Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How to Warm the Bench

Life is full of ups and downs. A bit like football. Sometimes you’ll be on form and sometimes you’ll be in a slump. Injuries will come and heal. The coach will gain or lose confidence in you for reasons good and bad. As such, one’s skill set is not complete if all one knows is merely how to play the game perfectly. One must also be well acquainted with the skills of warming the bench, be it the substitutes bench or reserves bench or even Perennial Benchwarmers’ Bench.

I know what you must be thinking: “What could be so hard about just sitting there on the sidelines and watching the match? Fans do it all the time!” But for a player, it is not as simple as that.
A player on the bench is somewhat more invested in the outcome of a game than a fan. Even if their leg is broken and their foot is in a cast, they are itching to get on the pitch and make an impact. That is why, sometimes, in replays of scoring chances gone bad, you see the entire technical bench, including the coach, all subs and reserves plus the first aider, shooting to their feet to grasp their heads, their hands framing anguished facial expressions. But this is no way to warm the bench.

One must sit still. Unfortunately, equanimity is a forgotten art in this fast-paced, melodramatic twenty-first century. In order to warm the bench, it is best to position one’s center of gravity precisely perpendicularly above one’s sitting base, and limit movement to the turning of one’s head as the ball traverses from the opponent’s half to one’s own half and back.

It will help to have teammates alongside you on the bench who are of such a peaceful disposition, and to keep commentary at an austere minimum.

Resist the urge to abandon the bench and run to the corner flag to celebrate goals with on-field teammates. This will defeat the purpose of warming the bench entirely.

With any luck, if by the end of the match you have not been subbed in for tactical reasons, you will have successfully warmed the bench by quite a few degrees. Just sit still.

PS: Of course metallic benches are colder at the outset but more agreeable to conducting heat from the body into themselves, as such they get warmer, faster, but are just as quick to lose that heat. Wooden and plastic benches, on the other hand, will present greatest resistance to all attempts at bench-warming. But once they get warm they’ll take a great deal longer to cool down again. A bit like women.


  1. Everyone needs to spend time on the bench to appreciate the art of the game.

    1. Sure, menopausal mama. Some more than others.


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