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All aboard for the beautiful game

I AM SO EXCITED. AND I THINK MY CAPS LOCK KEY IS STUCK, HANG ON, there, much better. I am excited. Because this is Euro Cup time, or as they call it in America, USD 1.2536 Cup time. Some of you may not be aware of this wonderous tournament. To you I say, sup ladies? Short version; the Euro Cup is a football tournament in which Europe’s best teams (and something called the “Czech Republic”) compete to see how much hair gel Cristiano Ronaldo uses. This year the tournament is being held in Poland and Ukraine, and Germany look like the favourites to win. But then again they looked that way the last time they were in Poland as well, so who knows.

The Euro Cup is extremely exhausting to keep up with. Games start at 12:15 am IST, which is rubbish, because my drinking begins at 9:15 am IST, and by the time the game begins, all I can see are little blurs kicking an even smaller blur around. But that’s only because I drink a neat shot of disappointment at Neo Prime not offering HD. This doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm though, because the quality of football on display has been excellent so far. Just the other day I saw an excellent match in which England played France, and in the 74th minute, John Terry stole the ball from Samir Nasri and there was this transcendent moment of human ability where it rained and Tata Sky went on holiday.


Hair power: The Euro Cup is a football tournament in which Europe’s best teams compete to see how much hair gel Cristiano Ronaldo uses

Another reason the Euro Cup is difficult to watch is because of Neo’s “expert panel.” The problem with Neo’s panel is that most good commentators are off working for real channels (and John Dykes retired, leaving us to our fate). Their panel has roughly the same level of football expertise as the folks from Venky’s. And the one person on the panel that does know football is Frank LeBouef, but he’s French, so he makes up for his expertise by knowing nothing about English instead. As a result, the average conversation in the studio goes like this:

Host: So Frank! Lovely game, what did you think of Welbeck’s performance today?
Frank: Yes.
Host: My thoughts exactly, but did you think England found the chinks in the French defense there?
Frank: Bordeaux.
Host: You’re so astute.
Frank: Omlette du fromage.
Host: Thank you Frank.
Frank: Who’s Frank?

It is also difficult to keep up with the Euro Cup because as a man, I am genetically predisposed towards watching football with other men. This is no easy feat, mostly because men cannot watch football quietly. When in a room with other men, each man must stake his claim and prove that he knows more about the sport than everyone else present.

So if Didier Drogba so much as touches a ball, five men scramble to discuss who he is, what club he plays for, how many goals he’s scored this year, what clubs he played for in the past, and what he had for breakfast (Special K with a side-order of money). Some of you are reading this and thinking, what rubbish, Didier Drogba’s from the Ivory Coast, he isn’t even playing Euro 2012. Yes, I know that, but I was only making a joke. Everybody knows Drogba used to play for Chelsea and is now moving to Shanghai Shenhua, a club whose name sounds like a dish that gave me food poisoning on Carter Road once. I personally feel like he should have stayed on at Chelsea, especially after his performance in the Champions League final, but I think his arrival will help Chinese football, especially after the corruption scandAAAAAAOOHH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I BECOME?!?!

But it’s worth it in the end, because the football is excellent, and the company is fun. Also, I love it because football always reminds us of how human beings are capable of pushing past the boundaries of physical limitations, colour, language and ego, to work together to create something magical. I guess that also explains why Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi play tennis.

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi 

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