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:
- “I don’t watch and love football to impress pricks like you.”
- “You make me want to channel my inner Nigel de Jong.”
- “You know what? I like the Jabulani better than you.”
- “I’ve no idea your childhood hero was Sepp Blatter.”
- “Jog on, mate. Take your trolling elsewhere.”
- “For the love of San Iker. Is that the best you can do?”
- “How big of a fan am I? I’m like a hooligan, except with better hair, face, body, fashion sense, and thinking capacity.”
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.