For nearly four placid years at a time, Americans who don't care about soccer peacefully coexist with soccer fans, joining together in harmony for food and drink without ever having to hear about the relative merits of Messi and Ronaldo.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the World Cup hits. The madness starts to take a grip and soccer agnostics find themselves among droves of true believers.
Sound familiar? If you're an apathetic World Cup viewer, here is what your life has probably looked like for the past few weeks.
Stage 1: Blissful Ignorance
"Wait, the World Cup is this year? THIS WEEK?"
Save for some posters at your local bar and the stray Facebook update on your newsfeed, you hadn't really noticed the cup was coming. Then, slowly, you start seeing every other person on your block in American pride clothing. Some July 4th presale? Nope, the World Cup is here, hitting you like a ball to the face.
Stage 2: Incredulous Dismissal
"C'mon guys, no one in America actually follows this sport, right?"
You really can't believe all these people are tuning in. Some are even having barbecues and, like, inviting people over to watch "the game." You wonder when so many Americans starting watching soccer. This seems like it can't be for real.
Stage 3: Begrudging Acceptance
"Ugh, fine -- might as well learn some soccer terms and team names to get through this. Oh, and watch some games."
OK, time to look into this soccer thing a little. Instead of "field," apparently it's a pitch -- but no one actually calls it a pitch. Oh, and it's a "match," not a game, but you can call it either. No, there's no such thing as "sudden death," and yes, games -- er, matches -- can sometimes end in a tie. You got this.
Stage 4: Total Befuddlement
"Wait... I don't get why this is supposed to be entertaining."
Without commercial breaks, when do I pee? Why is the clock counting up, not down? Why are so many players just lying on the ground? Have they been lulled to sleep by the soothing voices of the British announcers?
Stage 5: OK, That Was Fun. Can We Have More Of That?
"More dancing and goals, please. Thanks!"
If the World Cup organizers could promise more amazing goals and dancing then you might be willing to get into all of this.
Stage 6: Overwhelming Hopelessness
"When... will... it... end?"
It's been weeks and you no longer believe that this is ever going to end. You feel like you'll be stuck in World Cup extra time for ever and ever, surrounded by fans shouting slurred chants while wearing matching jerseys. You're patriots and all, but you can't help but wonder if these "U-S-A" chants really necessary at two in the morning on a Saturday? "I believe" in things in general, but is this really a rallying call to pound beers at lunch on Thursday?
Stage 7: A Sigh Of Relief
"Ah, the end of the hoopla. I can finally move on with my non-soccer filled life."
While you weren't outright hating on the Stars and Stripes, you hope that America's elimination from the tournament will allow you to finally get your local bar back.
* We know these GIFs aren't all from World Cup games... but to a non-soccer fan, they all look the same.
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