Our brain is reacting to living in the past. Those feelings of elation, laughter, and die-hard fandom do not disappear from our memory just because a player leaves. They stay in our mind, hence, sadness. There is a sense of sadness that arises when we know that something will not continue. It’s called loss.
Our brain processes loss in a “memory” area called the temporal lobe. As a result, the loss creates a sense of fear and will forge out a neuronal imprint. The larger the loss is to us, the greater this imprint becomes. Despite how silly some may think our reaction is to a trade, our brain doesn’t see it that way. If we have greater emotional connection to the sport or a player, then our brain sees it to be just as sad as when we lost Fido when we were 10.
So how do we fix this? How do we put our big-girl pants on and come to terms with this sense of loss and sadness? Well, we make new memories. Since the real jerk here is our memories (no, it’s not GMGM or Coach Gallant, although we would like to place blame upon them), it’s important to move forward and create new memories. Healthy ways to do include going to brunch with a group of fellow fans, go for a hike, or knit some cool gear for fall when the new season begins.
And…I don’t know, this is just my educated opinion, but I believe the reason loss is so hard for us is the memory that still exists from 1 October and all of the amazing things this team gave to our city during that time. To us, they are superheroes who literally lifted us and made us feel again when so many were left numb.
Here’s a quick video that explains what’s happening in our brain when we’re happy versus when we’re sad.