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How We Can Keep Our Emotions in Check: A Chiefs Fan’s Survival Guide

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By: Tanner Funk

It’s astonishing just how much sports mean to all of us. It really shouldn’t though. A sports game outcome directly impacts our lives in no way shape or form. But as Chiefs fans, we know the outcome of a game can have a major impact on our overall mood, attitude, and general well-being for at least 48 hours. Sometimes sadly for much longer. 

This was no truer than on January 30, 2022, when the Chiefs blew an 18-point lead in the AFC Championship, and we had to see the Bengals celebrate on our home field. It was gut-wrenching. Even by the Chiefs’ play-off pain standards. There have been numerous playoff debacles but this one just stung differently. This was not supposed to happen with Mahomes as our quarterback and this team were good enough to win a Super Bowl. It still stings to this day as I write this column over six months later.

My father, who has a love for the Chiefs like no other person I know, was equally distraught but decided to remind me of a loss that according to him, was far worse.  This of course was the famous Christmas Day game when the Chiefs lost to the Dolphins in the “longest game ever played.” He states jokingly that he still hasn’t gotten over it and trust me I believe him. “If Stenerud had just made one of his three kicks we would have won the game and we would have won the Super Bowl that year. That was the best team we ever had. Even better than the Super Bowl IV team.” Time unfortunately doesn’t heal all wounds it appears for some Chiefs fans. This was almost 50 years ago. 

But does it have to be this way? With all that is going on in the world right now should a Chiefs game outcome have that much of an impact on our lives and emotional and mental health? Why do sports outcomes have such an enormous impact on our lives and even how we function and collaborate with one another? These are all amazing questions to ponder. Trust me, I have spent more than enough time analyzing some possible answers and even conducting some much-needed reflection on my behaviors.

Maybe this Chiefs season can be different for many of us. I don’t exclude myself from this because my emotions during Chiefs games are not always something I am proud of after the fact. From the endorphin rush of a thrilling victory and a ridiculous appetite for post-game reactions and highlights to the feeling of 30-pound brick in your stomach when you wake up on Monday morning after a tough loss, the emotional roller coaster is very real.

The good news is there is help on the way. Without further delay, here are the top five things we can do this year to help keep our emotional balance in check for the upcoming season:

  1. Remember, the sun is going to blow up someday and the earth will then be destroyed. Does it really matter if the Chiefs lost to the Bengals in overtime? Not really. Perspective is everything.
  2. Will you get a raise or a promotion if the Chiefs win or will your car be keyed if they lose? Nope. Perspective is everything.
  3. Have you watched the news lately and are we aware of what really matters in our world today? Perspective is everything.
  4. Our lives are so busy, and we have so many things we have to do each day and so many people to care for including ourselves. We need all of the emotional and physical energy we can get. If the Chiefs lose, is it worth allowing even one drop of this energy to go to waste? Nope. Perspective is everything.
  5. Finally, as a wise man once said, never ever allow the outcome of any sports game to affect how you view your own life, your sense of happiness, or affect your self-esteem.  The final score of a game should never affect your self-esteem for better or for worse. This is not an indictment on you. Its just a game. Perspective is everything.

I will certainly try my best to abide by these rules during this upcoming season. I doubt I will live up to them all. When the best player on the planet is your quarterback it’s hard not to allow your emotions and imagination to run wild. That can be the fun part about sports too. It’s an escape. It’s an escape that we all need from time to time. This can be wonderful for our emotional and mental health. 

I will never forget the night we won Super Bowl 54 and seeing how much it meant to so many people in our fantastic city and throughout the country. We all want this feeling again. Why wouldn’t we?  Can we have these fantastic celebrations and embrace these moments after amazing victories? Absolutely. Let’s just not let the tough losses take one second away from the things in our lives that are truly important. Remember…. it’s just a game.

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