Handling Your Team’s Loss in the Altador Cup
We’ve all seen the results, and you can do the math: there are 18 Altador Cup teams out there representing the lands of Neopia, but only one can take home first place. That means, most of you out there can't claim to have that shiny new gold trophy adorning your lookup. As with any sports game, tension and emotions run high after the finale of the season, and many normally Cybunny-sweet Neopians have become fraught with disappointment after their AC loss this year.
For those unable to bear the frustration of losing, looking for helpful coping mechanisms, or just interested in the most effective ways to stay strong and support their team in the just-dawning post-season, I've compiled a list of the strategies I've found helpful in lessening the blow. I hope that some of them might help you all, too. Above all, remember: every one of the teams played hard this year and conquered many obstacles, and you should be proud of your part in the Cup, whether you're a starting player or a triple All-Star!
So—how can you make the best of this year (or any year)’s losing situation?
1. Take a break.
I feel this is the most important strategy on this list, which is why I've put it first. If you're like me and many of my Neofriends, you've probably spent the last four weeks scrambling to max out scores in Yooyuball, Shootout Showdown, and maybe even Slushie Slinger or Make Some Noise. Your wrists are sore, your eyes are bleary, and you're probably envying the Snowager’s constant slumber with how little you’ve slept. Not to mention the caffeine levels in your bloodstream giving you all kinds of jitters. All that coupled with the disappointment of your team losing might seem overwhelming and unfair—so much work, and your team still ended in fourth or eighth or last place?!
Take a step back. Turn off the computer for a bit. Get a good night's sleep for the first time since The Month of Hunting. Get a hand massage from your family or friends. Despite your pixelated presence on Neopets, you are a real person, and you have to take care of yourself after an endeavor like the Altador Cup. I promise you will feel so much better about your team's situation just by getting some space from your computer and relaxing.
2. Vent your frustrations.
Have you come back to your computer after a break and you’re still feeling angry or blue? I completely understand. In that case, do something to release your anger in a healthy way. Take your rage out with a couple games of Kass Basher or Splat-a-Sloth, or go taunt the Kadoaties in the Kadoatery asking for Illusens Family Recipe Cakes they're not going to get for a week. No judgment: whatever you need to make yourself feel better. Just, please, don’t take it out on the Yooyus. They’ve been kicked around enough.
3. Do something nice for you and your Neopets.
One of my favorite coping strategies is to knock away those bad feelings by replacing them with something wonderful and exciting. The perfect way to take your mind off your team's AC loss might just be to buy that Faerie Paint Brush for your Xweetok, or dress up your Aisha in a brand new outfit. Maybe a stay at the AstroVilla or a couple Tiki Tours will bring a smile to you and your Neopets' faces, too. We all have a wishlist of items we tell ourselves, "no, I can't buy this, I'd feel too guilty"—but after a hard month of fighting the other 17 AC teams, rewarding your Neopian family with something you've wanted for a while feels pretty spectacular.
Not to mention the other reason you should do something sweet for your Neopets: when was the last time you actually hung out with your pets during the Altador Cup? Sure, they understand the excitement, and they got swept up in it right along with you, but playing 401 games of Shootout Showdown a day leaves many less moments available to spend with your magnificent and charming Neopet family. They'd really appreciate some attention, and love—and apology gifts.
4. Go nuts in the prize shop.
Regardless of how well your team did in the Cup, everyone's efforts are rewarded in the Altador Cup prize shop! This means that all your long, bloodshot-eye nights of Slushie Slinger are not in vain: individually, you are still a winner! So go pick up your goodies for the year; you've more than earned them. Wear your new gear proud and see it as a physical representation of all that hard work you've done. Well—a virtual representation, anyway. Still.
5. Don't let others' negativity drag you down.
This time of year, the post-AC blues hit hard. We see Neopians muttering about how "if they had just played more Yooyuball" or if "Team So-and-So hadn't recruited so many extra players to help them out." Please remember that it is no individual person's fault which teams won and lost. You are not the reason your team didn't do well, even if you're berating yourself for not making All-Star or for having to work most of the weekdays. There are hundreds of players out there who have all struggled with this season just the way you have, and it's okay! Don't let anyone scold you for a "poor performance" or brag about their individual or team victories. Everyone plays the AC differently, and the most important thing is that everyone has fun cheering on their favorite players and respects each other. Even the Darigan yooyus. Even the armless Kiko players.
Bottom line is: you did your best, and you should be proud.
6. Get together with other supporters.
Nothing lifts the spirits like talking with Neopians who sympathize with your disappointment and can help reassure you of your successes. I’m talking about your teammates! Whether you’re in a AC-themed guild, have a board on the Site Events chat, or have been sharing your experiences via Neomail, it’s likely you have friends on your team who are in the same boat as you. They know exactly how you feel, and will be there for you whether you’re upset about the loss or just excited for the seasons to come.
Not to mention: these people are the reason your team has come as far as it has. Take a moment to drop by your team’s NeoBoard and thank everyone for all the grueling hours they’ve put into the team you’re so passionate about. Let everyone know how proud you are of their work and how much you appreciate their efforts. Not only will it raise the morale after a tough season and a tough loss, but it will bring your teammates closer together—creating stronger AC bonds and more motivation for future years.
7. Stay loyal to your team!
The fresh wound of disappointment may be deep enough for you that you’re considering switching teams next year. Unless you’re usually the type of person who always changes it up season-by-season, think twice before abandoning ship! If you’ve been on Mystery Island or Moltara for years, don’t give up on them now: after a loss, your team needs your support more than ever. Take some time to look through the history of your team and remember the day you beat a tough rival in Make Some Noise, or the time you swept another team with wins in all four games. No matter what team you’re on, it’s a great place to be, and eventually, one of these years, it will be your turn to take the Cup.
If your team spirit is a wavering flame, find a visible way to rekindle it. Spend some time in the NC Mall picking up some team flags and accessories for your pets to sport, and deck them out even though the season is over. Continue to show off your team avatar on the NeoBoards to let everyone know you’re loyal and proud. Go explore Maraqua or Terror Mountain or Lost Desert on the Neopian map, hang out on your team’s homepage, and remember what it is that made you choose this land and these players in the first place. It had to be something: and that spark might still be there to lead you to victory next time.
8. Congratulate the winners.
I know, I know—sometimes admitting defeat is difficult. But the reason the first place team won is because they worked hard, day in, day out, and deserve the incredible numbers they’ve been getting the past month. They’ve earned this. It’s important to be a good sport, and it will make you feel less upset to spread a little positive energy. You’d appreciate the same polite congratulations from others if your team had taken the trophy, and one day, I’m sure you will! But for now, take a moment to let the winners feel like winners. Or at the very least, please, please, don’t release Meepits in their Neohomes out of spite.
9. Start getting ready for the next Altador Cup!
Lastly, the wake of the AC is the perfect time to start sneakily prepping for the next big showdown! For the next few months, continue to practice other games on the site so that your fingers will be ready to fly when the four Altador Cup games return to the main stage. Recruit your friends and family to play for your team next year so that you’ll have a better shot at taking home a shiny trophy. Stay sharp—stay calculated—and most importantly, stay optimistic. You never know how well your team may do next time!
But no matter what, the Altador Cup is an amazing experience, however your team places. It’s the perfect way to make new friends and earn lots of rewards. So even if you’re grumpy as King Skarl about your loss right now, I know you’ll be ready to rumble come next June.
I’ll see you then!