There’ve been a lot of good days to be a Texas A&M football fan the past few years, but Saturday was not one of them. There’s no good reason to relive the full details of the 59-0 shellacking the team received against Alabama (if you want it as an allegorical GIF, SBNation has you covered), but anyone who needs a refresher on the five stages of grief as outlined by psychologist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her famous model for grieving just need look at A&M fans’ tweets from the game.
The first stage of grief started out before the game even kicked off, as some A&M fans expressed optimism that a struggling team coming off of losses to Mississippi State and Ole Miss might somehow rebound against the football powerhouse that is Alabama. After the game got off to a 3-0 start for Alabama, that sort of ill-fated optimism continued—and throughout the game, some managed to cling to that sort of hope. Even after the game, there were fans looking for a silver lining in the Aggies’ near future.
After denial comes bargaining, in which the bereaved attempt to find some way that they could affect the situation that led to the loss. For A&M fans, that came in the form of pleas to a higher power to “make it stop”—a request even the most famous Aggie in the land, Johnny Manziel, made (and then deleted, accompanied as it was by a “hahaha” that seemed to undermine the seriousness of the prayer)—as well as novel suggestions for new ways to stop the indomitable Crimson Tide. Ultimately, though, the most realistic bargain was merely a plea for some Aggie points to avoid the embarrassment of a shutout.
Once the bereaved begins to understand that the outcome is irreversible, the next stage of grief is inevitably anger: The cosmic unfairness of the events transpiring lead to a semi-coherent rage as disbelief gives way to incredulity. That was particularly evident mid-way through the game, as the chance of an A&M comeback became to seem like a sick joke, and fans who traveled to Alabama (as well as those who watched at home) were forced to confront that this was really happening.
As anger subsides, depression sets in. It’s at this point that the bereaved recognizes that he or she will wake the next day in a world in which the Aggies are on a three-game losing streak, punctuated by the sort of defeat that seemed to be many years in the past. Instead of praying for the return of some conquering hero stuck warming a bench in Cleveland, they’re left to just lament his absence. Depression is perhaps the cruelest of the stages of grief.
The final stage of grief is, of course, acceptance. At this point, the depression has faded, the anger has passed, the bargaining is through, and the denial is untenable. All that’s left is to look at what’s left in life, and realize that you’ll continue on. In the case of the Aggies, that acceptance looked like a blend of optimism for the (eventual) future, the satisfaction that comes with knowing that, loss or no, you still have Shiner, and some gloating about the things that you have that Alabama students and graduates do not that come from outside of the realm of football.