LOAFER’S GUIDE TO THE WORLD CUP
The Loafer’s Guide to the World Cup: how to get away with domestic murder during the tournament.
These pages are effectively a manual for men across New Zealand to clutch during the tournament. It provides advice on how to get away with spending seven solid weeks watching rugby from the sanctity of the couch without being nagged. The Loafer’s Guide is the tournament bible for real men who are selflessly prepared to sacrifice the gym and other physical pursuits to support their nation at a time of great need.
PRE TOURNAMENT TRAINING CAMP
THAT’S RIGHT, EVEN THE LOAFER HAS TO PREPARE FOR THE WORLD CUP. Obviously we are not talking about doing hard yards or anything ridiculous like that. No, but the experienced loafer will know that to be able to cut corners later, it’s advisable to start cutting them early so the path of least resistance can be enjoyed.
This phase of preparation is effectively about conditioning ‘others’ rather than the loafer. We know that World Cups are all about pressure and not being caught by surprise. So the last thing anyone needs during the tournament is a wife/partner/mistress/flatmate/ girlfriend or any combination of suddenly firing up about the endless loafing. That would be disastrous because more than likely patience will snap at around the quarterfinal mark which is precisely when the dedicated loafer will be hoping to hit top form and barely move for hours at a time. The six weeks before the tournament is when a good loafer will play others into form. There are a handful of All Black tests before the tournament which are perfect to set standards early. Rather than turn the game on five minutes before kickoff like usual – make the build-up part of the package.
Endurance runners talk of time on feet: the loafer should be thinking about time on couch. Get everyone used to seeing you there: get everyone used to the idea that rugby is never ending – the build-up, the game, the post-match analysis, the highlights package. Make them all think this can’t be missed and that you are bravely digging in to do your bit for the national cause.
What you are really doing is establishing the pattern you want at the World Cup: peace and quiet while you watch hours of rugby.
TIPS FOR THE SMART LOAFER
Sell the six-week build-up as a chance to indoctrinate one of your kids or a flatmate/ friend into the ways of rugby. The former is an easy sell – great bonding time. The latter is just as good – makes you seem selfless and dedicated.
Don’t go overboard or set a dangerously high benchmark, but be prepared to do a few spontaneous domestic chores in the build-up: it’s amazing how much good will [and uninterrupted loafing time] can be ‘earned’ by randomly doing the dishes or making dinner.
YOU CAN’T JUST TURN UP AT A WORLD CUP AND HOPE TO LOAF THROUGH SEVEN WEEKS WITHOUT HAVING DEVELOPED A CAMPAIGN STRATEGY. That’s amateur and lazy – but not smart lazy.
This is the pinnacle of the world game we are talking about so every good loafer knows the need to come in well prepared with the aim of being in top form by the knockout rounds.
First task is to buy a good World Cup guide – so congrats...box ticked. Second, study the draw and identify the must-watch games and be certain about kickoff times. This is critical because you will need to work out which games you can watch live and which you are going to have to record. No loafer really wants to get out of bed early and certainly not consistently early – so build a viewing schedule that isn’t too intrusive on sleep time.
As tempting as it is to try to ‘dominate’ the tournament from the pool rounds, be realistic and prioritise. Be brave enough to implement a rest and rotation policy where you skip Romania versus Canada and Georgia versus Namibia.
TIPS FOR THE SMART LOAFER
After targeting specific games, ensure you clear all social engagements well in advance. You probably shouldn’t skip things like weddings or granny’s birthday. But note – we are only saying ‘probably’ shouldn’t.
Organise activities for others on days you want to loaf for longer. Double points to be scored here with wife/partner/ mistress/flatmate/girlfriend or any combination of. You look like the deep, caring, considerate type when you say, ‘darling, I have booked a table at...[nice, but not overly expensive restaurant] for you and the girls’. She’s happy and you have the place to yourself so can up the stakes and loaf in your stubbies and vest.
