Every few years, the world gets all excited over the World Cup. Unlike the World Series, which is really just the United States, the World Cup actually involves other countries. And because it’s apparently a sport that people actually watch unlike the hodgepodge of random sports that constitute the Olympics, people get really into it.
So here’s your basic guide to how to survive the next couple of weeks of World Cup fever in the United States, where no one actually watches soccer on a regular basis, as told through Frasier GIFs.
- Don’t question anyone’s love of soccer. Maybe you never saw them touch a soccer ball or have ever heard them talk about the sport, but just accept that they’ve been closeted soccer fans for their entire lives. They will vehemently insist that this is the case and you really don’t care enough to contradict them.
- Don’t ask people to find the team’s country on a map. No, really, it’ll just make you sad. Accept that this is kind of like a geography lesson in the same way that post 9/11 everyone figured out where Afghanistan is, except no one is actually using maps. Up side? Maybe people will realize Africa is a continent and Ivory Coast is a country on that continent? Maybe not.
- If you work with/know people from other countries and their team is playing, just leave them alone. Did you notice that they’re wearing jeans to work and hurrying back to their office from the cafeteria and ignoring everyone but occasionally you hear them yelling at someone else, “forza azzuri”? Yeah, they’re not looking to chat with you between noon and 2 and after 2 they’re heading home for the 4pm game if there is one.
- Explaining the World Cup will take 45 minutes. This is in part because most of the Americans you talk to will either have no idea how it works or because they’ll take that long to explain how the point system of the first round works and by that point you’ve lost interest and just wonder why they can’t do it like the Super Bowl: one game people can fake interest in and then that’s it.
- It’s all men. As a girl who grew up during the 1990s and early 2000s, I don’t know about anyone else but I associated soccer with women. It’s one of the only sports where a) women don’t wear skirts in and b) women have actually made said sport kind of famous in this country, even among men. But the World Cup has no women, so basically your childhood memories of Mia Hamm are in no way tied to this event.
- When all else fails: USA! USA! USA! Americans might not be big on soccer, but you know what we do love? Beating other countries and being incredibly obnoxious about it. And even better: if we lose, we can go back to not caring.