25 years ago, a star was born. Since the first publication, When Saturday Comes has delighted readers the world over with intelligent articles on a wide range of soccer topics. I only came into the soccersphere a few years ago, but have thoroughly enjoyed many of the WSC posts from before my time. One such post grapples with soccer’s invasion of living rooms. It rightly asked – how can we turn the couch experience into the stadium experience?
I’ve already meticulously classified soccer fans by their degree of stream-piracy-per-day and Surreal Football took a good shot at updating the WSC piece for online viewing. I want to go one step further. I also want to add some American stadium gripes.
Thus, I present for your reading pleasure a line-by-line modernization (and Americanization) of “Match of Dismay” by Harry Pearson. Enjoy.
1. At least 3 hours before kickoff, turn off the A/C and open all the windows to your house. While a laptop may offer you the chance to watch a game at a serene environment like a coffee shop, your goal is to mimic the stadium experience, not improve it. Corporate box suites be damned.
2. Place a piece of railing or wire fence in front of the laptop’s screen. If no such railing is available, toss an assortment of wire coat hangers and broken glass between you and the computer. If you have young children, ship them to the in-laws for the day.
3. If the game takes place during the festive season, download an obnoxious Santa Clause screensaver. That way, when Arsenal have completed their 42nd consecutive pass in their own half and you and your computer rightly want to dose off, Santa Clause will scare you both awake.
4. Your clock on your computer has never shown the right time, just like the scoreboard at a stadium. Do nothing.
5. If you got a decent bonus and want to show off some wealth, you could begrudgingly invite over some co-workers. However, to create a corporate box feel, beforehand be sure to clean up the urine and vomit in your bathroom. And living room.
6. One hour before kick-off, pull out some masking tape and a black marker. Then, on a two liter of coke, write “$25.” For added realism, order some wings via delivery. When they arrive, pay the $7 price plus tip the driver $5, just so the price matches those at a local stadium.
7. Place “members only” on the sofa, the ottoman, the reclining chair, the lawn chairs, and any other chair-like object. Only by standing for 90 minutes can you appreciate the athleticism on display on your laptop’s screen.
8. Before finding a proper soccer stream, post a series of suspicious comments on terrorism-related jihadist websites and forums. That way the police can frisk you down just like at a stadium (or airport). If you really want them to do a number, incorporate the terms “conceal” “bomb” “flight” and “body cavity” into your posts. This will also help you to not sit for the next few hours post-search.
9. Put on too-tight designer jeans, a button up D & G dress shirt, and carefully wrap your team’s scarf around your neck. If your significant other dare asks why you don’t don your team’s jersey, make something up about third world labor.
10. Place recently thawed meat onto a frying pan. Place the lighter to “very hot” and absolutely do not add any cooking oil whatsoever. This is the only proper and safe way to add that “burned meat tailgating” odor to the house. If you want to recreate the “tailgater mooch”, invite over a brother-in-law or two. But remember – no pre game violence.
During the game
Once the game starts, these actions will ensure a genuine “in the stadium” feeling.
1. Be sure to use twitter frequently during games. Every time twitter goes down and you see that annoying picture of a whale, reminisce about the crackling of similarly faulty stadium PA systems.
2. Tip a bucket of water over your head. You can’t really enjoy the game unless you are soaked.
3. Shortly after kick-off, log into a Justin TV chat. Immediately announce your presence with a friendly greeting like “Hey everybody, excited for the game!” Then, prepare yourself to be verbally accosted by profanity-laced insults that, at their heart, are variations of the pejorative “part-timer.” Rest assured that, just like the fans at a stadium, most Justin TV chatters are heavily inebriated. I hope.
4. If your team is playing, follow the rival fans on twitter. That way you can see thousands of tweets and retweets of “here comes a goal” before your team concedes a goal. What could be more pleasant?
5. Select a player at random and hurl abuse at him via his twitter account. If you really want to get nasty, send him a DM (if you can). You can also tweet obscenities at his significant other’s account.
6. In the unlikely event of Liverpool being one of the featured teams, indulge in nostalgia. Recreate the legacy of the Kop by pissing in the breast pocket of your D & G dress up shirt. Every time Liverpool attacks, tweet and re-tweet “Penalty.” Every time the opposing team attacks, tweet and re-tweet “Offside.” Track down the referee’s personal Facebook page and leave unsightly comments on the wall.
7. At half-time, disable the adblock plus plugin for your browser. Then, go to your favorite soccer websites and let the colorful ads hypnotize you. Are Cristiano Ronaldo’s new boots on sale for 15% off? Your life may just be forever changed. Stand up and then go to the bathroom. Stick one foot into the toilet bowl, and then the other foot as well. You may also desire to break the door-handle to the bathroom and the toilet-flush handle, just to recreate the stadium stall vibe.
8. Remember that a soccer game is one of the few places where you can yell out-loud to yourself with no fear of reprisal or judgment. Terrify your pet schnauzer by recreating this spirit and yelling at your computer screen until your face goes red.
9. This is the tricky part. At a real game, in a stadium, the surrounding supporters always obstruct your view of the game at key moments. Sadly, a brief survey of internet users shows that all illegally pirated streams work perfectly with no such interruption. You can only pray that a copyright holder will pay some Joe Schmoe to send a nastygram to Justin TV just as your team is about to score. But don’t count on it.
10. The Second Half: repeat as for the first. However, with ten minutes remaining, take your pet schnauzer out for a walk and complain about the miserable parking. If you were following the away team, you may want to remain seated for your own safety. Switch off your computer and all lights and stand in the dark for half an hour.