Glasgow 2014: Pretending You Know Everything About the Commonwealth Games
It’s just shy of a month now until the beginning of the commonwealth games, which this year is being hosted in Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow. With preparation near completion, the populous is eager to welcome the 6500 athletes and officials from all 71 countries participating and relive some of the excitement from London 2012.
But those among us that don't share the same enthusiasm for large sporting events may find themselves unsure about what the commonwealth actually is and will certainly struggle to participate in the chatter and excitement when the games have begun and so we have composed a beginners guide to get you through this difficult time.
There are 17 sports in total during the games in which the athletes will be competing for gold. (categories like athletics and aquatics can be broken down further into multiple events, though it's easier to generalise them).
Via the process of elimination, the athletes are narrowed down to a selection of the fastest and most skilled few. You will be able to spot them immediately as the ones who cross "the line" first, throw stuff the furthest distance or win the most points.
The commonwealth games, originally called the British Empire Games, is an international event in which the "Commonwealth of Nations" (composed mostly of countries who were once in the British Empire) compete in multiple sports.
The games were first held in Canada in 1930. It originally featured 400 athletes from 11 countries and has run every four years since its creation (except for both 1942 and 1946 as a result of World War 2).
2014 will mark the 3rd time that Scotland have hosted the games, with Edinburgh having hosted it in 1970 and 1986.
There are literally thousands of athletes competing in the games - so it's not practical to know who all of them are and who to support.
The simplest way for deciding who to back would to naturally support any from your own country. However, should this not be possible, don't worry - simply selecting another that you wouldn't mind winning would do.
Try and learn the names of some of the most famous athletes (even from other teams). They are famous for a reason and are good fallbacks if you are really stuck. Here's the must-know list:
Expect to see the crowd go crazy when this British Athlete runs onto the track. With two Olympic Gold medals under his belt from London 2012, Farah is seen as a sure-thing for both the 5000m and 10000m this year.
Another popular Brit following the Olympics Games, Nicola Adams was the first woman to win a gold medal in Boxing at the Olympic Games and was selected to be an Ambassador for Glasgow 2014.
The fastest man in the world. Though it still remains a mystery if Usain Bolt will actually compete this year, he is the favourite for the 100m. However should he not make an apperance, supporting any of his Jamaican counterparts will generally be a good alternative.
One of the most important parts of pretending to know about sport is how you react while watching it. Though general screaming when your chosen team are winning with the occasional fist-pump may fool a few, you'll need to throw in some words to fool your most knowledgable friends. Here's a list of simple phrases to get you by:
"Come on!" - effective when your team is lagging behind, but not so much so that it's embarrassing. Though can also be used when you're athlete is winning and close to the end of the race/game.
"Ouch, that's going to hurt." - mostly used when someone falls over (laughing would be an acceptable alternative if the player is not seriously injured) though can also be used for contact sports like boxing.
"That's going to lose him/her some points" - most likely to come up during gymnastics when the athlete is a little unsteady, though can also be used for precision sports like shooting and indoor bowls.
"What was that?" - if your team are starting to lose to the point of no return, critisising their performance may save your pride. Take your chance at any evident fumbles or poor plays.
Hint: Always question the ruling of the referee if it goes against your favour. They are evidently trying to stop you from winning.
When in Doubt
Throughout the games, there will be full coverage on both TV and Radio with many commentators analysing the players and events that are worth talking about. Bring a notepad and write down a thing or two to use in conversation between events.
Escape the Craze
Of course, there is always the option of escaping the games entirely. Spending near 2 weeks attempting to take part in something you couldn't care less about is exhausting work. Save yourself the hassle and book a trip to the country where the closest person is three miles away; find a tranquil utopia where you can relax peacefully away from the craze of Glasgow and other bigger cities.