I write this actually as a football fan, but I do understand not being a fan when everybody else is immersed in the hype of a global event. For example – everyone at the bazaar office watched the season finale of Breaking Bad, and at the time I didn’t even know who Jesse Pinkman was (I know, shame on me). So, here are some reasons to take part in the wonderful, over-blown World Cup madness, even if you don’t care to understand the sport.
Are you the type of person who loves watching gymnasts compete in the Olympics? Well the footballers during the World Cup are basically glorified acrobats – especially when they are celebrating scoring a goal. There are the obvious actions – jumping on someone’s shoulders, running around like a plane, taking their shirts off (although they get fined now – booo!) But I’ve seen some pretty spectacular and entertaining victory laps. I once watched an Italian footballer get down on one knee and pretend to play an imaginary violin after hitting an amazing strike, the Irish (who are sadly not in it this year) do somersaults like leprechauns, some Muslim players take their celebrations to God, and many African and South American nations do the kind of group dances people wish went viral on YouTube.
Understanding those Social Media References
Let’s be honest, now that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have sort of become a necessity in life, once the matches start, your feed will be inundated with post after post of whatever controversial or amazing event that happened during the games that day. Won’t you have #FOMOF (Fear of Missing Out on Football) when you can’t understand why the Internet is suddenly flooded with memes of some player head-butting another? I don’t know about you, but if I can’t make a snarky comment or laugh about it with someone else at work the next day, life as I know it would be over.
Okay, maybe you don’t like smoking shisha or eating fried food, or even just sitting in a packed restaurant or café, but just for a second imagine that buzz you get when you’re in a room of people and you’re all experiencing the same thing at the same time. That atmosphere is the reason we go to movie theaters or concerts or clubs. When we see the on-screen couple get together (provided it’s not cut), when we’re all shouting the lyrics back to our favorite band, when that song comes on and you and everyone else around you goes crazy – you get the same thrill when someone scores a goal, when someone gets sent off or when it’s time for a penalty shootout. When the team that everyone has been supporting for 90 minutes scores the winning goal and the place goes nuts – you’ll understand the madness and want to be a part of it.
Not to objectify anyone, but look – footballers are hot. That’s all I feel like I need to say on that topic.
A Piece of History
Now, as I’ve already said, plenty of moments will be captured and saved on the Internet for leisurely viewing by generations to come, but isn’t there something special about remembering the exact time and place that something happened? Maybe it’s not changing the world and maybe we ought to be focused on the more important global issues and events – but this is the kind of thing you’ll remember. At the last World Cup final, I was living in New York City and all of the bars and restaurants were too crowded, so my friends and I went out on to the street to watch the tiny screen that the Spanish Benevolent Society had propped outside of the third floor window of their headquarters. Along with tens of other people, we watched as Spain took the victory and everyone on that street – hundreds of people – started an impromptu Fiesta. They were dancing in traffic, waving giant flags, honking horns and cheering – and that was in America. I will tell my kids about that moment one day – even though I don’t remember the score or who took the winning shot – I can still picture the faces of the people dancing in the middle of that crowded New York street.
So, grab your friends, set up your flat screen and throw a party to celebrate the opening match on June 12th. Never mind about learning the offside rule or figuring out why they would substitute their best player when they’re a goal down in the last fifteen minutes…watch, enjoy, cheer when everyone else does, and make some memories. Vámonos! Allez! Olé, Olé, Olé!