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Ten signs you might be a football (futbol, or soccer) fanatic

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ten signs you might be a football (futbol, or soccer) fanatic
By Michael Lafferty

A slightly silly commentary to mark the year of the World Cup

Admittedly, I am a soccer addict. But no 12-step program for me. I’ll take a scissor move, rainbow or a Cruyff, Rivelino or Maradona. One-touch, or two, but 12 touches are simply too many …

Having played the game for the majority of my years on this planet, and having coached for better than 20 seasons, I’m still involved with the sport – playing when I can and coaching when the opportunity and a position presents itself. I watch, I analyze, but most of all, I enjoy. And I’m not even close to being alone in that. In another month and a bit, the world will focus on South Africa for one of the greatest worldwide sporting spectacles – the World Cup. The Olympics pale in comparison.

Oh, I know, you think I jest. Ok – let’s look at some numbers. The Vancouver Olympic committee estimated that during the 2010 Olympics 3.4 billion people viewed the games. Sure, that’s an impressive number. According to the Nielsen ratings, the 2008 Summer Olympics had 4.7 billion viewers worldwide (if you watched five events on television, that would count as five views, just as a reference; these numbers do not mean individual people) - so we are up to 8.1 billion television viewers combined for two Olympic games. FIFA, the governing body of international football, or soccer, calculated that the last World Cup, the 2006 Germany edition, had a total cumulative television audience of 26.29 billion. Maybe ‘pale’ was not a strong enough word.

Well, we have boiled down the essentials of what it means to be a die-hard fan of the world’s most ‘beautiful’ game. Forget that stuff about knowing which countries are in the World Cup, or which promises to be the ultimate ‘pool of death,’ or what players are injured and can’t play – this list is about those individuals who take it to the extreme. Those who are not futbol fans (or football fans; aka - soccer for those in North America) likely won’t understand part of this, but for the rest – here are the top 10 signs you might be a tad fanatical about the sport:

10. All the environments in your dreams consist of flat green grassy surfaces.

9. The boundaries of your home’s yard are marked with corner flags and chalk.

8. You follow Manchester United.

7. Your children don’t have last names and all their first names end with “inho.”

6. If something goes awry in your life, you flop on the ground, grab your leg and contort your face in pain. But not to worry, you can go on.

5. When on a date with a new girlfriend, your hands flirt with going offsides (no second base or other such nonsense for you!) and if she grabs your hand and removes it, you feel as though you fell victim to the classic offside trap.

4. You eat with your feet by popping food up to your mouth and knock on doors with your head.

3. There is no new year, no leap, only World Cup years; everything else is a lead-up year to the World Cup.

2. You don’t yell at your children. If they do something wrong, you give them a yellow card for minor infractions of house rules; if it’s a major infraction, they get a red card, and … well, let’s not go there.

1. You wear cleats and shinguards to play FIFA video games.

Gw
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