Wednesday’s semifinal was the first match of the Euros this year that I’ve actually watched any of, and in so doing I ended up being introduced to a couple of strangers. One of them was a man who was clearly very into the football, which meant I had to wheel out the Stock Phrases To Talk To Men About Football. They include things like “time to park the bus” and “VAR is ruining the game” or “VAR has been great for the game”, depending on whether VAR decisions help or hinder England. It was in fact very difficult not to simply embrace that I was a real-life version of The IT Crowd and opine “what was Wenger thinking, sending Walcott early?” despite the fact that I was sure both Wenger and Walcott’s total absence from the game would’ve outed me as a football fraud.
It’s pretty funny the hoops I, and presumably others, are willing to jump through to be accepted by our peers. Simply saying “I’m afraid I know nothing about football” to another man seems unconscionable.