I Only Went For A Meal With My In-Laws. Now I Think I’m In A Cult.

A few weeks back I went for a meal with the future in laws. I’ve been for many meals with them by now and this was nothing out of the ordinary. The usual nice bit of food, a few too many alcoholic drinks and the standard four hours of pure panic making sure I come up with enough small talk so they don’t think that their daughter is with a serial killer.

You know, all the normal stuff.

During my usual ‘make-sure-you-don’t-say-anything-too-weird’ pitter patter with the partner of my girlfriend’s mother, I wandered into my usual safe space of talking about football.

“Liverpool did well considering the amount of injuries we had this season.”

“England have got a manager in Southgate that will pick players on form rather than reputation.”

“If COVID has showed us anything, it’s just how important fans are.”

I was half way through my main at this point and things were going swimmingly. It seemed like I was going to get through another social event with my girlfriend’s family without raising any serious concerns that their daughter would end up chopped up in a fridge freezer.

It was at this point that the subject of ‘matched betting’ came up.

“You can’t lose, mate. I’ve been doing it for weeks and I’m a few hundred quid up.” He boasted while stuffing chicken wings into his gob.

Straight away my cynical side kicked in and I felt the urge to argue back.

“What you do, is you take up an offer on a bookies website that gives you free bets, match that on the bet exchange and then use your free bets to make profit. Simple.” He said like rain man at an all you can eat buffet.

Surely this is one of those things that are too good to be true I communicated with my girlfriend with one of those knowing looks. It’s sort of too good in the same way, when as a child, your slightly older loser uncle used to try and sell you adulthood. Pontificating with his wise words like an ancient sage while holding a can of Strongbow.

“You don’t have to go to school! You have your own money! They let you drive a car!”

Oh it all sounds absolutely brilliant Uncle Kev. Well, until you actually reach adulthood and then they surprise you with credit ratings, a volatile job market and haemorrhoids.

No, it’s nonsense. There’s no such thing as easy money I told myself. Next he’ll be telling me he’s an African Prince who needs money for his Mother’s operation or he’ll try to convince me that I’ve been in a car accident in the last twelve months.

I resolutely kept quiet and ate my vegetable biryani like the polite boyfriend I am.

However, it was when I went home that the problems started. If you have read any of my previous blogs you’ll know by now that once I get an idea in my head, I become absolutely obsessed.

And unsurprisingly, that is exactly what happened.

The following two days passed with my internal monologue incessantly daring me to give it a go. In retrospect, it was actually a nice break from the usual soundtrack to my life of thinking about death and the meaningless of absolutely everything.

On the third day, I decided that I would give it a go. As as a man with not much money in his bank account and absolutely no savings to speak of, all I had to lose was absolutely everything I had ever worked for. But how else was I going to find enjoyment in some Norwegian football game with two teams I had never heard of? Bankruptcy gets you excited quite like nothing else.

My girlfriend’s mother’s partner made it sound so simple, but what followed was three hours of watching countless YouTube tutorials and reading a million different blogs on the topic. Surprisingly, however, after an afternoon of PhD level research, I found myself with £8 pound profit.

Enough money to buy some paracetamol to cure this migraine from trying to work out how to bleeding do it.

Since then I’ve made about another £30 JUST from watching football and I’m totally sold on it.

It’s the closest I’ve ever felt to being a member of a cult and I can’t help mentioning it to everyone I meet. It’s only my social awkwardness that has stopped me from knocking on people’s doors like some sort of Jehovas Witness.

If you do hear a knock on your door though, please do answer. I might not be able to offer you salvation, but I can probably get you a tenner from watching Scandinavian football.

Pretty much the same thing

Fantasy Football Is Pointless. So Why Am I Allowing It To Send Me To An Early Grave?

This week, the fantasy football community have reached our penultimate week of gameplay. Now for those of you who don’t know what fantasy football is, it’s basically a game in which you pick eleven real life footballers at the start of the season and then spend the next nine months of your life obsessing over every single facet of their lives. In a few years, I’ll genuinely regret spending the last decade of my life not answering phone calls from my recently deceased mother because I was overwhelmed trying to figure out which full back had the most attacking potential.

Now for others, it’s just a bit of harmless fun. They join simply because everyone else in the office is participating. You often find that they stop modifying their team after about six weeks and then throughout the season will intermittently ask, “How’s that fantasy football thingy majig going?” I bite my tongue and give them a run down of people’s positions, but a fire burns deep inside me that roars, “YOU WOULD FUCKING KNOW IF YOU HAD FOLLOWED UP WITH YOUR COMMITMENT TO COMPETE AND HADN’T COMPROMISED THE ENTIRE INTEGRITY OF THE COMPETITION.”

As you can tell, I am not one of these people and I take it rather seriously like the unbearable competition nazi that I am.

In fact, it’s now getting to the business stage of the season with just two games left, and rather unsurprisingly as someone who takes it so seriously, I am top of all three leagues that I compete in. For anyone who thinks that would make me happy, let me be the first to say that you are reading the room incorrectly. I am riddled with uncontrollable anxiety whenever I think about it. I have been top for so long that I just want it to be over. I am currently like an injured animal who just wants to be shot in the face so I can be free of this torment.

I spent the whole of last week in a state of semi-permanent depression because I missed the deadline to change my team on a triple gameweek. It was a week in which I was huddled over my tablet incessantly checking the points that my nearest rivals were accumulating and calculating whether that was enough for me to be overtaken. On an unrelated note, my girlfriend was also doing her own maths and was working out how much money she would need to save in order to leave me and start afresh.

If I do clinch the title this year, I am honestly debating whether I can take the pressure of doing it all again next year. I might retire before I give myself a heart attack. However, if anyone is impressed in the slightest by my pointless achievement, I might risk cardiac injury once again.

I’m a fragile man.