Recently some people have asked me on Twitter how I’m able to stay positive and optimistic when the Providence Friars are playing their games. Sure, they struggle sometimes and it’s easy to get lost in negativity and despair, but maintaining a positive attitude is essential to enjoying the ride! So I took a few notes on what I do during the games and typed up my 16 secrets to staying positive about the Friars.
1. Have a start of the game beer or snack a little before the game tips off
Before the game even begins, I’m making sure I’m ready to endure whatever comes my way as a fan and viewer. But that can be hard to anticipate, especially with this team – you never know if you’re going to get the Providence that lights up top 5 teams, or the team that falls to DePaul. That’s why I’ve found that controlling what you do have agency over before the game even starts is key. I usually order a special of the day beer or, failing that, a Lagunitas IPA to start the game. If it’s an early game I’ll drink an Irish coffee. Why do I do this? Because once that ball is tipped off, there’s nothing I can do to change how the team will play, so I may as well take control early! It’s a comfort thing. Even if you don’t feel like drinking, treat yourself to a snack – it’s game day!
2. Be sure to engage with fans – on social media or real life
Back when I used to go to every game in person, I had a regular group of fans I’d meet up with before the game, and then hang with them during and after. I’ve written about them several times in the past, and that’s because they made my experience all the better. Now that I can’t go to games regularly, I meet up with a couple local fans in Chicago for every game at the Providence College bar in West Loop to talk about the team and the season as it unfolds. And I always make sure to at least check Twitter and see the conversation – if not jump in and participate myself. Having the opportunity to connect and chat with fans in real time is really something special, and I suggest you do it too!
3. You’ll want to…wait, did Cartwright just pick up his second foul this early?
I was going to say something, but Kyron Cartwright just got his second foul! And it’s not even the 12 minute mark in the first half! Look, I mean, it’s not good that he’s going to the bench, but this will give Makai Ashton-Langford a chance to get a little more comfortable right? Oh God, this is going to be a rough stretch – but the team is up right now and if they can just maintain that composure long enough to get Cartwright in, then no harm done, right? Oh man, I really hope the Friars don’t blow this one – they need this win!
4. Enduring the scoring drought with a second beer
So yeah, with Cartwright on the bench and Rodney Bullock not hitting anything. I mean, Alpha normally hits stuff but he seems to be jacking up threes which is not what you want him doing, and everyone else has just disappeared. It’s time for your second beer to enduring this scoring drought. Or wait, third? Are you sure? Well I had the first one before the game and…oh, the second one was when Cartwright got benched? Well how’d I drink it so fast? Anyways, get a fresh one and maybe some nachos too.
5. Now’s a good time to look at the menu for food
Well this is great – the Friars are once again refusing to score a single basket and have lost the lead. Cooley is taking a time out, even though the Friars are a minute away from the media timeout. Might as well check the food menu, get something ordered so it comes a little more than halfway through halftime. Usually I go with a bison burger and Merkts Wisconsin cheddar, but maybe a turkey burger instead since it’s leaner than beef. If it’s brunch, I usually go with a breakfast burrito or an omelette. I like to skip things like cheese, sour cream, and breakfast meats when I do to help cut out the calories I’d rather save for another Irish coffee. Oh, I should probably get another Irish coffee at this point.
6. Tell yourself this is a second half team, even if you don’t believe it
I mean, this team has to come out the gates swinging in the second half, right? So they’re phoning it in or just out of sync this first half, but that’s pretty much done with and they’re only down fou…six. Sure, that hasn’t really been the case all season, but Cooley is a second half coach! I believe in him! I believe in his halftime adjustments! Remember when we won at Butler by putting all our reserves in? Cooley will definitely come up with something like that.
7. Don’t engage haters on Twitter
Okay, that was a rough half, but there’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about this game. There’s no reason to give up yet – after all, it’s a game played in two halves and the Friars are down two possessions. Just two! Let’s just check Twitter real quick…see where everyone is at…oh man, lotta not happy fans right now. I guess I can understand that though, this is…what’s this one idiot saying about firing Cooley? C’mon, that’s ridiculous! So he made some coaching mistakes, it happens! One half? Maybe I should…no, no I shouldn’t. All this is going to do is raise my stress levels. And those are already pretty high thanks to this game!
