Stages of Wolfpack Grief – Where Are You?

With last night’s loss, it’s pretty clear that NC State will finish 4-12 in ACC play, with no post-season. We will finish last if Virginia wins one of its final four games.

Even so, I managed to watch last night’s game with a relaxed and calm demeanor. I don’t remember so much as a “damn it” coming from my mouth, or a scowl on my face. My 6-year old got pretty exasperated, but I assured her that everything was fine, and I was pretty used to it [losing] by now. This got knowing smiles from the other 2 people on my row.

It made me think about the “stages of grief” – I know almost nothing about psychology, but I do remember Lisa Simpson talking to Bart about it. I thought there were four, but turns out there are five. Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Thanks, Wikipedia!

There was lots of denial during the non-conference games. Sure, I could see that there were problems, but we worked through them to win the Old Spice Classic, and swept the key stretch of games (Davidson, Cincy, Seton Hall) to mostly make up for debacles against New Orleans and East Carolina.

Then, anger. It definitely flared up when we lost to ECU, but that stage didn’t really begin until the Clemson game. For me, it peaked right after the home loss to Georgia Tech, which I noted was completely unacceptable. Many of my fellow Wolfpackers were still in denial, but here’s what I said:

Forget this happy crap. We just LOST AT HOME to an 8-9 team. We committed 18 turnovers and let our opponent shoot 59 percent from the field. That’s inexcusable. Full rant will be posted later.

I’m sorry, but I’ve had it up to here with sucking or near-sucking in every revenue sport, almost every single damned year.

Time would prove me right, with the Bees sitting at 4-8 in ACC play, 11-15 overall.

Next came bargaining. I point to my “path to 8-8” post. It seemed logical on its face, and laid out an “acceptable” path to make everything OK. Maybe not what we’d hoped in the preseason, but things would be mostly back on track. Was I fooling myself? Damn right. I didn’t even entertain the possibility of what actually happened over the next 6 games.

Then came depression – second half of the Maryland game and the meltdown at Boston College. Excruciating games to watch. It wasn’t mathematically impossible to get back on my “path”, but I knew in my gut that it wasn’t going to happen. There was still some anger, but mostly I just hung my head. I wrote off the 2007-08 season, and subconsciously started laying the groundwork for Stage Five.

And there I was at the RBC last night – fully immersed in acceptance. Let us know how your process is going in the comments.

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

07-08 Basketball NCS Basketball Sidney Lowe

256 Responses to Stages of Wolfpack Grief – Where Are You?

  1. Rochester 02/28/2008 at 8:29 AM #

    I reached acceptance last night. No cussing. No kicking furniture. I was truly happy for Trevor.

    We suck. I’ll be stunned if we win again. By the way, if we finish on a nine-game losing streak that will match the longest in the history of the program, which came in 1991-92 under Les. At least we ended that one with a win at Carolina.

  2. Dr. BadgerPack 02/28/2008 at 8:37 AM #

    I’m at stage 6. Go Wisconsin!

  3. RedDog74 02/28/2008 at 8:39 AM #

    I’d say I’m teetering on the verge of acceptance. I’m pretty much resigned to our obvious fate, but every once in a while I look at the roster and think, “It doesn’t have to be this way!” Then I look at the roster again and think, “Oh yeah, actually it does.”

  4. PackHooligan 02/28/2008 at 8:39 AM #

    I have season tickets. I was working a little late at work yesterday when my fiance called me and asked me why I was still at work when we had to get to the game. I had completely forgotten about the game, and for a moment contemplated staying at work because it would probably be more enjoyable than going to the game. That is the point I am at with this team. I have accepted that they stink, but I still get depressed watching them.

  5. ncsumatman 02/28/2008 at 8:39 AM #

    I reached acceptance as well, I didn’t watch.

  6. wolfonthehill 02/28/2008 at 8:40 AM #

    I hit acceptance after the BC game… that one convinced me that we had no hope, as the manner in which we lost demonstrated a total and unrecoverable collapse, from the head coach down to the bench.

    Since then, it’s been easy, with no emotional investment whatsoever, and very little in the way of time commitment. I haven’t watched more than 10 minutes of a game since then, and I don’t expect to until the ACC Tournament, when I’ll watch only because I watch the whole tournament.

    Acceptance is a happy place to be.

  7. pack80 02/28/2008 at 8:44 AM #

    April 12th, spring football game. Just sayin…

  8. Sweet jumper 02/28/2008 at 8:48 AM #

    I am also at the acceptance stage, but I don’t like it. I am proud of Trevor and Tracy for not quitting like so many others on the team have done. They deserve to start the rest of our games. Their interviews were dead on last night. They sound like leaders while our alleged leaders sound done. They got all 3 of our offensive rebounds last night, 2 for Tracy and 1 for Trevor.

  9. erggggg 02/28/2008 at 8:55 AM #

    i’m in bargaining. i’ve got a free cd of my choice coming my way if we reach 5 acc wins. I JUST NEED ONE MORE!!!! (on another note, it’s true that we’ve won ALL GAMES PLAYED IN FLORIDA this season, right?)

  10. Rick 02/28/2008 at 8:56 AM #

    I logged onto my computer last night and did work while the game was on. It was more pleasurable.

    I have accepted that we suck

  11. GoldenChain 02/28/2008 at 9:00 AM #

    Anyone read the post game comments? Sid is blaming the kids. Deserved or not the buck stops with the head coach. I personally always detested coaches that blamed the kids (Tom Reed comes immediately to mind). I think those comments comments give me more grief than the inexplicable play.
    Lowe Blames ‘Awful’ Stares

  12. sautz 02/28/2008 at 9:01 AM #

    I’m still in depression. I can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel… That light being Lee Fowler getting the hell out of here.

