The Soccer Addict’s 12-Step Guide to Surviving the World Cup

Don’t try to get clean. Just try to get through.


1. From the first whistle, accept that you are powerless to resist watching the games. Your work, sleep, and eating patterns tumble into chaos, like Germany’s defense, hopefully.

2. Come to believe that a lower power of soccer consciousness will lead you to insanity; that is, the the guy on the barstool next to you whose usual narcotic is baseball but is now suddenly transformed into a World Cup expert—he Believes and so shall you.

3. Make a decision to turn your soccer will over to Bob Ley in the ESPN studio. When things go tits up, he’ll be Zen.

4. Make a fearless moral inventory: it’s okay to love Luis Suárez.

5. Admit to Maradona, to yourself, and to Bob Ley the exact nature of your wrongs: the World Cup will cause suffering, but you’ll still watch.

6. You still believe the U.S. will win. Accept that God cannot remove this defect of character, and that Ghana, Portugal, and Germany can be beaten if you just say yes to blind faith and more bourbon.

7. Humbly ask him to remove your doubts about Chris Wondolowski.

8. Make a list of all the people you have harmed, starting with Wondolowski’s mother when you tweeted about him.

9. Make amends to your own mother for jumping on the sofa like a crazy person after Landon Donovan’s last-minute winner against Algeria in World Cup 2010, spilling the beer that caused the stain that never came out.

10. Continue to take personal inventory and admit that you can’t find the off switch and you just don’t care. Bring on more soccer and beer!

11. Pray hard for Clint Dempsey to score his penalty in the last minutes of the last minutes of the Round of 16.

12. After the final whistle blows in the World Cup final, slide off the sofa, and go about life with knowledge from your spiritual awakening. We’ll see you at the next meeting, four years from now in Russia.