About two weeks ago, soccer was an orphan sport compared to basketball, hockey and baseball – even college baseball. Now, everyone’s watching. If you want to join the World Cup party, here are some tips on becoming a fake soccer fan.
1. Whenever someone comments on the game and you have no clue what they’re talking about, just pivot and comment: “Ronaldo’s artistry is magical!”
2. Save your baseball cap for baseball and bad hangover days. If you need to wear something on your head, go with something kooky. If you got a sombrero or a jester hat, go for it and then paint your face. Soccer loves kooky! And even though it’s blistering, wear a stupid scarf. A jersey would complete the ensemble but don’t put your name on the back. You’re not playing!
3. If you feel the need to initiate a conversation, ask anyone who’ll listen if Landon Donovan’s exclusion from the U.S. side – yes, say side instead of team – made any difference besides getting everyone’s attention and making soccer relevent before the World Cup.
4. Go to a beer hall and sit at a long table with people that you won’t see again because you’re a fake soccer fan. Drink lots of beer, exotic stuff, in humongous mugs and sing stupid songs. If you don’t know any, just make one up. No one will know the difference. Everyone will probably be too wasted.
5. Let the facial hair grow and show those tattoos. Soccer is big with the hipsters! Mention to anyone that you’re considering a move to the Pacific northwest in part because you heard that the MLS is just awesome there.
6. If anyone asks you what you do for your soccer fix when the World Cup is not in session, just say that you fixate on The Premier League.
7. Lastly, watch the game or pretend to watch. React emphatically preferably with loud moans and groans when anything remotely interesting happens. When someone gets bitten, act outraged.
8. After the game, fantasize about creating a soccer fantasy league.
Jon Hart is the author of Man versus Ball: One Ordinary Guy and His Extraordinary Sports Adventures, www.manversusball.com.