Hat-Tricks, Penalties, Offsides, Oh My! A Novice’s Guide To The World Cup

Hat-Tricks, Penalties, Offsides, Oh My!

A Novice’s Guide To The World Cup

With the FIFA World Cup starting this week, the pressure to look like you know your way around a sports game is on. “But wait,” you ask, “Why is this such an important skill to have?” It’s not.

However, ladies – if you’d like to valiantly enjoy those chicken wings and margs at your favorite establishment this summer, chances are a game will be on. Use this guide to learn how to walk it like you talk it, fake it ‘til you make it, and #swaay it  while you say it… whether or not you understand what’s happening.

Let’s split up our faux sports strategy into two categories: Offense and Defense.

Defense: Aka What Not To Do

The sports police (aka most men) are eager and ready to sniff out sports imposters like truffles in the mud. Whatever you do, avoid making these mistakes during the game.

Get the time frames wrong

Basketball, hockey, and American football are split into quarters; baseball and cricket have innings (often feels like 50 of them); and soccer has periods (two per game, not one per month). Feel free to make a menstruation joke or two this World Cup to distract away from your sports disinterest.

Root for colors instead of the team

If you must, write down the names and corresponding colors of said team on a napkin, your palm, or on your phone for quick reference. Maybe memorize the mascot – but NOT the mascot name. It’s obvious you googled it unless you’re a die-hard fan.

Vote for an athlete vs a team

They all expect us to love Christiano Renaldo, but don’t let them catch on. Yes — he’s hot, but he’s also… um. See, that’s the trap! While you’re at it, don’t wear the hype player’s jersey; it could be a sign that you’re a bandwagon bitch.

Get the terminology wrong

Self-explanatory. Take a quick glance at Wikipedia before hitting the game to make sure you know the difference between a goal, touchdown, score, home run, penalty, and whatever other terminology they use to explain the same exact thing…

Text or post too much during the match.

Yes, you look great in those official PINK team sweatpants. And yes, your ex should know that. But spending too much time staring at the small screen in your hand instead of the flat screen on the wall is a red flag that you’re all show and no play. Tip: if you literally can’t stand watching the game, go on your phone and say you’re just checking ALL of the scores.

Offense: What to say to get out of your own way

Alright, so you’ve avoided many of the boobietraps they’ve set up for us, but who’s to say you can’t be the belle of the ball-game? Maintain street cred and keep yourself entertained during the match with the simple strategies below.

Regardless of which team you’re rooting for, go silent as they make the play, then explode with the rest of the room as it either gets a goal or fails.
Ask a lot of questions

If you’re not into creating the facade that you get what’s going on, at least show interest in the game to stay social with your crew. Have you ever realized that the terms “Debby Downer” and “Negative Nancy” have no masculine counterparts? That’s because Bummer Bradley has been faking his interest in sports since the dawn of time. Stick to the motto: “questions asked here-and-there show the guys you *cough cough* care.”

Monkey see, monkey do

Women are known to be more attentive, right? Clap when they clap, get angry when they get angry, and throw out a “I cant believe it either!” or “Right?!” whenever you get the chance. However, avoid starting physical fights over sports… leave that for the real monkeys.

Hate on the Ref

Huff and puff or randomly scream heated comments at the referee. Try: “Oh come on, that wasn’t a foul!” “Are you kidding me?!” and “Dude, that ref!” The only time people like refs is during Halloween unfortunately.

Women are known to be more attentive, right? Clap when they clap, get angry when they get angry, and throw out a “I cant believe it either!” or “Right?!”
Make a bet

This is mostly just for the fun of it — although it feels great to win money when you’ve had no idea what’s been going on the entire time (tip: do not admit that until the game is over). Even a $5 bet is enough to make the game interesting. Use words like “upset” and phrases like “why would you bet that much money on sports anyways?”

Hold your breath when they get close to the other side

This is a personal favorite of mine. Regardless of the sport, you know things are getting heated when the players get to the opposite side of the field. Regardless of which team you’re rooting for, go silent as they make the play, then explode with the rest of the room as it either gets a goal or fails. This works great if you forget who you were voting for: no one can tell an “ooh” from an “aww.”

Pick a side to root for, and have a reason why you did

You don’t want to be “that girl” who choses a team to root for because of hot players or because you once visited that place on spring break. Though I’m not quite sure what other reasons there are.

Learn key response phrases.

There are some excellent trite sports phrases that you can say such as:“You play to win the game!” “Hey it’s alright… we’re still in this,” and “Is it time to panic?” If you’ve made a bet, sure you can panic. If not, calm down and order more fries.

Go rogue

Sometimes, you’ll get a little excited and decide to take this show into your own hands. If you’ve reached the boiling point — God help you — make this your time to assert dominance. Scream at the tv, throw croutons from your salad, and channel your disappointment for the opposing team. Bonus points if you do it all in a Boston accent.

Reem Edan

Reem is a 26 year-old Muslim-American comedian.

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