomb you’ve been saving. Have some ice cream. Pet a kitty, or a puppy, or an animal of your choice. Play video games. Take a walk. Do whatever it is you need to do to pick yourself up a little. You’ve had a rough emotional time, and you deserve it.
(It should go without saying, but please be responsible with your self-care! We’ve all wanted a stiff drink after a particularly bad match; just don’t go overboard. You’ve got this.)
- Pick A Team For the Stage Playoffs
This might be the hardest thing to do, especially if you’re ride or die for your team. That said, it’s absolutely worth doing, especially if you’re the type of person who enjoys something more if you’re invested in it. You don’t have to throw in for your stage playoffs as hard as you do for your main team, though you might find you like cheering for them as much as you like cheering for your mains, and hey, that’s great! Despite what Reddit says, you are allowed and even encouraged to cheer for more than one team. (That’s also how I wound up with five teams and zero regrets, and I highly recommend it.)
If you’re having trouble picking your playoffs team, try one of these strategies:
- Personality: Are you a Jjonak fan? Grab your blue, because you’re rooting for NYXL! Is Super more your jam? Get some orange, because you’re pulling for the Shock!
- Geographical location: Seattle doesn’t have its own OWL team, but Vancouver sure does. Cheer on your neighbors to the north!
- Mascot: That lion shield is AWESOME. Sure, you can root for the Gladiators this time around!
- Colors: Your entire wardrobe is blue anyway, so why not #BurnBlue? Go Dallas!
It’s simple, it’s straightforward, and it doesn’t have to be forever – just for the next week. If it’ll help you enjoy the finals, absolutely pick another team to root for and just have a good time.
Above all else, remember: this too shall pass. There will be changes in the bye week, and Stage 3 will be here before you know it, with a fresh start for your favorite green team. For now, do what you can to take a breather, be there for your team and your fellow fan, and enjoy the finals.
— Katie Cullen