The 5 Stages of Grief: A Tale of a Losing Bracket

You did the research, picked some solid upsets and rose to the top of your bracket pool. Going into the Final Four, you’re cool as a cucumber — right up to the moment your bracket gets shot to pieces.

Now you’ve watched your ranking plummet right below your friend who chose solely based on which campuses had the best burrito joints. It’s OK. You’ll move through the five stages of grief before you know it:

1. Fanatic denial
That couldn’t be an air ball at the buzzer; the arc must have just been so perfect that the net didn’t move. Then there’s the moment of realization. You ask yourself: Why is all the confetti the wrong color? Who is Jim Nantz interviewing? Why is my bracket covered in red? How could I lose?

2. Anger
You want to throw the remote at the TV and eat all the remaining chips and guacamole just so your friends can’t enjoy them. You’re pacing the room and making unintelligible grunting noises. Somehow the burrito joint theory seems genius now.

3. Bargaining
Well, if everyone else guesses this game wrong and the underdog wins the other game, you still have a chance, right? You can rise up the ranks again if the stars align. Maybe it’s time to put on your lucky jersey and hop on one foot. If you had just made one different pick, you would have all the glory.

4. Depression
Basketball is stupid, and you never liked your bracket anyway. Where did those buffalo wings go?

5. Acceptance
There’s still the NBA and NHL playoffs, baseball is in full swing, and life is good. Next year you’re sure to have the perfect bracket, because you’re the chosen one and the 1 in 9 trillion odds don’t apply.