It’s been a rough week for sports fans in Philadelphia after becoming the first city to lose two major sports championships in one day.
A support group gathered on South Street Thursday, focusing on Phillies fans and finding common ground in the ups and downs they experienced during the team’s World Series run.
Phillies fans were on a wild ride during the playoffs this year, from first place to winning the pennant, poles were greased, drinks were downed, and it felt like the party was just getting started.
After missing the World Series against the Houston Astros, fans were looking for an outlet to process the emotions of the loss while trying to see the bright side of the season.
Studies have shown that a person’s mood can be affected by sports fandom – this is where Sadboy Fanatics comes in. The Traveling Sports Fan Support Group hosts group sessions for fans to express frustrations but also introduce them to mental health practices for safe ways to normalize and process emotions.
Clancy Philbrick is a mental health curriculum artist and designer behind the organization.
“It allows them to practice strategy not only when their favorite sports team is losing, but also when they are later or even at the moment when they are processing other difficult emotions or dealing with stressful things,” Philbrick said. “They may think back and remember a particular approach or prompt to deal with those emotions.”
John Mozes was in Game 5 of the World Series when the Phillies lost by one run. He recalls being unable to move when the final was called. He said Thursday’s event helped him cope with the loss.
“I think that connection between, you know, strategies that you might gain through therapy or through other mental health exercises, with being able to say it out loud and sharing your grief with someone else, is quite valuable,” Mozes said .
Charles Paul followed the Philadelphia Union’s season, including the loss to LAFC after a tense back-and-forth that ended in penalties.
He said for him and other men, talking about sport is usually a place for mental health sessions, but Thursday’s event was a great way to pick up some new tactics for improving your own mental health.
“Using real mental health strategies and connecting them to exercise could be a good window into other aspects of your life,” Paulus said. “There’s never a synopsis that’s really concise, so it was nice to just close the book and window on it.”
Baltimore was the site of another Sadboy Fanatics group session following the conclusion of the Orales season in early October. Philbrick said he wants to host more events nationally.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day by trained advisors who can provide free, confidential support. Spanish speakers can call 1-888-628-9454. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can call 1-800-799-4889.