Defined as “the agonizing mental process of accepting that football season is over” , Football Withdrawal Syndrome affects all fans of the game. FWS (also known as Football Withdrawal Disorder) is a sickness that takes hold once the regular club football season is over, usually at the end of May, going on for about 10 weeks. Symptoms include stress, irritability, mood swings, boredom & plain confusion on what to do with the next 10 weeks of your life. Here’s a victim’s guide on what to do & what not to do in that time:
1. DO Find another sport to fill your time. After all, following football is usually a form of escapism from normal life. Another sport can play placeholder. Rugby (the Super XV coming to an end), basketball (NBA finals in June), tennis (French Open & Wimbledon always in June/July). But don’t get too attached; football can get jealous if you spend too much time with other sports.
2. DO Follow other tournaments. National tournaments organized by FIFA come at this time. The Euro Championships or World Cup come every even-numbered year, while this year the COSAFA Cup, Copa America & FIFA U20 World Cup await.
3. DO Play some footy yourself. Go on, shed some kilos gained while sitting on the couch during the football season. Join a social soccer or 5-a-side team & pretend you are Messi or Pogba. Score a goal & wheel away in celebration, waving & screaming to an imaginary crowd – ‘Are you not entertained. Is this not why you are here?’
4. DO Try out something new. You have about 10 free weekends ahead of you. Learn a musical instrument, improve some golf skills, read a book (not a football book), start a garden, commit to a charity for 10 weeks.
5. DO Spoil her. FWS is not gender specific. But a guy can use the free weekends for quality time with her (or vice-versa). This can even get you brownie points for the coming season – spoil her & she may give you free passes to spend time with the boys in future. But DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT tell her she’s the Ronaldo of your dreams.
1. Do not YouTube videos of past glories and legends. To YouTube the days of Zidane, Kaka, Ronaldinho, the Treble winners, Invincibles etc brings some solace. But doing this can be a double-edged sword – making you wonder what has happened to the quality of football nowadays & also makes you miss regular football even more.
2. Do not follow/share transfer rumors. 90% of them are lies anyway. The transfer silly season starts as soon as the final whistle of the last game is blown but following every rumor on every website will make you sick. You start imagining how Player X would fit in your team then boom, Player X moves to join your rival. Not worth it.
3. Do not follow your players on holidays. Avoid following what players are doing on their holidays. Give them a break. Suarez getting his teeth into a player can be followed, but Suarez getting his teeth into a steak with his bikini-clad girlfriend on a South American beach is not news or Facebook-worthy.
4. Do not self medicate with alcohol or some other anti-depressants. If anything, share your feelings with a friend/spouse.
5. Don’t do nothing. That will only make FWS worse. Just sitting & doing nothing does not help. Read the 5 To Do’s above andchoose one or more.
It’s just 10 weeks. We’ll be ok. We’ll cope.