What is a ‘European night?’ Why in the world are my friends discussing why fourth place is a trophy? Do your mates expect you to know that Barcelona is more than a vacation destination in Spain or that 'You'll Never Walk Alone' is much more than a show tune from the 1940s?
You aren’t really into football. You hope that your friends don’t discover this dark secret while you smile and nod when they discuss the away goal rule. It’s not something you want to get into either. It seems to have more lore than The Lord of the Rings and even Tolkien’s masterpiece didn’t add to itself exponentially every weekend.
So how do the uninitiated survive? Do you fade away into the night, hoping that one day your friends will also start watching Death Note and all will be dandy as you discuss how the Shinigami actually work? Or, more realistically, do you want to know just enough to get by and not be ridiculed instead of standing around, picking your nose and looking like you just got hit on the head with a blunt instrument of some sort?
If you chose the latter, then here are few things you need to know about to be a part of the bantz or banter.
#1 Know your role
Alas! Football is an alien subject for you. So you really do know nothing, Jon Snow! The best thing to do here is to pick a team, any team, and stick by them. Trust me, this is very important. There is nothing football fans hate more than someone who picks a new team to support every weekend. Unless you're a poser. But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.
So you've picked Manchester United based on the fact that the red might look good on you and that most of your mates also seem to support this team. Great choice! The next part may be slightly tricky. Realise that you will never be the primary protagonist or antagonist in this story.
Stand behind your mates when the bantz starts and practice saying things like, 'Mata will come good next year,' and 'Phil Jones is the future of English football.' Any more than that and you will likely get questioned. And that will never end well for you.
Football is all about the tribal mentality. Your Manchester United supporting mates appreciate you having their back and the next time you are debating someone mano a mano about the basics of the String Theory, they will return the favour in full, even if you don't know your Gravitons from your Bosons. You will own that debate because they will sledge the other person out of the room.