Offseason Affective Disorder (or O-Sad) is a very real emotional condition yet to be recognized by any respectable medical or mental health professionals.
It often affects hard core football fans, but similar symptoms have been reported among enthusiasts of other sports. Most commonly beginning after the Super Bowl, O-Sad has been known to set in as early as the end of the regular NFL season.
Symptoms vary from mild to severe and include restlessness, anxiety, boredom, irritability, excessive napping in the middle of the afternoon, social withdrawal, and the inability to carry on extended conversations. Many who suffer from this disorder also report feelings of emptiness and loss.
For some reason, this winter, cases of O-Sad appended with complaints of emptiness are said to be highest among people living in the New England states.
With help, sufferers of O-Sad are able to lead normal, productive lives. As with any mental disorder, it is imperative to seek some form of treatment if you think you may be suffering from O-Sad. As a means of self-diagnosis, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I lost and bored on the weekends (especially Sundays)?
- Do I channel surf for hours with nothing catching my attention?
- Is my family tired of watching the same NFL Network's Game of the Week?
- Are my friends tired of hearing my offseason recap?
- Do I fill my free hours by researching top college prospects for the draft?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from O-Sad. But fear not, there are ways to cope with this condition:
- Find a new sport to watch: Hockey is heading to the playoffs, and it is a fast-paced, exciting sport. College hoops may also be an excellent diversion and March Madness is a good way to forget about the old pigskin for awhile.
- Tackle some home improvement projects: Let's face it, the gutters won't clean themselves. If that to-do list is longer than an NFL playoff roster, it's time to tackle something other than your buddies. Grab that paint brush and fight the urge to paint your team's insignia on your siding.
- Go out: That's right, there is a world away from the remote. Take the family to a museum (could be a SPORTS museum...) or a movie. Earn brownie points now; training camp will be here before you know it.
- Volunteer: Join your local youth football organization. These little kids are our future NFL stars; make sure they are getting the proper training. And remember, there is NO crying in football—that little seven-year-old needs to man-up.
- Spend gametime in the bedroom: Four quarters, timeouts, beer, and a halftime show. Could be more exciting than that 10-7 overtime loss this season. Be creative, but remember—melted nacho cheese is hot and some balls are not to be spiked.
Please keep in mind that there is no shame in suffering from O-Sad; support groups are forming all over the country.
Someday, there will be additional football worth watching. Until then, try the above suggestions and thank God for the NFL Network and Court TV.