Warning: Minor GoT spoiler
You might be one of those people who know that a current football player is David Beckham. And that too because you followed Spice Girls back in school and still have a few songs stashed in your secret playlist.
Or worse. You know Ronaldinho because he keeps showing up in articles on people who spent bazillions on fixing their crooked teeth. You might also look up on Ben Affleck who spent upwards of $20k although he's not a footballer. But, if you like teeth that is.
Which brings us to a worrying time for those of us not enthralled by all things football. There is still a week to go and it is the most talked about week. More so than the time one of those Kardashians balanced a bottle on her behind because she did not have enough people liking her counter space in the kitchen.
How do you fit in and have everyone think you are the bomb? (Except if you're an Asian/Arab/Black in any American Embassy-related party where you definitely DO NOT want anyone thinking you are the bomb. You can only be a sparkler there, quietly.)
Pretending to know football is like socialising 101. You go in with a smile, especially if you had work done on making it white and straight. A smile disarms people because it shows you are not ready to bite anyone, yet.
You start by picking a team
Pick any team. Except Saudi Arabia. When they play, their ball gets tangled up in their long flowing robes. This is from videos of young Arabs playing on Arab streets when they are not drifting their cars on public roads.
You need to find out a few key player names and what they are known for. Like how Maradona loves all things in powdery form. Or how Cristiano Ronaldo owns a Lamborghini Aventador.
Let the other person carry the ball
The best way to appear knowledgeable is by NOT saying something stupid. It is like all those times marketing geeks say how they are revolutionising the market by increasing the prices of things people no longer want so as to make it more desirable. Yeah, do not do that.
Brush up on light trivia that you can throw at people. Keep it simple though. Talk about common things and ask others for their opinions. Football fans have opinions. They have more opinions than political talk-show guests discussing how to govern the country. Ask about the worst yellow cards this season.
Identify your team
In a business networking setting, you simply hone in on people dressed more expensively than others. Here, you do the same. You've picked a jersey, and you find people who have also picked similar flags for their jersey, iPhone cover, keyboard mouse, and car stickers. Once you find your team so to speak, nod and mutter, “(Insert player name) is having a tough time carrying his team. What do you think?”
Keep things vague
“Grameenphone is doing well.”
“You use bKash? Convenient, right?”
“Digital agencies, right? Pffft.”
These are the lines you throw out at professional meetings while you sip lukewarm coffee and plain cake. With football geeks, you keep your comments vague as well.
Say the obvious because that's what fans do
You will be watching the game at some point of time with all these fanatics. You will feel like a jihadist who doesn't want to set off a bomb but instead wants to sip a mojito in Costa Rica where the dancing goes on all night. This is when you need to avoid stalking the pretty girls in Instagram like you normally do and focus on saying the right things as the match progresses.
Read the crowd and watch how they are feeling.
Upset? Cry out, “WHAT THE FLUKE JUST HAPPENED?”
Goal scored? Shout “Gooooooooooal!”
Ronaldo fell down again? Laugh or hiss depending on your team.
Free kick? Shout “That's a free kick!”
Missed a kick, “Where's the bloody defence?” My extensive experience with shouting football friends shows that the defence is usually quite hated. It is like hating on Facebook journalism. No one is actually affected and everyone joins in.
When all else fails, mimic.
When others cheer, you cheer harder than anyone else. Remember Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's sofa? Yeah, that could be an example. Is everyone else crying and you do not have tears? Think of the time Jon Snow died in Game of Thrones. It will bring devastating tears. But then, everybody dies in Game of Thrones. And when everyone starts breaking things, you er, um, let's hope it will not get there. But it usually does when it comes to league matches and you must break something.
Which brings me to the conclusion now that you are an expert football socialiser. Keep it simple, let others carry the tone and when in doubt, say you have to take an important call and bow out. Just like in a business meeting.
Bonus: “Russia's Golovin scoring big while Putin is leader. Convenient, eh?”
Ehsanur Raza Ronny is a confused dad, all-round car guy, model car builder, and cartoonist. He is also Editor of Shift (automobiles), Bytes (technology), and Next Step (career) of The Daily Star.