Sometime in our lives we all experience loss. It is a fact of life, we can’t escape it. Following the global outpouring of grief by fans after Pakistan’s recent defeat to India and today’s exit from the Cricket World Cup, I will try to explain the stages we go through. Having followed the Pakistan cricket team for 40 years, I have gone through this cycle many times becoming an expert in the process.
The Kubler-Ross model best describes the stages associated with personal change following an emotional upset eg. Pakistan losing a big cricket match again.
Stage 1 Denial
The refusal to accept the result. We become numb, shocked, dazed, appearing blank. This is our natural initial defence mechanism. Usually this occurs while the supporter is still in the cricket ground. You will recall many of these sad faces in the crowd or on TV. The cameraman usually offers us close ups of this distress. Denial is usually short lived before we move onto the next emotion.
Stage 2 Anger
The Pakistan supporters will be quite familiar with this emotion. After defeat we blame the umpires, players and even technology. Eg. ‘How could they drop those easy catches?’ There may be associated damage to household objects and shouting at the TV, at this point sensible family members will escape from the potentially volatile situation. There may be a temptation to join friends and fellow sufferers in the streets to collectively express their anger. Once this dangerous stage is safely navigated, we move on.
Stage 3 Bargaining
We cool down, reflect on the situation. ‘It was only the first game of the tournament, may be we need to pray more? We are still in with a chance.’ We seek to gain a compromise to maintain hope.
Stage 4 Depression
If all hope is lost, we become low in mood, sad. Develop a poor sleep pattern, appetite is affected. We became depressed. The world appears bleak, our motivation is reduced. This stage can last from a few weeks to months.
Stage 5 Acceptance
After a while we develop some emotional detachment from the situation. Realise what has happened and that there was little we as supporters could do to avoid the situation. We accept the outcome and move on.
At that point we raise our spirits and look forward to the next match or tournament with renewed vigour. Some of the weaker supporters develop a defeatist attitude and take up an individual non- competitive sport or a hobby. Others became closet supporters, pretending not to be interested- but really they are.
The hardcore superfans dust down their green shirts and flags becoming ready for action again.
Stay well, stay happy. Pakistan Zindabad!