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Dear boss,

Please excuse (insert name here) from work Thursday due to Team USA’s third tournament game in the World Cup.

You may have heard how Buffalo has gotten caught up in all the excitement, as soccer fans – longtime and first time – packed local bars and crowded into Canalside to watch Sunday’s heart-pounding 2-2 game against Portugal on television.

Unfortunately, this next crucial game versus Germany is at noon Thursday – smack dab in the middle of the workday. What’s an employee to do? What’s a soccer fan to do?

“Take a long lunch – a very long lunch,” said Enrico Santagati, a University at Buffalo research assistant and doctoral student from Italy.

It worked for Santagati and his UB colleagues, Panos Markopoulos and Nikos Tsagkarakis, both from Greece.

The three stopped in at Mes Que on Hertel Avenue on Tuesday afternoon to catch Italy lose to Uruguay.

“We have a flexible schedule,” Santagati explained.

That, of course, may not be an option for everyone.

So some, like Anthony Gullo, will take their chances Thursday and record the U.S.-Germany game on DVR.

Then, they’ll hope that somehow, someway in this age of instant news they don’t hear the results before they reach home and enjoy the game.

“I’m going to wear a sign on my back,” said Gullo, who works for Erie County, “‘Do not tell me the score.’”

Whatever happens Thursday, boss, expect productivity at work to be low.

It’s like every year when the men’s NCAA basketball tournament rolls around and employees are keeping one eye on their work and one eye on the scores, while bosses look away for the day.

But like Buffalo, companies have embraced the World Cup, too.

Usually tuned to CNN or the BBC, the corporate televisions at Rich Products have been fixed on ESPN during the World Cup.

“We’ve had games on pretty much all of our screens,” said Dwight Gram, vice president of corporate communications at Rich. “It’s a global event. We’re a global company. I think people have really gotten into the World Cup around here.”

BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York also will have Thursday’s big game turned on inside the corporate lunchroom, something the company did during the Sochi Olympics when the USA men’s hockey team played Canada.

“Everybody has a mobile device,” said Julie Snyder, director of corporate relations. “Although not officially sanctioned, I cannot imagine people wouldn’t be on their mobile devices watching.”

“We haven’t had any viewing parties, but I will guarantee almost everyone will be in front of the TV on Thursday,” said Rachel LaManna, account director at the East Aurora-based Cenergy Marketing & Communications, which has such big-name clients as ESPN.

But a little warning, boss.

Don’t be surprised, if instead of taking a longer lunch or peeking at their smart phones or huddling around the office television, more than a few soccer fans simply take Rob Misener’s advice and take Thursday off.

“Oh, c’mon,” said Misener,“you call in sick.”

Misener – who traveled from Welland, Ont., to watch the World Cup games at Mes Que on Tuesday – already thought ahead and requested off from his job at Hunters Pointe Golf Course on July 13 – the date of the World Cup final.

“If you had a great boss they’d have a TV in there for you to watch,” said Misener, a retired teacher. “Otherwise, that’s when you put the cotton in your mouth and say you’re not feeling well.”

Thanks for understanding, boss.

Work will resume Friday.

email: jrey@buffnews.com