No one ever said playoff hockey would be easy. But the players aren’t the only ones feeling the stress.
As the Winnipeg Jets look to knock off the Nashville Predators and advance to the third round of the post season, Jets fans have been riding a roller coaster ride of emotions.
So is sports stress a real thing? According to Dr. Syras Derksen it is.
“Sports stress is a real thing like any stress. Our brain doesn’t really perceive the difference between the causes of stress, it’s all about your perception of that stress.”
Game 3 versus the Preds was an emotional experience for a lot of Winnipeggers.
Thousands of fans flooded the White Out Street party to cheer on the home team. And while the Jets walked away with the win, fans experienced extreme highs and lows throughout all three periods.
Things started to look grim after the first 20 minutes, when the were Jets down by 3.
We asked fans in the crowd how they were feeling.
“A little disappointed, I thought they would be playing better and all,” said one fan.
Another said, “A little surprised I guess, yeah I don’t know what else to feel, it’s kind of a mixed emotion.”
But that heartache didn’t last. By the second period the Jets not only managed to tie things up, but were up by a goal.
WATCH: fans at the Whiteout Street Party react as the Jets score and take the lead
The mood in the crowd was a complete 180 from the first period. Fans were cheering and chanting. The white out was electric and emotions were at an all time high.
“Cold weather can’t keep us out, way too fun, way to exciting, can’t believe they got that lead,” shouted one fan.
“I’m so excited that second period was unreal,” cheered another.
Dr. Derksen said it’s not uncommon for people to experience lots of fluctuations in their stress but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“If they’re part of a group, they identify with that group and if that group is threatened, that can definitely be a big source of stress and when you have fluctuations in stress it’s not necessarily a problem. Our bodies are made to have fluctuations in stress.”
But if things start to get out of hand Dr. Derksen said there are ways to cope with the stress of the game, including: exercising, eating well and getting enough sleep. But if your sports stress gets a little too extreme, Derksen said it might be best to walk away.
“You can close your eyes, you can turn off the sound, you could walk away. This isn’t something you have to be at. Most of the time people who are experiencing this type of stress just have to turn off the game and walk away, or just say to themselves this is just a game.”
But the stress of playoff hockey won’t be going away anytime soon.
The Jets will face off against the Predators in Game 4, Thursday night.
And no doubt, tens of thousands of fans will be on pins and needles for the entire game.