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工作时间看世界杯

2014-07-07    来源:英语点津    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

The joys of watching the World Cup at work

I’ve been a World Cup enthusiast for longer than I care to admit, but I still don’t consider myself any kind of expert on soccer.

I have, however, become an expert on watching World Cup matches during work hours.

I’m taking the risk of getting fired for that last sentence because somebody needs to point out that we’re presently experiencing the most watch-at-work-friendly World Cup ever. (Even the cultural authority Google Doodles has tacitly acknowledged as much. See below.) And it’s all thanks to the technological evolution in the ways we watch, communicate, and bond.

My Cup obsession began at a time when catching every game meant watching a fair number of them on Spanish-language cable. By the time I entered the work force and moved to New York in the mid-1990s, the Cup was more thoroughly covered in all the languages I’m fluent in (English) through cable packages available in many homes and not a few sports bars.

The problem: Depending on the host nation, crucial Cup games often unfold at some moment inconveniently situated between 9 am and 5 pm US time. In the old days, the only solution involved physically sneaking out of the office and decamping for two hours or more with workplace confederates — almost certainly in a place where beer is sold.

This was always fun, but side effects included 15 voicemails from the boss and the need for a short nap before answering any of them.

Gradually, as connection speeds improved, the Internet became a plausible alternative. But access to any particular match could be a crapshoot. And, even in the best scenario, it’s not easy to follow a contest in one browser window while convincingly interacting with something that resembles work elsewhere on one’s desktop.

This year is different. Crucially: The iPad, and the entire tablet market that it helped popularized, have gone from novelty to routine tool — with a fairly robust app ecosystem to support their use. I can’t set up a TV on my desk. But an iPad? No biggie. And those of you in more Orwellian workplaces can even resort to a smartphone.

Yahoo has already told you how to watch the tournament online, so I’ll just add that my extensive, uh, testing has determined that the Watch ESPN app works very nicely.

And, happily, soccer is well suited to continuous partial attention. Zone in on work, and the occasional bursts of crowd excitement prompt a shifted glance to innumerable replays. If work is under control and it’s time to “look busy,” take some minutes to luxuriate in the athleticism and precision of the most popular sport in the world.

Meanwhile, the culture and tools around instant messaging and social media and even company-mandated internal communication systems have made it way easier to bond with fellow Cup fanatics in real time.

I won’t out any virtual confederate co-worker here. But I’ll offer a social media example. A slow point in my workday overlapped with the Uruguay-England match recently, and I informed Twitter that in my opinion the Uruguayan jerseys are simply too tight.

Unlike the 99 percent of my tweets that are totally ignored, this one quickly sparked a sympathetic (and hilarious) conversation — it wasalmost like connecting with a random work-shirking stranger in a bar.

Look, I won’t lie. It’s still more fun to play outright hooky with a band of similarly reckless colleagues who don’t mind leaving their desks empty and their phones ringing to watch a competition between the national teams of two countries none of us has visited, all in hopes of collectively screaming “Gooooooooooaaaaaaaal!” Particularly if there’s also beer.


But we don’t live in a perfect world, do we? There’s work to be done. And, as never before, we have at our disposal the tools to look like we’re doing it — even as we’re IMing our secret World Cup fan clique, drunk only on the excitement of any given contest: “Gooooooooooaaaaaaaal!”

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我是一个世界杯球迷,时间长得连我自己都懒得提了,但我仍然不认为我是足球方面的专家。

但是,我已经成为工作时间看世界杯的专家。

为了这句话,我承受着被解雇的风险,因为有人会说现在的世界杯比任何时候都适合工作时间看。(就连文化方面的专家谷歌主页的Logo涂鸦也默默地认同了这一说法。详见下文。)多亏了技术的发展,我们看电视、交流和联系的方式也有了进步。

追一场球赛就意味着可以在西班牙语的电台看到一群养眼的帅哥,那时我就开始爱上了世界杯。20世纪90年代中期,我参加工作,搬到了纽约。那时世界杯的覆盖范围开始扩大,可以用我能流利使用的所有语言(英语)收看到,只要家里有无限电缆就可以收看到,而不仅仅局限在一些运动型酒吧。

问题是:由于主办国时差问题,关键性的几场比赛常常在美国时间早上9点到下午5点,刚好是上班时间不方便观看。过去,唯一的解决方法就是偷偷溜出办公室,和同事悄悄消失2个多小时,当然我们一般都会去有啤酒卖的地方。

那时总是很有趣,但是后果就是收到老板的15个电话留言,而且在回复留言之前需要小憩一会儿。

慢慢地,随着网速提升,互联网开始成为一个不错的选择。但是能够看到任何一场比赛都是撞大运的事儿。何况即使在最理想的情况下,想在台式机上既用浏览器看比赛又做出认真工作的样子可没那么简单。

今年情况有所不同。关键在于:iPad的出现,以及由它带动的整个平板电脑市场。从刚一开始它们还是新鲜事物,现在已经成为常用设备——还有一个充满活力的应用程序系统,为它们提供支持。我不能在办公桌上安一台电视机,但是一台iPad总可以吧?这又不是很占空间的东西。再不济,如果你公司的管理严格,你也可以在智能手机上看吧。

雅虎已经教你怎样在网上看世界杯了,所以我只是补充一下我多次试验的经验就是Watch ESPN这个应用程序效果非常好。

令人高兴的还有一点,就是足球不需要一直全神贯注地看。重新投入工作,以及观众时而发出的欢呼可以转移你的注意力,让你回头去看无限次回放。如果你的工作已经完全在你掌控范围之内,那么是时候让自己“看上去忙碌一点”,花几分钟享受运动员精神以及世界上最流行的运动的精髓吧!

此外,即时通讯工具,社交媒体,甚至于每个公司都有的内部沟通系统让我们和跟自己一样的世界杯脑残粉实时交流更加顺畅。

我不会供出我在网络上一起看球的同事。但是我举个社交网络上的例子。最近,因为工作上一件不太紧急的事跟乌拉圭对英格兰那场比赛冲突了,我就在推特上发了一条状态,说乌拉圭的运动衫太紧了。

我发的推特99%都会被无视,这一次却迅速激起了热烈讨论——就跟在酒吧里偶遇一个同样是从办公室逃出来的陌生人聊天一样。

我不会撒谎。和一帮臭味相投,不管办公桌是不是没有人,无视手机来电的热血同事逃出来看我们从未去过的两个国家踢球,我们只有一个想法,就是一起喊“进球!进球!”这种经历仍然有趣得多。当然,如果有啤酒就更好了。

但是我们生活的世界并没有如此完美不是吗?工作还是需要完成。跟以前不一样的是我们可以随心所欲地使用一些工具,让我们即使是在跟世界杯球迷发送秘密短信,也看上去好像是在工作一样。任何一场比赛都能让我们欢呼雀跃随之开怀畅饮。“进球!进球!”


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