World Cup Fever: How To Root For Your Team Without Being A Jerk

July 13, 2018

The World Cup is raging as we speak. Which means the entire world is in a frenzy of competition. I know, I know, Americans aren’t into soccer as much as the rest of the world. To put the World Cup into perspective, just imagine what it’s like if the entire world cared about football and the Super Bowl only happened once every four years. It would be a pretty big deal, even bigger than this woman’s reaction to watching a seagull scarf down a hot dog.


Is it just me or does that lady need to calm down a little about seagulls?

Either way, it’s still easy to get swept up in the emotion and sportsmanship of the games…. Did that sound too sappy? What I really meant to say is, it’s so fun to root against the team you hate the most. But let’s be honest, it’s a dangerous world out there. You can’t just mouth off about any ole team. People take their sports very seriously. I bet every four seconds during the World Cup, someone gets into a fistfight at a bar for saying the wrong thing. You gotta watch yourself! Some people riot, others make passive aggressive comments at a bar to a stranger about how bad their team is. Either can be treacherous! But take my word for it, people take their sports very seriously. For instance, if you think this is merely a phenomenon for just adults, think again. Check out this video of a girl who can’t stop crying. Why is she crying? Good question. Well, it’s because her favorite football team, the New England Patriots, are just so bad. They’re so awful, she’s inconsolable!

Maybe one day she’ll get a little older and realize everyone who plays on that football team are just a bunch of pampered millionaires anyway, and she won’t feel so bad. Then again, maybe she’ll be just like me and continue to shed a tear every time her favorite team loses.

Seriously, you don’t want to be on the receiving end of a tantrum like that. But let’s call a spade a spade, sometimes it’s just plain old fun to watch your least favorite team lose. Wanna know what makes it even more fun? If your friend, who really loves your least favorite team, is around when they lose! Let’s say your buddy is a Red Sox fan, and you’ve always been a Yankees fan. There’s just something extra special about being in that friend’s company when the Red Sox lose to the Yankees. Dare I suggest, it’s magical. It’s like you’ve conquered the world, if even for a day.

Whether it’s baseball or soccer or the Olympics, let’s talk about proper fan etiquette. It’s not unlike playing video games and you just watched your friend or sibling lose on the last level and he’s out of lives, meaning he’s gotta start all over again. Look, sometimes we’re dealt tough hands in life. Not every day is a cake walk. Sure, there’s a time to gloat and show off, perhaps even make fun of your friend who rooting for a bunch of “losers.” You know, rub it in his face. But if he’s really upset, take a lesson from this little guy who’s consoling his brother after a particularly disappointing and emotionally upsetting loss in a video game.

The question becomes, how do you root for your team without pissing off everyone around you? Can you cheer against the home team without getting a bottle thrown at your head? How do you navigate the awkwardness of cheering against your friends team when he’s the one who supplied all the Cheetos and hamburgers you’re eating on his couch? This is what I call modern day sportsmanship.

Let’s suppose you’re at a bar or a friends house and the team you’re rooting for is ahead. Your instinct is to gloat, you want to start bragging to everyone around you about the star player. Lebron this…or Tom Brady that. “I was the one who said they should recruit Lebron and now look!” It’s best not to get too mouthy before the game is over. And it’s important to remind yourself that even though your team is winning, you’ve done nothing but eat Cheetos and drink six beers. And look, that’s an accomplishment in itself, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be proud of all those Cheetos you ate. But put things in perspective. Sure, you might head out back and throw the football around after the game, but odds are those beers won’t make it very easy for anyone to catch. Plus, if you were gloating during the game, most likely no one wants to catch those ridiculous Hail Mary’s in which you accidentally hurl the football into the neighbor’s yard. What am I trying to say? You’re no Olympian yourself, so gloating that your team is winning probably isn’t the best thing to do. With that said, whatever you do, just try to avoid doing a cartwheel like this woman:

As a rule, people care the most about things we have the least control over. Sports and politics are the two best examples. So do yourself a favor and instead of gloating when your team wins, and your buddy’s team loses, just keep it all bottled inside. That’s right, don’t say a peep about it. “Thanks for the Cheetos!” is all you say before leaving. Because you just did him a huge favor by not being a jerk about the game. Which means he then owes you a favor as well! Then a few months later, when you need someone to help you move, and you text your buddy who responds with, “Sorry man, I gotta meet my girlfriend’s parents this weekend.” And you know that’s a lie because he’s been single since the day you met him in third grade. Just bring up the fact that you didn’t showboat and gloat the time his team lost, and yours won. Trust me, he’ll remember and come running.

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