Messrs. Gray and Keys:
Sexist, arrogant, clueless.
Trolling does not pay.
Following the furor over real-life trolls, a.k.a. Sky Sports (so-called) Commentators Andy Gray’s and Richard Keys’ cringeworthy on-air exchange regarding female Assistant Referee Sian Massey in last weekend’s Liverpool FC-Wolverhampton Wanderers match and generally, women in football, I felt a strong sense of duty to provide my fellow female football fans a guide on how to bouncebackably fend off chauvinistic questions and comments, especially if they come from the archaic-type members of the opposite sex.
Below are some sample scenarios that female fans are typically subjected to:
Scenario 1: The ever popular “Define the Offside Rule”.
“Are you that insecure of your football knowledge that the only way you can feel superior is to go ask people the definition of the Offside Rule?”
Backup: Alternatively, you can floor that person by patiently and eloquently explaining the Offside Rule in your own understanding. Brevity works best for this one.
N.B. Let me just state that it is IMPERATIVE for all football fans to know and understand the mechanics of the Offside Rule–there really is no excuse not to know that. Comprende?
Scenario 2: Being asked who your favourite player is and then getting accused of liking him simply for his looks.
“I don’t judge an athlete solely based on his physical attributes, it’s so ignorant and prehistoric.”
Backup: This is when you have to up the ante and spout some amazing, “Bet you didn’t know that”, obscure factoid or Opta Joe-esque statistic on that player, thereby rendering the person temporarily speechless with your quick-thinking.
Scenario 3: When you’re heckled/harassed/scoffed at for your Club/National Team of choice.
“To each their own. Besides, I’ve no doubt your mother will defend you the same way whenever she’s asked how she spawned someone like you.”
Backup: Okay, the second bit might be a tad too catty, so I advise you only pull it out of the ammunition bag if the person has gotten too rude and ill-mannered for your liking. An alternative could simply be to shrug casually and say, “I don’t have to explain my life choices to you.”
Scenario 4: When you’re challenged to recall a difficult football-related reference or to answer an obscenely hard football-related question.
“I don’t know that one. Well done, I’m sure your life is so much more meaningful with that piece of information.”
Backup: You can also laugh it off and say, “You should start a twitter account and call it @saddoknowitallfootballfan.”
Scenario 5: When looked down on, upon knowledge that you don’t play the game
“Yes, I don’t play the game. I rather enjoy the vicarious aspect of being a fan.”
Backup: Time to put your endless hours of watching National Geographic to good use by quipping, “I’m rather content with continuing the symbiotic relationship between a fan and the football team.”
Scenario 6: When thrown the “Real football fans have seen their team play live” statement.
“Really? Last time I checked, that rule hasn’t been inscribed on a holy stone.”
Backup: The polite, ladylike alternative: “I’m saving up for my first match. Glad to know you’re so interested in my future travel plans.”
Here are additional quotable quips that you can use when faced with various football-related tricky scenarios:
Above all, remember: Never get offended. Only the weak and ill-informed get offended.
Keep calm and be confident. Real Bouncebackable Female Fans only use grace, dignity and wit when called into any battle.
Every great musical performance deserves an encore–and since the off-season is stretching out for what seems like an eternity, here is the much-awaited part 2 of the pinnacle of world’s motorsport as a musical:
Ron Dennis, on his unsurpassed devotion to protege Lewis Hamilton, to the tune of Paparazzi by Lady Gaga:
Jaime Alguersuari, on his post-2010 Belgian GP penalty that robbed him of a precious point, to the tune of Rock DJ by Robbie Williams:
Nick Heidfeld, on his quest for that ever-elusive first race win in F1, to the tune of Someday My Prince Will Come by Disney’s Snow White:
Felipe Massa, on expressing his desire to be a Champion to Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali, to the tune of Mercy by Duffy:
Rubens Barrichello, on his own plight of being the current oldest driver in the grid without winning a WDC, to the tune of Mr. Lonely by Bobby Vinton:
Heikki Kovalainen, on his brief turn as a firefighter/track marshall during the 2010 Singaporean GP, to the tune of Fire Burning by Sean Kingston:
Nico Hulkenberg, on losing his Williams drive for 2011, to the tune of Bye Bye Love by The Everly Brothers:
Takuma Sato, on his extraordinary skills that made him a cult hero for F1 fans, to the tune of Club Can’t Handle Me by FloRida:
Martin Whitmarsh, on his attempt to woo Kimi Raikkonen back to McLaren during the 2009-2010 Silly Season, to the tune of Back for Good by Take That:
THE DUETS/ GROUP PERFORMANCES:
Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton, on their heated battle for the 2008 WDC, to the tune of Shut Up and Drive by Rihanna:
Mark Webber and Christian Horner, on career aims and the right way to make the Red Bull Racing Team support a driver’s WDC bid, to the tune of Wannabe by Spice Girls:
The German drivers, disputing the Finnish drivers’ claim of being the best and insisting they’re the most dominant force in Formula One, to the tune I Should Be So Lucky by Kylie Minogue
Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn, on their reunion for Mercedes GP, to the tune of Especially For You by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan:
The Virgin F1 Drivers, on their point-less first season in F1, to the tune of Like A Virgin by Madonna:
Fortunately, there’s no fat lady to sing us out for this one.
The illustrious members of the Formula One community are more than just speedsters, cashcows and pretty faces–they can also belt out wicked tunes if the time and occasion calls for it.
