In America, the summer after graduate school when I was underemployed and there was a freeze on new teaching hires in NYC, the 2010 World Cup happened. Growing up I had never really been around people who cared for the sport, but that year I cared. My roommates were also very into it. And we were all underemployed, so we had far too much time to sit around watching football all day. We printed out the schedule and hung it on our fridge and had a million inside jokes about teams and players. We didn’t have an A/C for much of that hot, hot summer, so we lived off of popsicles and football. And it was amazing.
There are only three games left in this World Cup, (or four if you count the third place game) and I would hardly say that I’ve watched all the matches, and I definitely can only name like three players (who wouldn’t learn the name of the fantastic flopping Neymar?), but I have so enjoyed it once again. The other day bae and I were watching Russia lose to Croatia and it was so fun to just cheer and pretend we care and see these strangers who’ve trained all their lives play so nicely for our entertainment.
And it’s such a lovely excuse to get together. For more than one game, I’ve gathered with people I rarely see anymore, and yeah we enjoyed seeing the game, but it was also fun to see each other. As we get older, sometimes we need excuses to get together. Because we’re all in our lives and our routines and unless there’s an important event, sometimes it’s easy for people to just flake on the plans or for nobody to initiate a plan or for the plans to only actually be realized once a month. It’s easier to just hide in our lives and continue our routines and pretend we’re going to the gym or we need to do laundry, but we’re really just going to go home and order food and binge-watch something that’s not even that interesting.
So I encourage you to make a plan with your friends to watch one of these last few games! You might not care at all about the teams (all my teams are gone – possibly because they were chosen entirely for their underdog qualities) but watch the first ten minutes of the match and then decide who you like more. Pretend you’re a die-hard fan. Joke with your friends about the players and their foibles. Talk about who’s the cutest. Mock the die-hard fans who’re in the bar with you all. And revel in the fact that all around the world, countless other groups of friends are doing the same thing.