It’s not an exaggeration to say that the World Cup brings people together. Even in countries where football is not a popular sport, bars which show live broadcasts of the World Cup games are packed with people. Watching a game live in a bar is always exciting, with people energetically cheering for their favourite teams.
I don’t usually frequent bars, but since the World Cup games started, you can find me in one sports bar another during random nights of the week. After the first few visits, I’ve noticed that aside from the usual football enthusiasts who go to the bars to enjoy a nice match, the crowd is made up of these other types of people:
1. Former football players – These are the guys/girls who, at one point in their lives, actually played football, whether in a minor club or in their colleges and/or universities.
These are usually frustrated types who once had dreams of becoming professional football players but who now silently curse themselves for living in a country more obsessed with basketball.
This group also includes former coaches, team managers, referees, or anybody who used to be involved in the ‘operations’ of the game.
2. The significant others of the former football players / football players – The girlfriends/wives/boyfriends/husbands of former and active football players who tag along to be with their significant others. I’m not saying that these types don’t enjoy watching football; many of them have actually come to enjoy watching football games and knowing more about it than they would care to know, thanks to their partners. In some cases, they have become as fanatical as their partners when it comes to cheering for their favourite teams.
Those in this category who have not yet come to like the game watch it because they were dragged along by their significant others and don’t have much say in the matter.
3. Actual football players – Almost the same as the former football players, these people are those who have not yet given up on their hopes and dreams of someday being able to play in the World Cup as representatives of their countries.
Either that or become citizens of another country whose national football team regularly qualifies for the World Cup. This group includes active football coaches, managers, referees, etc.
4. The Super fans – They are not football players, have never played football in their lives and are not with their significant others who are or were once football players, but are obsessed with football nonetheless. People in this group know all the teams’ stats, including the individual stats of all the active players and reserved players, as well as their team’s practice and game schedules.
These are people who come into bars with too much football paraphernalia – jersey shirt, shorts, jacket, face paint of favourite team’s flag or colors, pennant flag and vuvuzela.
5. The Fangirls / Fanboys – Girls, and sometimes, boys, who know nothing about football and don’t give a damn about who is winning or losing or who is playing against whom. They’re only in it to watch hot, young men in shorts running around looking awesome. These people know who all the star players and hot players are in every team.
They don’t know much about their professional stats except that they are the current endorser for Armani or Hugo Boss and makes millions of Euros every year from endorsements.
The highlight of the game for these people is the end when the players (especially the hot ones) take off their shirts to exchange with the rival team as a sign of camaraderie. Loud cheering usually occurs not when a player makes a goal, but when the star / hot player’s face or ass is shown on the screen up close.
6. The drunks – they don’t care about the games. They’re just there for the booze. They’re still there even if a game of cricket is on.
7. The Expats – Expats and foreigners who visit the bars either with fellow expats or with local girlfriends. They are there to drink lots of beer, flirt with local girls and cheer for their country’s team.
So whether you are a football player, a former football player or just interested in ogling Ronaldo’s perfect abs, grab a vuvuzela and head on over to your nearest sports bar and join in the fun that only happens every 4 years.