The World Cup starts this week.
If you’re anything like me, that means a number of late nights, broken sleep patterns, and slept-through alarms.
Australian sports fans aren’t exactly blessed geographically when it comes to major, global sporting events.
We do occasionally get a decent run, but it’s very rare for the World Cup. The 2002 edition in South Korea and Japan was the best viewing for Australians, but that probably won’t happen often considering how dominant Europe and South America are.
Australia could have hosted in 2022, but we lost out to Qatar (who could lose out themselves, but that’s another story).
This will be my fourth World Cup where I’ve attempted to watch as much as possible. It’s also my first time with full-time work, so that’ll be fun.
To get an idea of what my near-future looks like, a typical schedule runs something like the second night of competition.
Egypt and Uruguay will kick off at 10pm, the first match of the day. There will then be a break of about an hour, before a 1am match between Morocco and Iran. One more break of an hour or so, then the final match at 4am between Portugal and Spain.
Repeat that a few times, and you’ll have a number of Australian soccer fans who will be walking around like zombies for the next month.
In hindsight, I probably should have booked leave. Or moved to England. Or, you know, gone to Russia.
I can hear what you’re saying right about now: “Why do you need to watch every match? Surely sleep is more important?”
It’s fun, that’s why. The World Cup and the Olympics are the only two chances for sporting fans to come together from all over the world, and I’d feel like a fool if I missed that opportunity.
In light of this, I feel a few apologies are in order.
Firstly, to my wife: I’ll more than likely be a sleep-deprived man over the next month. That probably means moodiness, grumpiness, and a good dose of (intentional) selective listening.
I’ll also wake you up for all the Australian matches, because it would be un-Australian not to watch. I’ll probably also get you up for the English as well, because you should be supporting your homeland.
I probably won’t be much of a help around the house either (not that I’m much help anyway), considering daylight hours will be either spent at work or sleeping.
Secondly, to our local sporting clubs: I’ll still front up on the weekend to cover your matches, but there’s a good chance I’ll collapse from sheer exhaustion on the sideline. If that ever happens, just poke me to make sure I’m still breathing.
Thirdly, to my neighbours: there’s a good chance I’ll make some kind of loud noise every night between the hours of 11pm and 6am. I’d love to be able to control myself, but I’ll have the energy equivalent of a cucumber at that point.
In all reality, there will be matches that I can’t stay up for. And there will be nights where I’ll admit defeat and get a good-night’s sleep.
But I’m still going to watch as much as I can, and, although it seems a fool’s errand, I encourage you to do the same.
P.S. If the sports section of the paper is ever just a group of plain white pages, you’ll know what’s happened.