Handling World Cup Fever

This is a post for Will’s girlfriend Sarah and all the other souls about to be deeply affected by their loved ones’ Futbol Madness aka World Cup Fever.

Tomorrow, Thursday will begin your exposure to the Sheehan men in the grips of the madness. Here are my final thoughts for you during your last day before the madness descends.


Prepare yourself.

For the next thirty days the Sheehan men will eat, sleep and dream World Cup. They will have glazed eyes whenever they look up from the TV, but that won’t be often. The rest of the time will be even worse. Their eyes, quite literally glued to the screen, will also have an alarming rolling quality matched only by their wild hair and manic pacing.

They will suffer from serious couch potato syndrome, growing pasty from slumping in front of the TV from noon ’til nine pm each day. Only their adrenaline infused leaps to their feet when a good or bad play is made will keep their hearts pumping. They will not care at all about being inside day after beautiful summer day. Instead, they will be happy, because each couch potato day will mean they have watched three of the beautiful games IN A ROW.

Their dress will be casual to say the least. They will care little about what they have pulled on for their day in front of the TV. If you notice Will is wearing a futbol jersey he has worn six days straight, consider yourself lucky it is not day seven.

They will give up all interest in any other topics than soccer. This includes all discussions of life, death and immortality. If you are experiencing a dark night of the soul during the World Cup, they will not notice or worse, they will think you, too, are upset about the same bad call that sent them into a frenzy of teeth gnashing.

When they refuel between games, they will graze in the refrigerator little noticing what they are consuming. Often reheating their food will be just too much of an effort, and they will just eat cold glop. The only consideration when it comes to food will be: Will this stuff keep us going for another ninety minutes plus or minus of glory?

You will understand not a single sentence that falls from their lips either shouted or hissed.

To sum up: They will bore us all to tears.

To prepare for this fevered time, I have encouraged you to watch pre-World Cup sports shows to get some dexterity with the language of their obsession. A hopeless task but a valiant one. I myself have watched all seven of ESPN’s “US Soccer: March to Brazil”. I now know way too much about Mix Diskerud, but when I tried to wedge myself into the conversation about the US game against Ghana, William scoffed at my level of insight. Maybe tonight I can watch the shows over again. After all, I need to be ready to fluff my way through the upcoming 63 games and so do you.

Yes Sarah, you read that right.

63 games.


Here are some tips for you for navigating the next futbol filled month- May the force be with you!

1. There is no getting around this: You need to become a futbol fan. OVERNIGHT because your time frame for becoming a fan is 22 hours and counting. Yup, its five pm on Wednesday right now, and there is no way that World Cup Fever is not going to fell them by tomorrow at 3 pm when Brazil faces Croatia in the opening game. So EMBRACE this journey into uncharted waters. ASAP. I can promise you it will be an adventure….. of some sort.

2. Consider your sudden conversion to soccer as scientific research. One thing is for certain- After the next four weeks, you will either understand a lot more about the Y chromosome specifically as it affects Sheehan men, OR you will feel that there is something so inscrutable about the Y chromosome that studying string theory would be a piece of cake.

3. Pick a horse, any horse. There are 32 teams to choose from. Just one caveat- Don’t tell Will or any other Sheehan man that you picked your horse based on the color of the team jersey.

For example, if you pick Ivory Coast as your team because their logo is a gorgeous green elephant against an orange background, do NOT tell anyone but me this fun fact. Make up a more soccer-ish reason like you heard that the brilliant but aged Didier Drogba has great legs this season like back in 2012 and is expected to help his team blow through the group stage.

That should awe them ( and frankly Sarah, they are such zombies while they have World Cup Fever that they are not going to notice if you say Drogba’s name wrong or deliver this remark with a peculiar expression of disbelief on your face).

4. Get a craft activity that can be easily done game after game while Sheehan men rant, stomp, pull their hair, scream at the ref and spill chips all around you. I am thinking a knit activity with washable wool so you can remove all grease stains from spilled chips after the craft project is complete. I plan to knit a couple sweaters for Grace. In acrylic. Machine washable.

5. Get some key phrases to shout. For example, when someone misses a goal, consider yelling, “He missed a sitter.” This suggests you think it was an easy shot missed AND know how to deliver a real put down about it. Perhaps both of us should not use the same phrase or it will look suspicious, so I give that phrase into your care.

6. During refuelings when Will or any other Sheehan leaves the TV, you’ll want to ask insightful things. These rare moments will be your only chance to talk to Will for the next month so don’t blow it with off topic remarks like “Are we still dating?”. Stick to the beautiful game. Stick to arcane questions like, “Will the titans of Germany be force to play Thomas Muller as a false nine?” or “Will Edin Dzeko lead debutants Bosnia & Herzegovina to glory?” You’ll want each moment to count. These kind of high caliber questions are sure to at least hold Will’s attention for 5-10 seconds even if his answer makes no sense to you. And it won’t.

7. Watching your boyfriend obsess over the beautiful game for thirty days straight may make you want to have an argument with him. One sure fire way to start an inferno of an argument is to bring up the topic of Landon Donovan not making the US team.

8. Remember it’s only thirty days, and you will have at least an hour or two after the World Cup trophy is awarded before another sporting event takes center stage and you lose Will to his second favorite viewing experience- that little bike ride around France we like to call the Tour de France.

9. Consider the up side. You’ll go off to college next year with a whole new wardrobe of strange acrylic garments with each bobble remembered as the moment when Jose Altidore proved Jurgen Klinsmann’s judgment correct and each dropped stitch bringing a sigh as you remember the many moments Will went to the mattresses, beating a pillow on the couch to try and bring America (then later Argentina) through.

10. Final thoughts. It will make you strong. It will make you a world citizen. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. And I will be there to wipe your brow when the going gets rough. We will be each other’s support group. I promise to share my knitting patterns. I promise to feed you good lines and not laugh when we both miss that flagrant flop someone made without getting a yellow card. Our faux World Cup Fever will be a beautiful thing. The Sheehan men may not need us because they have 3 billion others who understand them. But we won’t care because we will have each other and a lot of ugly hand knit acrylic clothing.