Wikipedia describes Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as:
Post traumatic stress (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened.  It is a severe and ongoing emotional reaction to an extreme psychological trauma. This stressor may involve someone’s actual death or a threat to the patient’s or someone else’s life, serious physical injury, or threat to physical and/or psychological integrity, to a degree that usual psychological defenses are incapable of coping.
The online encyclopedia then quickly adds that it is similar, but not the same as, Traumatic stress is "recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as an acute emotional condition associated with reactive anxiety. The condition presents in a manner similar to Posttraumatic stress disorder, but lacking the same intensity and duration."
While discussing last night, let’s change the P from Post to Pitt (please note the use of upper case P, and the second ‘t’ as a sign of respect, also assume this will disappear sometime in 2008) traumatic stress disorder. Wiki goes on to outline ways to treat PTSD (the real one), but they are overly technical, but I have a few ways to address pTSD (opps there I go again) suffered by the Mountaineer faithful last night.
First is to admit what happened, because like drugs or smoking or any CSI admitting is the first step toward addressing the problem or at least coming to deal with it. Here’s my take – three things happened (or became glaringly obvious) in our loss to Pitt.
First, this incarnation of WVU’s football team has trouble with both the spotlight and a big game atmosphere. It’s as if everything tightens up and they can’t stay loose. Last night the ESPN announcers said that our boys were on the bus early to head to the game, and the team dinner started 15 minutes sooner than expected. ESPN thought this was good. To me, this is the sign of stress and anxiety – too anxious for the game.
How did we lose our ability to play and win big games? Some will say that the UConn game was huge. It’s UConn and frankly didn’t warrant any of the big name ESPN dudes or a clever "I want to Celebrate song" song so, in my opinion, it wasn’t as large as South Florida or last night. A few years ago, WVU could win the big game but a quick review of 2006 and 2007 will show a different story (Louisville 2006, South Florida x2, pPitt). Some can argue the Gator Bowl in 2006 and yes, it’s an outlier in this theory (think huge come back, poor play for 3 quarters and it gets closer).
The second point is that our offensive line is not very good or not well coached. They can’t seem to open up holes for our former Heisman Trophy candidate Steve Smith and can’t seem to hold the line when we do decide to pass. Pat White has to do a lot of running, but how many times is this because of a designed play or when the O-line blows assignments and he has to run for his life. Losing Coach Rick Trickett hurt our team more than anyone has been willing to admit.
And third, Pitt played a damn good game. Their defense showed up to play and tackled very well. Their offense did what needed to be done. And, consequently they won the game. Thankfully, they didn’t have as big of assholes on the field as normal – these guys actually seemed to have decent attitudes and didn’t look like they were recruited from a penal institution. Hopefully their basketball team is the same way this year.
Not a great day for Mountaineer Nation, but while the National Championship opportunity is now over WVU’s chance to redeem itself in a BCS bowl is alive and well. pTSD is serious and damn close to mTSD (Miami traumatic disorder – think blocked punt) that occurred years ago. It took WVU years to get over that loss. This team has months, before our next big game. These things happen to good teams, just ask USC, Ohio State, Michigan, etc, etc, but what really matters is how a team picks itself up off the mat and prepares for the next game.
Our boys should be really, really angry at themselves for last night because they didn’t play up to their potential. So now, let’s suck it up, admit what happened and make some changes. It’s time to get ready to play some football.