It’s footy finals season baby! You know what that means don’t ya? Of course you don’t — that’s why you clicked on this story you adorable little ignorant armadillo you. Look, I get it, everyone around you is cheering about things you don’t understand. It’s all very unsettling. We humans are social creatures, we rely on the flow of the herd, we don’t like being cast aside from the conversation. We want in on the party.
But what does one do when one knows jack crap about the sport seemingly everyone’s obsessed with? How are you going to get through this tumultuous and stressful time? Hey pal, relax your scales. We got you.
Know the teams
Woah woah, slow down cowboy! No need to learn every team. How boring. Listen, all you need to know is which two teams are in the final. Once you know that, simply suss them out, and pick one. Maybe one team is closer to you geographically, maybe you like one name better, or maybe the colours on one team’s jersey particularly attract you like a confused hummingbird to a sweaty flower it will never understand. Another cool way to pick is find out which team has fewer criminal convictions and/or anti-vaxxers on aggregate and maybe pick that one.
Be the hunter-gatherer
Back in the good old days when we all lived in animal skinned huts and had nothing but a bonfire for entertainment, the most valuable members of the tribe were the ones who could make shit happen you know? Get those berries, slay that mammoth, etc. We like to think we’re evolved beings, but we’re really not. We’re just monkeys with iPhones.
As such, if you find yourself at a footy finals party, and you’re not really sure how to talk shop, then just start manning the barbecue, or cut up a nice cheese board, hell, do anything that will make the party a more pleasant vibe for all. As long as you’re busy, you won’t be cornered into talking footy. Because you’re far too busy being a deadest legend.
Failing that, if you’ve got the barbecue skills of an inebriated raccoon, and anything more complicated than laying a slice of ham on a cracker fills you with an overwhelming sense of imposter syndrome, then simply order in! Jump on DoorDash and get a round of pies or sausage rolls for the party. Everyone will love you, and they’ll be too distracted with burning their mouths on meat pies to notice you have no idea what’s happening on the TV and have like zero life skills. Winning.
Throw in some occasional comments
During the big game, it can be tempting to disappear into your shell and just kind of sit there in the shadows, sipping your drink, occasionally mustering the courage to stretch out for some chips and dip. I would advise against this. I say your best bet is to occasionally yell at the television like the actual football fans do. Every now and then, lean forward and yell things like “Oh c’mon, get up!” or “you call that a football?!”.
If you’re really in a tight spot, insulting the referee’s vision will always get you out of jail. Or — and this one’s my personal favourite — just get up randomly and shout “WHY?!” — people don’t need to know you already do this existential cry on the reg in the comfort of your home.
Dress up as your favourite player
For 95% of NRL or AFL players, this will simply mean rocking a mullet. Boom, you’re good to go.
Tell people you’re practising that weird meditation that forces you to not talk
What’s it called? Vipassana, that’s it. Tell people you’re practising vipassana. Well, don’t tell people, obviously. Maybe text them. Or do a little interpretive dance. Everyone will be so impressed by your enlightenment they won’t even think to question your footy knowledge. Hell, they’ll probably think you’re the most knowledgeable there.
And hey, even if they don’t, you’ll still come away looking better than you did if you opened your uneducated mouth. As the old adage goes: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.
Distract everyone with your Wing Chun skills
If someone asks you who you think is gonna win, just start doing some sick Wing Chun moves. Everyone will be like yoooo this guy knows Wing Chun. Do it for as long as necessary. Eventually, people will tire of your skills and disperse. That’s when you’re in the clear, with no one the wiser. Don’t know Wing Chun? Neither do I! But that’s never stopped me — here’s a handy WikiHow, just read it the morning of grand final day and you’ll be sweet.