If you're a college basketball fan in a relationship with another college basketball fan, a lot of people might think that your relationship is a rock solid fortress filled with French fries, happy hour beers, and brackets filled out in pen, but there is one condition that strikes early in a relationship that can be tough to deal with, especially in March. The condition I'm referring to is rivalitis— when your significant other supports a different college basketball team. But, it doesn't have to be a lose-lose situation all the time. Let's examine this condition further.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I must confess that I have never dealt with this affliction firsthand. I found myself a nice multi-generational legacy of my fav team, whose mom is as much of a fan as I am, and we've been rolling strong through three whole Plumlees and two National Championships. (That's right, #DukeBasketballNeverStops.) But, as a diehard college basketball fan, a lot of my friends are in relationships with people who do not subscribe to our controversial choice of home teams — one of my best girl friends is even married to an enthusiastic supporter of our rival, which is a real accomplishment.
Although, being in a relationship with someone whose team is in your conference can be easier than suddenly facing your S.O.'s school in a season-ending elimination game with no experience dealing with being pitted against one another. At least if their team is in your conference, you get some lower-pressure practice cheering for opposite sides before being thrown into a situation where one of you will have to sit idly by while your S.O. revels in the possibilities afforded by another day in the Dance.
Here are some tips for dealing with rivalitis in March.
1. If your team loses, don't drag your S.O. down with your disappointment
Let your S.O. enjoy the moment without raining on his or her parade, however intolerable it may be.
2. If your team wins, you're doing the dishes (and vice versa)
I saw this one in action the other day when Carolina beat Duke in the regular season finale, and it made the Carolina glee a little less like nails on a chalkboard.
3. Plan a fun, unrelated activity for after the game
This is a good piece of advice to take for anyone in a relationship with a college basketball fan. Drown the disappointment of a season-ending loss with a trip to an arcade, or drinks at a fun bar with no televisions.
4. Find a neutral sport or team to watch together
Pick an MLB or NBA team to watch that you both like (or can tolerate), and enjoy the competitive spirit from the same side of the battle.
5. Be empathetic for the rest of the season
Win or lose, somebody's team has to get knocked out first and be subject to S.O.'s team advancing however many rounds into the tournament. Try not to cheer too hard against them as the season moves forward. You can't hang a banner every year.
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