I am living in a world of instant information, finding it increasingly impossible to try to tune out once in awhile and not know what’s going on. This becomes ever-apparent every four years when the World Cup rolls around.
You see, I love watching the World Cup. If I had no job, no family, no responsibilities, nobody needing me for anything, I would watch all 64 games without question. I am that stupid interested. The problem is, as a 32-year-old dad with a job and a slew of social expectations from many angles, I can’t simply park in front of a couch and crunch Cheetos in my underwear for four straight hours, as amazing as a dream scenario that would be.
Additionally, in the last several years matters have become more complicated, with the addition of a great blessing and equally (well maybe not equally) great curse to us busy men: the DVR. To my joy, Cheetos-and-underwear time once more becomes a possibility. Yet to my frustration, I can’t watch stuff live, and a person, article or app tells me the result of a game before I ever make it to the recording.
Of all the sports, soccer is likely the worst one to miss live. Sports like basketball and football have tons of points and action and someone can tell you something about the game and you’ll still have no clue what happened. In soccer, there is a total of about 45 seconds in the 90 minutes played that is really incredible. The slightest bit of a tip-off might as well give you the entire result without ever having to watch. Friends and family believe they are being discreet when offering a hint about the game of which they saw and know the result, but they might as well just tell you the final score and when the goals happened. After years of watching soccer, I can predict the result with the slightest of tips. Don’t believe me? Here are things all of you tell me that you think are subtle but in reality have ruined the surprise:
“It’s a good game.” Thanks, but I didn’t want to know that. I was content to sit through a crapper. As a soccer fan, I’m prepared for miserable games and willing to watch anyway, because the the upside risk of a great game is glorious. But now I know it’s a good game. So I know there are goals. Plural. Certainly not zero or one. Which means that now I’ll already be on the edge of my seat. But I didn’t want to be on the edge of my seat. I wanted to be sunken into my couch and drifting off into Nod Land and suddenly jarred awake by a cracking wonder strike. And I know there are more goals than one, because otherwise you wouldn’t have said anything about the game. You’d be talking about your hangnail problem or disgust for licorice or what you’re doing about the mosquitoes, all things—while still boring—are more thrilling than that soccer snoozer not worth mentioning.
“It’s an amazing game!” Words that have never been uttered after a draw. The score could be 5-5 but if it ended in a sister kisser using the world “amazing” is impossible. Someone triumphs with amazing. And when the game is 2-0, I’ll see that amazing comeback coming 10 miles away. I’ll be fighting off yawns until the game draws even and I’m halfway prepared to be amazed again.
“You should watch it.” I was going to. Now I won’t. Sounds like a little action but not enough to write home about.
“The second half is fantastic.” OK, I’ll fast-forward to that. Who really wants to watch a first half anyway? It’s only half of the game.
“I’m not going to tell you anything.” Stop smiling. Each notch of your growing smirk signifies goals. I don’t want to know if there are goals! Don’t you understand?!
“Don’t watch the game man.” Are you serious? This is the freaking World Cup. It comes once every four years. I’ll be lucky to watch and remember 15 in my life. Even the ugliest, most wearisome and brutal-to-watch-match played in a World Cup is 100 times better than anything else that can grace my television screen. I will tape it and I will watch it and I will love every second of it because I’m that addicted to the highest level of the beautiful game.
And I’ll pass myself the Cheetos, thank me very much.