Know Before You Go: Mass Ave’s World Cup Block Party

Don’t be an ugly soccer fan. But don’t be a ninny about it all, either.
Soccer fever has descended upon the Circle City. The U.S. Men’s National Team has finally advanced to the Round of 16 (¡Ole-Ole-Ole!) and will face the Belgians in a win-or-go-home match Tuesday, July 1. Starting at 2 p.m., Mass Ave will host a block party with multiple big screens broadcasting the match, which begins at 4 p.m.
Now, before you ask USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to write a doctor’s note of sorts to get you out of work—because soccer!—here are a few things you need to know to make your downtown block-party experience the bee’s kneepads:
1. Bring a crappy lawn chair or two.
Let’s be real, there will be myriad “emotions” (a.k.a. mixtures of beer, food, bloodstreams, and human passion) flying through the air and it’s most likely going to ruin whatever you bring. Soccer fans aren’t known for being tame.
2. Pack a poncho.
Don’t be that person who whips out an umbrella. You’re going to be packed like sardines near the screens, and the last thing emotionally-strung people cheering on their home team need is someone blocking their view with a golf umbrella. Postscript: It’s all over when someone loses an eye.
3. Bring a cooler.
Laying down some truth here, soccer fans can be lushes and $5 beers at Chatham Tap can add up quickly when you forget your true tolerance level. Bring a small (as in wonderfully portable) cooler in which to pack a few extra of your favorite craft brews. This ain’t a bro-tastic frat party, but it’s still a party.
4. Get Americanized.
Go all out. Get red, white, and blue on your face and other acceptable areas of bare skin. And get some unique Team U.S.A. team gear. The Brick Shirt House has a vintage shirt for you hipsters, and will deliver downtown Tuesday. Indy Eleven gear stands will populate the avenue to boot.
5. Know what’s at stake.
In short, if the Americans waffle against the Belgians, we’re toast. There will be no more World Cup for us as a nation for four years, and you won’t have a reason to feign major allergy/sinus issues in your boss’s presence anymore. Know the players, maybe even their positions—and above all, do know the calls refs will make, the verbiage of the sport. Do not ask, “What’s going on?” It’s guaranteed that you’ll get the stink eye from more than one person if such a question flops from your lips.
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Photo album by Alyssa Shufelt; featured image courtesy Chatham Tap on Instagram