How to survive World Cup frenzy
On our first date in an expat bar in Prague, my British boyfriend asked me if I liked football to which I nonchalantly replied yes. On our next date, he took me to a sports bar to watch football. And I mean actually watch it. At the time, I didn’t realize that his seemingly inane question “Do you like football?” was a very serious attempt to find out if I liked football. And I don’t mean like football the same way you might like pizza or you like going to the beach or to the movies. It meant do you love it passionately and are you obsessed with it? Do you know all the players’ names and where they’re from and where they’re going next? Do you know the league tables and stadium capacities? Do you attend matches wearing your team’s football top and scarf singing football songs? Do you religiously watch match of the day? Do you sit in pubs all day watching football when it’s lovely and sunny out? Well, I suppose even though I misunderstood the impact that this question would have on our relationship, I was still better off answering yes. And even though, to this day, he thinks I lied to him and tricked him into thinking I was a football fanatic who is just as obsessed with football as he is, I was still better off saying yes. I think that is the trick to surviving the World Cup when living in England and being married to an Englishman who loves football.
That is my top tip: Just say yes.
The World Cup isn’t really about football. It’s about the World Cup. It’s about national pride wherever you are from and whichever country you’re supporting. It’s about a common goal – you want your country’s team to win. It’s about getting together to celebrate.
My husband will watch every match, or will at least try to watch every match during this global competition. The England matches are guaranteed no matter what day, time and whatever else is happening. So I just say yes. There really is no point in saying anything other than yes. However, trying to convince my children to just say yes is another thing altogether. Unfortunately for my husband, his first born son is not a football fan. He doesn’t play it, he doesn’t watch it and the only reason he’ll accompany his father to a football match is for the fizzy drinks and candy lavished upon him by his over excited father happy to be sharing a football experience with his son. Anna Grace barely tolerates anything to do with football and rolls her eyes at the mention of it. Mind you, at the age of eleven she rolls her eyes at just about anything. Jonah doesn’t mind it and simply loves the excitement of it all. Too bad he’s too young to stay up late into the night watching any of the matches!
In the past, I’ve supported America in order to mix it up and make things interesting and exciting for our family. It’s fun having a bit of competition. I’ve also supported Japan and Czech Republic because I’ve lived in both those countries and experienced World Cups in both those countries as well. But seeing all the England flags on houses and cars does make me feel proud for England and want to support them even though I don’t really pay that much attention to the matches. I’ll just say yes 😉
What will you be saying?
Meghan Peterson Fenn is the author of Bringing Up Brits and co-author of Inspiring Global Entrepreneurs with Heidi Mulligan Walker. Meghan is also the Director and Chief Designer at her own design company, White Ochre Design Ltd. And, she is an award winning expat blogger.