  13. CarnifeX 02/28/2008 at 9:03 AM #

    Stage 6 is one that Wolfpack faithful are all too familiar with…


    I’m there, looking for silver lining. Most have moved on to the football season; thats one way to handle it, I prefer to stick with the same sport and the proverbial “next season”.

    This is what it means to be a Wolfpack fan.

    Go Pack!

  14. boonami 02/28/2008 at 9:03 AM #

    same… I DVR’d the game and watched it without yelling or throwing anything at the TV. my only comment was “we are just a bad team”. It was nice to see Trev and Tracy hustle and provide effort. The rest of the team was going through the motions. I was also happy to see Lowe FINALLY publicly call out his team. to little to late, but it will hopefully set a tone for next year.

  15. Texpack 02/28/2008 at 9:06 AM #

    The only comparable late season stretch like this I remember was in ’84. Northeastern with Reggie Lewis, who later played for the Celtics, was our only win down the stretch. We even lost to FSU in Reynolds in the NIT for my final BBall game at State.

    I noticed that I just laughed at the crappy play last night rather than getting pissed. I think the second Carolina game was when I had finally given up on this season. My family had started avoiding me on game days and now they’ve started to ask “Why do you even watch?” I tell them “Because they’re my team and I won’t quit on them, even though they’ve quit on themselves.”

  16. Dr. BadgerPack 02/28/2008 at 9:08 AM #

    If I didn’t have Wisconsin to fall back on I’d really be screwed– all I’d have left to pay attention to is my Cubs. That’s even worse than being a state fan. 🙂

  17. matty84 02/28/2008 at 9:12 AM #

    OK..lets break it down for next year
    1. Sid must go out and sign a 5 star point guard if we want to consistently compete in this league and in this state. No disrespect to Javi or Marques but the point guard position is the most important player on the team and when we play against a Ty Lawson or a Greg Paulus, we have to be able to match their talent in that position. I ran into JAY BILAS the other day at the mall and asked him “Hey Jay..whats wrong with my wolfpack?”..he simply replied “No PointGuard”
    2. Sid must teach his future teams how to play team defense. I attended a Duke game this year and was so impressed with their defense. You see…in order to play great defense you must have 2 things…
    Dukes intesity on defense is incredible. The go non-stop for 40 minutes. There help defense is equally inpressive. They cut of baselines, they step out on screens, they rotate when somebody gets beat off the ball to stop the drive and they box out. Lets look at those 2 ingredients I listed above…we SOMETIMES play with intensity but not once did I see this team play with cohesiveness. Watch Duke if you want to learn how to play good team D.
    3. Conditioning…conditioning…conditioning

  18. PackMan97 02/28/2008 at 9:12 AM #

    I was in denial for years 9 and 10 of Sendek and quickly progressed through Anger, Bargaining and Depression during our coaching search. Been at Acceptance most of these season with some outright HATE thrown in when we lose to UNC-CH.

  19. Mike 02/28/2008 at 9:14 AM #

    GoldenChain, I give Sid credit for not publicly bashing the players in the past. They have been bad before, but he always tried to offer public encouragement. Enough is enough, they were not getting the message, and good for him to say it finally.

    I am not for throwing people under the bus, but it is time. Sid said they can teach rebounding, but the guys still have to do it. Big Ben had 0 rebounds, ZERO! What I saw of his interview last night, he is as upset as we are. It’s about time.

  20. oljdub 02/28/2008 at 9:19 AM #

    I sold all my tickets earlier this month as a fund raiser and am working on my fantasy curling team.

  21. choppack1 02/28/2008 at 9:19 AM #

    Hey – I can say that I’m in acceptance. The first sign of this was 2 Saturday’s ago when I raked the yard rather than watch the Clemson game. For the UNC game, I missed the 15 minutes jogging. Last night, I missed much of the game as I jogged, then showered, then ate at Moe’s – I wasn’t dare going to ask them to turn the channel to the “State” game.

    As for Sid – it sounds like he’s in full-tilt anger mode. Honestly, I’ve never heard a Wolfpack coach so angry. I remember a coach at UNC calling out his players…He was just replaced by Butch Davis.

    Sid does need to take some ownership of this. His current “I just don’t have the players to play how I want to” spiel may be true, but he’s responsible for half of the kids on this roster…Harris, MJ, Javi, JJ, Tracy. And he really went off on JJ last night.

  22. boonami 02/28/2008 at 9:21 AM #

    matty, you are right on. our problems are cohesiveness/chemistry and conditioning. Duke and UNC are so well conditioned. we look so tired and soft all the time. Lastly, PG is what we need. Last night only amplified how glaring we suck at that position. how many dribbles did we lose off our legs.

  23. primacyone 02/28/2008 at 9:21 AM #

    I’m at stage 7. THE HURRICANES ARE ON FIRE!!!! and I’m loving it!!!!

    The RBC was really built for them, right? Might as well enjoy those red seats for something.

  24. boonami 02/28/2008 at 9:22 AM #

    ^primacy..i wish the hell we would move back to Reynolds. Games belong on Campus. Leave the RBC to the Canes.

  25. Stoner 02/28/2008 at 9:26 AM #

    I no longer care. I listened to the radio broadcast and when we got close a couple of times in the second half, I wasn’t excited. I just knew we wouldn’t get any closer. I think we should do the ACC a favor and jettison our basketball program. We are an insult to the great basketball tradition of the ACC, right now.

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