The Final has come, and gone.
Forget who has won or lost. As of Sunday, July 13th, 6pm EST, the football lover in your life has fallen into a state of deep depression. And it’s not because their Nation went home without the trophy, once again. (The majority of us have ended up losers.) The real issue here is that there is no more football. No cemented twelve and four o’clock appointments, no leniency from employers about two-hour lunches or questions about your health, what with all the “doctor’s visits.” Even their home leagues don’t start up again until September. What, baseball? Not in my house. Here are a few tips on how to ease the transition for the poor, football bereft soul.
1) Every day for one week, at noon and four, send him a new link to The Guardian’s brick-by-brick summary of the World Cup. They replay the game highlights with Lego figures—the scenarios are oddly accurate, adorable, if not sad at times. Childish? Perhaps, but this is the pace with which we are working.
2) As he stares off into space at random, don’t ask him what he’s thinking about, as we women like to do, ask him why Brazil cratered defensively against the Germans. Why the Dutch didn’t switch goalkeepers in their second round of penalties. Why Messi had a sub-par World Cup. Don’t bring up his National team, redirect the focus to his local team, how their roster looks for the season… With each question will come a response that brings him one step closer to consciousness, perhaps even some eye contact. If you’re lucky, he might even SEE you.
3) If that doesn’t work, walk around the house wearing nothing but his favorite football team jersey.
4) Take him to the nearest ethnic restaurant where there is a bar. Order something straight up from the bartender and ask for his thoughts about the World Cup. Odds are, his analysis will be more insightful than anything you’ve seen on television or read on Twitter. Therapy at it’s best.
6) Go to a travel agency, find a glossy brochure that describes how gorgeous Moscow is in the summer, and leave it under his pillow.
7) Remind him that four years is really not that long. This year is practically over, and don’t forget the Champions League next year, the Euro the year after that in which certainly his team will find retribution, the Women’s World Cup (okay maybe don’t mention that one), the U-20, then there’s always that silly Confederations Cup. But then one year later you’re on a plane to Saint Petersburg because you’ve spent all the down time saving your pennies like you said you were going to do for Brazil but didn’t. See! See how it’s really only like one year, two at most.
8) Rearrange the furniture, move the big chair he’s been sitting on to the other side of the room to shift his mental paradigm slightly, slap a colorful pillow on it and make that empty chair seem, well, not so empty.
9) Rent him The Damned United, one of the best football movies ever made. Then, on the next night rent Big Fan, a dark, sardonic portrait of a man obsessed with his football team (the other kind of football), a man who still lives with his mother…
10) Repeat #3.
11) It is really important that he be with people from his own tribe in times like these. Note: you are not from this tribe. Don’t ever think you are. Invite a couple of his football buddies over (note: these buddies are probably different than his regular buddies), and leave the house.
Do these things, for him, because think of all he’s done for you over these past four weeks.
Jackie Townsend’s second novel, Imperfect Pairings, was released in May of 2013. Her new novel, I’ve Loved You So Long, will be out in the fall. Find out more about her books at https://jackietownsend.com.