In the weeks leading up to the tournament drop a lot of hints at work about feeling tired and then confide in one person – preferably someone you know who can’t keep a secret – that you have been diagnosed with a rare virus that drains you physically but that you don’t want anyone to know. You don’t want people to know because you couldn’t stand the sympathy and are going to battle on, put work first and haul your carcass best you can. Word will spread and with it understanding when you come in late a few times during the World Cup.
PREPARING THE VENUE
THE SEASONED LOAFER WILL BE HAPPY WALLOWING IN THEIR OWN FILTH but equally conscious that others won’t be. You have to play the referee. So if your wife/ partner/mistress/flatmate/girlfriend or any combination of, is a bit particular about cleanliness and tidiness, do the bare minimum to keep on top of that.
The laziest thing to do is to put the bulk of effort in pre-tournament with a ‘major’ clean up. What this means is take everything off the coffee table and chuck it in your wardrobe. In fact, anything not secured to the floor or wall – chuck it in your wardrobe. Instantly the place will look neater. Dust the TV – only because you will be able to see it better and then put this guide on the coffee table. Game on.
TIPS FOR THE SMART LOAFER
Bring two rubbish bags and a hand-held vacuum into the lounge for the tournament. This is basic stuff – you can lob beer cans and chip packets straight into the right place without even moving.
As for the hand-held vacuum..? You may, because watching all this rugby will be exhausting, feel the need to lie down while you are snacking. Have the hand-held vacuum handy, so you can grab it while horizontal and then simply give yourself a good going over to remove snack debris from your clothes.
Lightly baste the remote control in something sticky. Don’t damage it – just a veneer of honey or jam or fizzy drink will be enough to ensure anyone who strays way offside and picks it up, will quickly put it down. Think of it as rucking – the best way to deal with those on the wrong side trying to get their hands on the ball.
Now here’s a big play to try. Make a big show when you are tidying up – shoo away anyone who asks to help. After everything is safely in the wardrobe, take a glass – there is always collateral damage in the best plans – and where no one can see ‘accidentally’ smash it on the floor. Use a broken piece to inflict a tiny cut in your hand – enough to draw claret and then go down like a sack of spuds, but of course make sure at this point, that the blood and agony can be seen. You are ordered to the bathroom to take care of yourself, meanwhile wife/partner/mistress/ flatmate/girlfriend or any combination of, will rush to clean up glass and you just know, they will get the vacuum out for the last tiny bits and won’t be able to resist doing the whole room.
HYDRATION AND SUSTENANCE
VITAL PART OF THE GAME THIS. Just as it would be madness for an athlete to put the wrong fuel in their body, so too would it be crazy for the loafer to ignore the importance of nutrition.
Snackage is where the best loafers come into their own – especially deeper into the tournament. The first part to get right is, obviously, not being the one who has to acquire the food. Good tip here is to spread the purchases across numerous expeditions. It would be a concern to wife/partner/mistress/flatmate/ girlfriend or any combination of, if they were sent out to acquire 48 family packets of chips, one vat of beer and two-thirds of the world’s pop corn production. A little here and a little there so by kick off, the pantry is bulging but no one noticed.
Note, there are plenty of morning kickoffs so breakfast-appropriate snacks will avoid suspicions being raised that you are quite radically ‘letting yourself go’. On that list should be Rashuns – they are bacon flavoured and bacon is a breakfast food.
EVERY BIG TOURNAMENT THESE DAYS they talk about the legacy. No one likes building huge white elephant stadiums that are never used again or failing to capitalise on all that inspirational endeavour and profile.
A good loafer should be thinking the same way: working out what appallingly lazy habits can be sustained long after the tournament finishes. Turning up late for work is risky but not so much if you played the mystery virus card beforehand. In fact, would be suspicious if you were suddenly ‘cured’ when the World Cup finished. Best to play that hand through to Christmas.