The World Cup might be catching on in America, but just about everywhere else in the world it’s a full-on fever—the good side of nationalism. The best US analogy is Major League Baseball opening day, when the cliché goes that any team can win. So it is today—even Cameroon, Serbia and North Korea can dream of hoisting the ultimate sports trophy, temporarily pushing aside the harsh realities called Brazil, Spain and Italy.
In England they treat their football—what we call soccer—with religious zeal, to the point of spending days in the pub glued to the screen and the bar stool. Well, that’s not necessarily good for one’s overall well-being, and the National Health Service (the government agency that supplies healthcare) wants to make sure citizens are taking notice.
To that end they’ve created the World Cup Football Fan Fitness Challenge, a series of questions that will help the footy fan to determine whether that ciggie is really necessary, or if it might be a good idea to get up and take a walk.
How successful this will be remains to be seen, but the questions aren’t bad:
- “It’s a normal week, on how many days will you do at least 30 minutes of physical activity? The kind that raises your breathing rate.”
- “Your skin is like paintwork—if you don’t protect it, the elements mess it up. Do you usually use a sunscreen of at least factor 15?”
- “Your incredible charm has worked its magic and you’re on the brink of having sex with someone new. Do you use a condom?”
- “When you’re feeling properly miserable and worried, how easy do you find talking to friends?”
- “Do you fancy a cigarette, mate?”
The 13 questions in the quiz really cover the gamut of health issues, and it’s a good idea to go through the test just as a self-check. The “score” really doesn’t mean much (it’s calculated in “transfer value,” which is not only useless but also confusing to anyone who doesn’t follow soccer), although there’s an in-depth analysis that can provide some helpful hints.
You have to pick an English soccer team and a national side in order to take the quiz, and if it matters, West Ham seems to have the healthiest fans. And oddly it’s the English national team at the top of the world table, with Spain second and Paraguay pulling up the rear in 32nd place.
Even if you don’t know a dummy from a nutmeg, you should think about your health and take action. The World Cup Football Fan Fitness Challenge could help. Hey, do it for your country.