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You’re doing ‘what’ on game day?

May 15, 2010 | 9:34 am No comments
By Nick Bruzon

Editor’s Note: Our erstwhile England correspondent is already finding worries for June 12.

I need some advice. Where do you draw the line between the, apparent, better judgment of your other half and the prospect of watching your sporting heroes? I received the following text message from my brother Mike this morning (and trust me, this HAS been watered down to avoid causing any offence) :

“A woman who works with the wife has a daughter whom I have never met nor knew existed until 5 mins ago. We have been invited to the daughter’s engagement bash. It will come as little surprise that said ‘party’ clashes with the first England world cup match. Help?”

My brother’s wife is the tolerant sort but I think that, having signed him up to the social event of the year, my advice of “Get a belt. Add some trousers. Wear them !!” is likely to fall on deaf ears. Although he may, indeed, end up getting ‘a belt’ if he attempts such a strategy.

So it comes down to two things. Firstly, who has the crass insensitivity to book an engagement party or worse, a wedding, on the day of the first World Cup group game? It’s England v U.S.A. The World Cup has the largest audience for a sporting event on the globe. Literally a quarter of the population of Planet Earth are tuned in by the time we get to the final. Why do you think the local village hall, or wherever the engagement farce is due to take place, was free on this date?

Secondly, and the more important, how the hell do you wriggle out of it? As that renowned philosopher Homer Simpson once said, “Weasling out of things is what separates us from the animals. Except the weasel.”

My brother can’t be alone in being dragged along to unnecessary social events that clash with major sporting occasions . The question is - what can you conceivably give as a legitimate excuse?

As a frame of reference, he does actually have past form. The exact same thing happened during Germany 2006 when cousin Mark, whom I will happily name and shame, got married during our first group game. For the record, England struggled to a 1-0 victory against Paraguay with the winner coming from a Carlos Gamarra OG. (See what I meant in the last column about England going AWOL when it matters?)

I say, “Married.” To compound this already unforgivable offence, we later found out that what we had been invited to had actually just been a church blessing with the real ceremony taking place two days earlier in a sparsely attended registry office.
Would it have made a difference? Probably not. My brother and our respective fiancées watched the first half in a local pub before making a last minute bolt to the church, sneaking in moments after the bride.

I’d happily have played that golden ‘ get out’ clause then, had I possessed it. My brother’s sanity depends on it now !!

In the absence of Matt Groening’s finest, all other suggestions gratefully accepted.

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