Below are a selection of songs which would be the perfect fit for the F1 (and ex-F1) personalities just in case Broadway or West end comes a-calling:
Kimi Raikkonen, on his famous range of emotions, to the tune of Ice, Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice:
Fernando Alonso, on his tactical prowess and on-track aggression that sometimes gets him into trouble, to the tune of Oops, I did it again by Britney Spears:
Lewis Hamilton, on the reasons other teams should be jealous that he’s not driving for them, to the tune of Don’t Cha by the Pussycat Dolls:
Mark Webber, on his plight of not being appreciated by his team Red Bull Racing enough, to the tune of What Can I Do by the Corrs:
Sebastian Vettel, on staking claim to Red Bull Racing’s #1 Driver status, to the tune of It’s My Life by Bon Jovi:
Adrian Newey on his general awesomeness as a car designer, to the tune of I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred:
Michael Schumacher, on resuming his Machiavellian tactics on-track and his infamous off-track fashion sense, to the tune of Bad Romance by Lady Gaga:
Pedro Dela Rosa, on his attempt to play Team Hero by sharing Ferrari’s technical data to be used in Fernando Alonso’s McLaren car, to the tune of Do You Want to Know A Secret? by the Beatles:
Nelson Piquet Jnr, on what he does best on-track, to the tune of Spinning Around by Kylie Minogue
Giancarlo Fisichella introduces himself to the new-generation F1 fans, to the tune of Umbrella by Rihanna:
THE DUETS/ GROUP PERFORMANCES:
Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica, on their shared unique talent that makes them an enigma to the press and public alike, to the tune of Poker Face, by Lady Gaga:
Kimi Raikkonen and Heikki Kovalainen, on what makes Finnish drivers special and a cut above the rest, to the tune of California Gurls by Katy Perry:
Felipe Massa and Rob Smedley, on what makes their Driver-Engineer relationship so solid and special, to the tune of Baby by Justin Beiber:
The Ferrari crew, on their infamous monumental cock-up during the 2008 Singaporean GP, to the tune of We Are Family by Sister Sledge:
I can just see Andrew Lloyd Webber quaking in his shoes now and Bernie Ecclestone cackling in joyous monetary anticipation.
In a parallel universe, this is what would have happened in yesterday’s awards ceremony after Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Argentina won the Ballon d’Or ahead of his fellow teammates and World Cup-winning Spaniards Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta.
Messi as Taylor Swift is perfect, but Señor Del Bosque shedding his regal demeanour to channel the boorish Kanye West? Priceless.
Our poor Chris Dyer,
Gallant. Took blame. Still replaced.
The old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them” would not have survived years and years of seemingly endless repetition if it was not true, and in the case of men, football and wheels, the truth it holds should be multiplied over a million times. And then exponentially increased until mathematics and physics cannot quantify it anymore.
Men have long enjoyed a tumultuous, but ultimately pleasurable, love affair with football and motorsport. Accept it. NOW. You cannot do anything about it so you might as well just throw in the proverbial towel and turn that love affair into a steamy menage-a-trois (foursome, even), and have fun messing with his mind while you’re at it (A woman, liking football?! Motorsport?! What on earth?!).
This section of the blog aims to help you achieve just that–In no time at all, you shall be transformed into a confident, knowledgeable, self-sufficient, fantastic-female-football/motorsport-fan (try saying that ten times in a row) who will be able to march into any pub, club ground, track, heck, even a television studio, and discuss the ins-and-out of football and racing intensively and extensively.
Still with me? Good, because trust me, we are going to have so much fun.
Now, time for introductions. As your self-appointed instructor, I feel compelled to share my relatively brief but significantly fruitful, history with football & motorsport: First of all, I do not personally play the game, and while I do have a drivers’ license, it’s not in any way Super, therefore I am not allowed to race cars nor bikes. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit it– I am an Armchair Fan. Remember that term, for it is a rather useful and omnipresent term, especially in football:
Armchair fan– someone who does not play the game/sport but enjoys watching and supporting it. It can also pertain to a football fan who does not travel to go see his club play live and prefers to support them in the comfort of his/her living room.
You now have your very first ‘jargon’ sorted. However, this is not the last time you shall be encountering the aforementioned term, for it deserves dissecting in succeeding entries.
Moving on, I am still currently geographically-constrained from seeing my team and club from playing live, and to add to the agony, time-zone constraints also come into the picture, therefore, For the last 13 years, I have inevitably contracted chronic insomnia, canceled numerous social appointments, made some coffee farmers and manufacturers wealthy, and endured less-than-glowing-morning-after-complexions just so I can follow football matches on the telly/PC/laptop live. However, I have been fortunate enough to attend a couple of Formula One races in Asia–an experience that was unlike any other. If you ever accuse me of not loving football or motorsport enough, I shall personally make sure to reenact those Looney Tunes-moments when a massive anvil is about to fall on Wile E. Coyote’s head, only I’d replace him with you. I think that about establishes just how much I love those sports, no?
By the way, there will be no rigid nor linear structure as to how this ‘course’ will go on. What I write shall depend on what is on my mind at the moment, what matches or races I’ve recently seen, and what’s relevant and dominating the headlines. Also, there will be numerous analogies and anecdotes as to how football, wheels, and life with men are connected. I assure you, they are almost mutually exclusive that you’ll wonder why you yourself hasn’t realized them sooner.
That will do for now, I think. We shall begin the wonderful journey towards football and motorsport enlightenment with the succeeding entries. For the meantime, keep this thought with you at all times: “It’s Football, NOT Soccer.”
Hang on, that is another article altogether.