8. Well, may as well order another round, the half is about to start
At least the food will help too.
9. Keep in mind that with halftime adjustments – OH C’MON, HOW IS THAT A FOUL?!
ARE YOU SERIOUS? ARE. YOU. SERIOUS. HOW WAS THAT A FOUL? Look, I know that there was some contact but you have to call it fair on both ends! We were getting hammered and not a single whistle for us! But oh, we sneeze on their jerseys and it’s a continuation foul?! Great, and they’ve hit both so so of course now they’re up by double digits.
10. Make sure you share all that on Twitter
It doesn’t count as real outrage if people can’t read about it on a social platform.
11. Don’t give up hope just yet
Things aren’t looking great right now, but this is the Friars we’re talking about! They’ve come back from worse and won. This just need to find their rhythm. Seriously, in these situations, it’s really important you remain optimistic at least partially. Cynicism is more of a game-killer than this constant barrage of fouls and turnovers (albeit not by much) and since you can’t control what’s happening on the court, take a deep breath and remember that the game’s not over yet.
12. Order another beer
I should start my own brewery in Rhode Island and make a beer called “Optimism Double IPA” that’s 11% so people can drink it and feel confident and then when they’re asked about why they’re hopeful they can say “I don’t know, I guess I’m just filled with Optimism!” There’s some other good flagship names we can do: “Confidence Booster Pale Ale,” “Fanboy Coffee Stout,” “I’m Fine with the NIT, Really Lager” to name a few. Listen, we’re sitting on a gold mine here! Oh, that beer? That’s my fourth…fifth…ish.
13. Wait, did we just hit back-to-back threes?
All right Jalen! My man! Coming alive when we need him most! Cut that lead down to two possessions! Now we have plenty of time left on the clock to make something happen, and we got a little momentum boost! Let’s ride this high! GO FRIARS!
14. Time to start believing!
Okay! So this game has been rough! But now the Friars have them in prime position, and everyone is feeling it! If the Friars can just hold on we’ll get a great win, a real resume booster. Go ahead – believe in this a little! Have some fun with it! Don-ANOTHER FOUL?! SERIOUS-oh, wait, my mistake – the refs were signaling a foul on the other team. That’s fine. Haha. Sorry. Wow, you get so used to the refs calling one way and then when they actually call the other it’s kind of a su-WELL YOU HAVE TO HIT THE FREE THROWS IF YOU’RE GOING TO GET THEM! C’MON.
15. Try not to think about the amount of years you’re losing over this game
Okay…okay…the Friars have the lead, barely. They got this. Oh my God my heart is racing. I just checked my Apple Watch and it said my heartbeat was 124 BPM! Am I having a light jog or watching a basketball game at a bar? I mean, seriously, this is crazy. But the Friars are up…now they just have to hang on. Man, how can I do anything else with my day after this? This is crazy. I feel exhausted, and so full of energy at the same time! This can’t be good for me. They play what? Two, three times a week? I do this three times a week! My girlfriend is going to easily outlive me at this pace. Still, it’s worth it though. Just gotta…you know…survive this.
16. Remember that it’s just one game, win or lose
Man, talk about barely coming out of that one alive! Really glad we won. I can enjoy this. At least until the next game. But you know what, even if the Friars lost – and they have, a lot – it’s still only one game in the season. Good wins, bad losses, it all happens. The Friars will do what they do, but I’ll always be here watching them – enduring the highs and the lows. And hey, if they don’t make the Tournament, there’s always next year. Yeah, it’s not an easy thought to digest, but the biggest thing I’ve learned as a fan is that no matter how good or bad a game, it’s only one game in a season. And, more importantly, a bad season does not mean the Friars are lost forever. They’ll always recover, and I’ll always watch them.
Now to pay for these six or seven…wait was it eight? Wow, it was eight. Man, talk about a stress inducing game! Five bucks a draft though, not bad. Maybe we should come back here for the next game.