What is it about soccer that makes folks lose their minds?

Soccer addicts are high on the World Cup

01 July 2018 - 00:00

The 2018 Fifa World Cup is truly upon us. Perfectly sane individuals have switched off their brains and gone into "flight mode" for the month the football will be on. When I say "individuals" I'm specifically referring to my first-born son, Ntobeko.
I'm not overstating when I say he has misplaced all his goddamned marbles! And I have my doubts about whether he'll be able to retrieve them after the final on July 15. My beloved son has forsaken earthly comforts such as water, food, human interaction and regular ablutions.
His days are divided into five distinct segments; pre-game analysis, build-up to the game, the game itself, post-match analysis and watching reruns of the day's games. I bet if I poured wet cement on his favourite couch I would get a perfect sculpture of his buttocks.
He most definitely hasn't slept since the World Cup began. Instead, he has been passing out in a heap of exhaustion in the wee hours of every morning. Normal conversation with him has not been possible. I bumped into him in the kitchen the morning after the Group D encounter between Nigeria and Argentina. He was brewing coffee to replenish his caffeine blood levels, his eyes more bloodshot than usual.
So naturally, I asked if he'd had a good night's sleep. I don't know what he heard but his response was: "Nigeria gave it away at the last moment" before launching into a monologue about "El Diego" Maradona almost snorting himself to death.During the last World Cup in Brazil I read about a Colombian fellow who was kidnapped on the eve of the opening game. The day after the final, he was dropped off by the kidnappers in a dishevelled, disoriented state. What raised everyone's suspicion was when his blood tests showed traces of cocaine and a case of acute pancreatitis.
When the story finally unfolded, it turns out the bugger had actually moved to another town, rented an apartment where he spent the entire month snorting, guzzling vodka and watching football. When I read this I had so many questions. Did he ever leave the apartment? Did he even take bathroom breaks or did he have a catheter attached to his willy the entire time? If you think these questions are juvenile and far-fetched, you clearly have never lived with a football addict.
What is it about this particular sport that makes folks lose their minds? An acquaintance described it as "a bunch of wussies in shorts, running after a ball, falling at the slightest provocation, rolling around on the floor and yelping like puppies". There's a grain of truth in that unkind description.When I first watched the World Cup in 1986 (Mexico), it was a very different game. For starters, players didn't fall down as regularly and as spectacularly as they do now. They certainly didn't get clipped on the toe and then clutch their faces while rolling around on the pitch. For an illustration of this, just Google Pepe, the Portugal defender, who is a connoisseur of this art.
Back then not every player had tattoos covering 70% of their torsos. And back then not everyone had a designer beard like the current bunch. Well, the current bunch all sport designer beards except Lionel Messi. His beard makes him look like Leo DiCaprio in The Revenant.One entertaining aspect of the game that hasn't changed over the years is one of my favourites; players mobbing the referee. One of the reasons I have continued to watch football religiously is because I am an eternal optimist. I want to witness the day a referee who is being mobbed says: "I didn't realise you felt so strongly about this. Okay, I'm changing my mind — it's a penalty!"
Of course, this would prompt a second wave of referee mobbing. I'd pay a lot of money to witness that.
I will tell you what my least favourite aspect of watching this World Cup is, though. That song. You know that song, right? In 2010 we had the Waka Waka song. And Wave your flag. If I hear "Don't worry about a thing coz every little thing's gonna be alright?" one more time, I'm going to smash the television set.
This is how I know I'm not half the football fan my son is. He can see no wrong. If you gave him a multiple-choice question, asking: "What would you rather have?"
A. Watch the game.
B. R10-million.
C. Fellatio from a double-tongued mermaid.
I bet his response would be: "Do we have enough popcorn?"

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