While the insecurity many All Blacks fans felt prior to the 2011 Rugby World Cup may have been shed over the last eight years, there's no denying many Kiwis are taking the dawn of the 2019 tournament seriously - maybe a little too seriously.
After a week of scrutiny on the utter minutiae of the All Blacks preparation in Japan: from squad selection, to team selection, to tattoo concealment, to suspicion over the Springboks' bulk, it might be worthwhile to stop and offer fans a dose of perspective.
So the Weekend Herald has amassed some advice from both mental health professionals and support workers on the lighter side - aka Joe the Clown - on how to deal with any potential disappointment over the next six weeks.
Massey University sports psychologist Professor Gary Hermansson says there are valid historical reasons for New Zealand's national pride being tied up with the All Blacks.
"While we have other high points such as the vote for women, and nuclear-free, some of the origins of our identity as a nation were though the English connection with rugby," Hermansson says.
"We're a small nation developing and suddenly we sent a rugby team to England in the early 1900s and they do well and that builds a snowball effect of the identity."
But as fans brace themselves for the highs and lows of the next six weeks, Hermansson says the key to escaping (God forbid) All Black-loss doldrums is actually to shift the perspective of supporters back to the present reality before their eyes.
"Some of the same things that have been taught to the All Blacks over time are you ground yourself in the moment, and that works for fans too," Hermansson says.
"You're trying to shift them from a retrospective gloom to looking into their present environment: the people who care for them, the people who matter, and then you're looking for future goals, small as they might be.
"But it's like 'what have you got on for the coming week which will affirm a sense of who you are?'
"What are you doing at work today and what are you doing with your family tomorrow? Connect with people that are close with you, take some breaths, walk away."
Another technique Hermansson suggests for fans is to actually put themselves in the athletes' boots.
"Think about the damn athletes. Don't dwell on how miserable you feel," he says.
"Don't get all self-pitying, think about those people who are most affected by it. And draw on all that compassion rather than all that inner misery and resentment and blame."
AUT sports marketing and consumer behaviour expert Dr Marilyn Giroux says the phenomenon of "sports fan depression" is a real thing that inflicts a physical toll, but it should be remembered that this generally only lasts a few days at most.
Giroux says the dynamics of All Blacks fans adulation and disappointment are unique compared to other nations and dictated by the team nearly always being favourites.
"Expectations are very important in terms of how much people feel joy and pain," Giroux says.
"So you don't feel as much joy if you expect your team to win, so that's why people often root for the underdog. A surprise win is more exciting than something that is expected.
"And if it is supposed to be an easy win like it often is for the All Blacks, and they lose, people are often going to feel more pain."
Giroux said her experience of supporting a historically unsuccessful American football franchise while living in the US taught her to get perspective on the importance of actually winning the game.
"You often put less emphasis on the performance of the team, whether they are winning, and you focus on the aspect of community, the fact that people often want to go to the game for a social experience, their need to belong," Giroux said.
"Instead of just focusing on the outcome of the game, you focus on how the community is brought together."
And a Kiwi clown who recently achieved his 15 minutes of global fame for attending an Auckland adman's redundancy meeting has also kindly offered the Weekend Herald his two cents for coping with disappointment.
"It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. As a performer, I live by this maxim," Joe, aka Auckland actor Joseph Brosnahan, says.
"The way I see it, everything is a game, a series of games, in fact. It's my job is to lose one game while winning the other; that's what makes me funny. Take my recent job, for example, where I accompanied Mr Jack to his dismissal.
"That was a game he was destined to lose. But, by playing another game at the same time, we created a metagame that we were able to win."
Joe said "more emotionally invested" All Black fans shouldn't let an early exit, in either a tournament or a job, define them forever. There's always the next game.
"The All Blacks are regarded with respect and admiration on the international playing field. This is not just because of the trophies in our cabinet.
"If nothing else you can hire a clown as your emotional support person. I hear good things about that."