You have tendonitis from managing your FIFA club (that’s EA, not BBVA). You have a special screen at work so your boss doesn’t know you are studying Fantasy Football numbers instead of the TPS report (it protects your eyes from
flair glare). At the LiveBlog you rush to project Pep’s lineup before anybody else (stupid ‘first!’-ers). Yet you hunger for the Big Time. The Real Deal. The Show. Well, you’re gonna to have to do more than just show up if you wanna stroll about the sidelines. And here’s SoMa to show you how. Fo’ sho’.
1. Actual Ability. Oh, no. The Actual Ability Department is down the hall in Our Ruler Euler’s corner office, where he pours over field maps with a monocle like great generals of yore. Don’t get me wrong, I read from the Book of Euler devotedly. I study his graphs until my eyes swim in their sockets and I reach a state of Technical Transcendence. Then I watch a match in this state of soccer grace and twenty minutes in all I can think is, ‘Ooooh. Purdy.’
2. Sartorial Style. It is always better to look good than to play good. That way you get more endorsements. Now, you have choices when it comes to clothes; everything just depends on your game.
If you bring an A game, you wear a: Suit. Dress it up with a silk tie, dress it down with a cashmere vest. When chilled, you may don a pashmina muffler and a wool duster, preferrably long, like a doctor in an old-timey Western movie. Your Zoolanders are: Pep Guardiola; José Mourinho.
If you used to bring an A game and now you bring a B game, or if you bring an A or B game depending on the tournament, you wear a: Parka over sport jacket. The parka must be a) poofy; b) past your bottom line; and c) have your club crest on the breast. It ought to have a hood, too, which you must never, ever put on your head. Your Zoolanders are: Quique Sánchez Flores; Manuel Pelligrini.
If you bring Tiddlywinks, you wear a: Track Suit. The suit ought not to be velour, or you will look like an American tourist on his first overseas flight. Like the parka, however, shiny and crested is o.k. Thus when time runs out, you run out of subs and your fans run from the stadium, you can run on the pitch to pitch in. Your Zoolanders are: Mauricio Pochettino; Manolo Preciado.
3. Bench Behavior. You cannot just stand there thinking, ‘Oh. My. God. I’m on the *&^%$ sidelines!’ If you’re not sure how to act, just look down at what you are wearing, reference the above, identify your game and read on:
If you bring an A game, your bench behavior is: En el banquillo, tranquilo. Suck on Vichy Catalan until your cheeks hollow, hiss at your minions (who will scribble submissively on a clipboard) or even pound some hardware (chairs and overheads are o.k. – careful with fiberglass walls). But your seat stays seated until something truly outrageous happens, like a close offside call or featherweight foul. Then leap to your feet in righteous anger and point at someone. Your Zoolanders are: Pep Guardiola on a good day; José Mourinho on a bad day; and Manuel Pelligrini every day, which used to be good but lately border on terrible. Poor Pelly.
If you bring a B game, or if you should bring an A game but you are only bringing a B game, or if there are VIPs in attendance, your bench behavior is: Histrionic. Pace like a new father who skipped the ‘Daddy And Me’ classes. Cup your hands around your mouth while screaming yourself hoarse. Throw your limbs around like Heathcliff and Catherine in the old Monty Python ‘Semaphore’ skit. This way you impress the Big Bosses, puzzle the linesmen and embarrass your players. Your Zoolanders are: Unai Emery every day; and – yes, confess!– Pep Guardiola on a bad day, who signals: ‘You! Spread out! Way out! Grab the ball and clutch it to your solar plexus! Then take it, run that way and shove it where their sun don’t shine! ARRGH!’ (Punches overhead, throws self into seat, sucks on Vichy Catalan.)
If you barely bring a team to your game, or if you bring a good game but behave badly, your bench behavior is: Absent. You may bump some chump from his Grandstand seat, which provides a decent view as well as ‘presence’. Do not order a hot dog. Or you may rest comfortably in a luxury box, which is sort of like hockey’s penalty box but no one pours beer on your head. You’re obviously in time-out, but you communicate easily with your minions by cell. In all cases, be aware of Spain’s new ‘Ley del Fumador’. No smoking, anywhere, and that means you, Míster Preciado.
Just don’t let yourself get woolly, ‘cause of all the stress.