The Jason Hahn Files: David Beckham or BTS’ Jungkook? Getting All Worked Up Over The World Cup For The Wrong Reasons
Jason and Co. are down with a bad case of World Cup fever.
I have never understood the point of football. All that running up and down a ridiculously large field chasing a little ball, while everyone who’s not on the field is screaming something at you.
When I was at school, I dreaded football season as it always meant tedious hours under the hot sun, alternately bored senseless and being scared witless whenever the ball came anywhere near me.
Of course, the low point of my football career came one day when the ball somehow, against all the odds and all the efforts of my teammates to keep it away from me, dribbled towards me and I made a half-hearted effort to kick it and sent it straight into my own goal. Which, judging from the anguished howls of my side and the cheers of the other, was apparently not a good thing.
The upside of this sorry event is that for the rest of my high school career, I was permanently excused from football classes and assigned, instead, to play lawn bowls, which is a whole other story.
The thing is, all those long-forgotten memories — another time and place, another me — have come rushing back over the past few days as Saffy and Amanda are overcome with football mania.
“But how are you even interested in the World Cup?” I asked Amanda a few days ago as she settled into the couch to watch the opening ceremony. “The one pair of sports shoes you own is by Prada and it’s only ever been worn on the carpet!”
“Oh my God, all those hot men with tight abs and muscled thighs, are you kidding me?” she sighed as she toggled the remote control.
“Smorgasbord of sexy sweaty men!” Saffy said, her bosom straining against her tight tee.
“Should we even be watching this?” I murmured as I settled into the armchair next to her. “There are so many bad optics to the whole event…”
Of course, I was ignored, the girls having moved onto the topic of how upset they both were that Cristiano Ronaldo is leaving Manchester United.
“Seriously, why would you leave a job that pays you £500,000 a week?” Amanda asked, her tone indicating that this was a question that simply could not be answered.
Saffy snorted through a mouthful of popcorn. “Well,” she mumbled, her cheeks puffed up like a chipmunk. “How about the fact that David Beckham is being paid £150 million for the World Cup and all he’s doing is smiling at the camera and saying boring old crap like how wonderful Qatar is? I could have done that! And I would have thrown in a few nude shots of myself!”
“Oh,” I said. Unable to think of anything else to say, I turned my attention back to the screen.
As opening ceremonies go, it wasn’t anywhere near the level of your average Olympics. There were a lot of blow up dolls, some ghostly balloons floating about, and a parade of scary black helmeted Storm Troopers with lightsabres who looked like they’d gotten lost on their way to the Death Star.
The girls squealed when Jungkook from BTS got on stage though we all struggled to understand a word he was singing. “Is he singing in Korean or English?” Amanda asked at one stage.
“Why is he the only one who showed up?” Saffy said. “Couldn’t they afford the other six?”
By the time the whole ceremony ended with a big bang of fireworks that probably cost a billion dollars, it must have been close to midnight. “I’m going to bed,” I announced. “I’m probably going to have nightmares for days. I’ve not seen that many enormous Caspers floating around since Ghostbusters!”
“You can’t sleep yet!” Saffy said. “You have to at least watch the first match. Qatar is playing Ecuador!”
“It’s Sunday,” I moaned. “It’s so late that in two seconds, it’s going to be officially Monday and I have a meeting in the morning and you both have work, too! And besides,” I went on, “why would you bother watching that match? Ecuador is going to win, probably two-zero!”
Saffy and Amanda exchanged glances. “You don’t know that…” Amanda began.
“Please. I spent my entire high school career playing football on the losing team, so I’m practically psychic when it comes to recognising a loser! No way in hell is Qatar going to win. Not that Ecuador is going to go far anyway. I’d say they were a triple-digit long shot to win the tournament!” I trailed away, suddenly remembering that I was really sleepy.
A deep thoughtful silence settled over the living room as Saffy and Amanda blinked at one another. I took this as my cue to go to bed.
The next morning, Saffy woke me up, sitting down on the side of my bed, pen and paper in her hand. “Okay, England versus Iran, and Senegal versus Netherlands. Scores. Go!”
Catch highlights from FIFA World Cup 2022 on meWATCH.