Now that I’ve arrived in Britain, the land of rambunctious football fans and tiny little pubs, I’ve found myself drawn into watching the World Cup and drinking a ton of my former taste enemy—beer (well I did managed to skirt off into cider, which is still socially acceptable in my opinion). As a traveller originating from the “Land of Hockey” I understand the hubbub but I never really dove into watching sports. Playing is fun. Watching is boring. That was my mantra.
Then I moved into a house of Germans and an Italian. Suddenly I’d edged toward the living room whenever I heard the cheers, announcements and whistles of a German match!
So, as a new fan of football just in time for the finale of the World Cup I thought I’d share some funny personal observations.
1) We Are Embarrassed About Our Excitement
After years of rolling our eyes at the overabundant joy of our friends, family and housemates over a goal or won game those responses are hard to drop! I’m still super amused by the sight of my housemates leaping up from the couch and punching their fists when a goal is scored (they got a ton of ab exercise at Germany’s match against Brazil).
Something prompts new fans to maintain their original strict decorum. I leaned forward each time and gave the obligatory fist pump but unruffled my feathers quickly while glancing around for observers to send assassins after. You can tell who’s new to the art of fandom when they furtively scan the room after they’ve accidentally let loose a yip or cheer. Unbeknownst to the newbie fans though, true football fans are so intense they wouldn’t even notice a parade of poodles ridden by rainbow babies flying across the sky over the stadium.
Last night my Facebook feed read, “HALF TIME WITH 5-0 FOR GERMANY!!!!! GO GERMANYYYY WOOOOOOO!!!!”
Which was subtly followed by, “Dang. Germany won 7-1! The highest number of goals scored in a match was 10-1 Hungary against El Salvador in 1982!”
I tossed in that fact in an attempt to to hide my excessively loud initial Facebook post.
Which brings me to the next point.
2) We Throw Out Random Facts To Blend In (Which Makes Us Stand Out)
How many times have you sidled up to your friends, modestly settled in and glanced around the table like you are a magician with a fabulous new trick? A smug grin plays across your lips as you elegantly thrown out a little fact that you read that morning about the World Cup.
Then the veteran fans nod and build off on the tim-bit—the green thumbs of football facts.
Before long you realize you threw a berry at a sleeping bear’s nose. After unfolding itself it towers before you. Squeaking in terror you dip into your memory and gather a handful of berry facts. You toss them one-by-one at the bear. They make little pecking noises as they ricochet off the bear’s face. It blinks and rumbles closer. You’re horrified by the realization that your blueberries are now only garnish for the meal! You flee into a corner, keeping your head down and avoiding eye contact.
The puzzled bear watches you quiver in the corner for a full second, then shrugs and turns back to the game across the cave.
This of course leads to the fact that…
3) We Think We Know The Game (HA HA)
After all, football is football right? They pass the ball around, shoot on net (or try to), get the rebound (if there is one) and stop the other team from doing the same. Playing it is simple enough so why should watching be that hard?
But it takes so. Much. Effort.
We have to know the player’s names so we know who has the ball. We have to have our favourite player’s name on hand to chirp to the group. We have to know who we hate (or dislike in our newbie case) from the opposite team so we boo at the appropriate time.
Whether a referee made the right call, which shirt belongs to which team, ages, heights, etc, etc, etc.
And through all this we have to voice our opinions but…
4) We’re Still Working Out The Appropriate Game Noises
What do we yell/scream/cheer/squeal when our team scores? What is too much? Can we dance on the couch and OOA OOA as we hip thrust? Should we sing “We Will Rock You” at the top of our unpracticed lungs as we head bang at the television? Should we yodel? Should we give a classical cowboy yaaahoooo!
What about when one of our players is fouled? One can’t always stick to the conservative AW! Or OO!
Should we ouch! Damn! Gah! C’mon! Nngh! Ger! Hn! Ll! Ee! And so it goes till we sound like a cave family grunting out what’s for dinner?
But we can’t get hungry because…
5) We Can’t Sense Key Moments For Shit (Or Prioritize)
I swear there are some hardcore fans who watch the play and hiss SSHHHH right before their chosen team gathers their wits and snaps through their opponent’s defense to score a goal. Why these fans insist on silence as they watch these crucial moments is beyond me.
When the Germans scored their first goal against Brazil my housemates and I were finishing a card game on a table nearby. We thought the first few minutes would be slow. When the ball went into the net though I was right beside my housemates as they dashed over to stand around the television to witness the replays.
You can’t miss us, we’re the awkward person who turns away to order another pint the second before a goal is scored, then flips around going, “what! WHERE!” with our eyes flipping back and forth between the screen and cider tap.
The Next Generation
We’re the next generation of football fans so bear with us. We might ask what offside is and when we can order pizza but it’ll (ok it might) pass. We just ask that you stop chasing us with vibrant face-paint colour sticks and giant floppy hats. Please and thanks.
… >.> … <.< (glances around)
GO GERMANY! O.o *waves tiny flag*