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In which John relates the history of his addiction to nicotine while guiding Swindon Town through a season of FIFA '11.
Hello, and welcome to Hank Games with John. It's all the fun of Hank Games with none of the Hank.

Today we are, of course, Swindon Town. We are playing, I think, Rochester, a team from upstate New York. Here in the npower League 1 on our path to greatness in the Premier League, hopefully.

So, a couple quick updates about the squad, John Green and John Green are both playing today. [SWI - #11 J. Green 6'] Ahhhh, JOHN GREEN WITH A GOOOOOAAAAAL! That was, ah, Other John Green. Perhaps you're gonna get a closeup on Bald John Green here, and you will see that Bald John Green has been mustachioed. He is now mustachèd. However, Regular Other John Green still says J. BENNETT on the back of his jersey, I can't figure out how to fix that. But we love him. So, if you know how to fix that, please let me know in comments.

Speaking of comments, Samurai_Swordwin suggested that I talk about my experience of smoking, and then quitting.

So, I used to smoke cigarettes, for those of you who don't know. Not now, I haven't smoked cigarettes in a long time, I think I quit in, like, 2003, long before I was a novelist or Vlogbrothers was a thing but I used to smoke back in the days of Pants the cat, and even some of the days of Red Green the dog, I...

Oh! G... Ooh. PANIC! Narrowly avoided an own goal. Sorry about the panicking there, that probably broke the microphone.

So, I was a, uh, I was a smoker. And like most people who are smokers...

Come on, Bald John Green, you can do it. [SWI - #9 J. Green 13'] AND FINISHES! Also, I've raised the skill level, so I am now Semi-Professional, and as you can see I'm still managing to win. I drew my last game, which you guys didn't need to watch. But he finish-! Look at that. You know, Bald John Green, he is 6' 3" tall, 200 lbs of pure raw muscle. I love Bald John Green. He, arguably my favorite John Green. Look at that slide-tackle. Unnecessary slide-tackle down there at the bottom, almost caused trouble, but it didn't.

Ok. So I used to smoke. Like everybody who smokes, I smoked because I had a self-destructive impulse that I didn't know, and I didn't know what to do about it. Nobody smokes anymore for any other reason, I don't think. These self-destructive impulses are very common and very difficult to deal with, particularly when you're an adolescent and then you also have these tobacco companies that are saying, "Hey! We have a cool way for you deal with your self-destructive impulses. You should smoke cigarettes!" And so, I did.

I enjoyed smoking a lot, in the way that everyone who smokes does enjoy it, which is that I enjoyed the, uh, you know... feeling sick. I never really, you know, people don't really get a buzz from smoking, I mean, there is kind of a buzz, but it's sort of just an unpleasant feeling of nausea. But, you know. It was just something to do. You know, it got me outside, back in the day.

Anyway. In about 2000, I decided that I really needed to quit smoking, because it was a little bit embarrassing at that point. And I was starting to try to write books and trying to be a more serious person...

John Green breaking away. Can't finish! Ohh, Regular John Green disappoints me. Ah, that wasn't a slide-tackle so much as it was a fall.

So anyway, um... Is it already half-time? No.

So, um. I quit in about 2000, and I'll tell you what happened. I purchased an item that is available over the counter called Nicorette, which is a gum that has nicotine in it. And you may not know this, but nicotine itself is not actually a carcinogen. Nicotine doesn't cause cancer - it's not good for you; it causes terrible heart problems and stuff, and it can kill you eventually - but I was mostly worried about cancer. I'm kind of a hypochondriac, I can tell you stories about that sometime on John Green plays Swindon Town, The Miracle of Swindon Town, I don't know what it's called yet. Augh, what are we going to call this team? That's just poor use of the X button, John.

So anyway, I started chewing Nicorette gum, and pretty much the moment that I started chewing Nicorette gum, I couldn't understand why anyone in the entire world would ever smoke. Because, nicotine is not a carcinogen, and Nicorette gum is all the fun of smoking with none of the inconveniences of smoking. Like, you don't have to go outside, and you can do it on airplanes. You know who else chews Nicorette gum? Our president, Barack Obama. In fact, because I know so much of the culture of chewing Nicorette gum and the culture of being a long-term Nicorette user, there's like a whole group of people. They say that you're supposed to use Nicorette only for 12 weeks and then it will cure your smoking addiction...

BALD JOHN G... aaaauuuugh, off the post. That's a disappointment. Let me try to score a little bit here... nope.

So, they say that you're only supposed to use it for 12 weeks, then you're supposed to, like, step down, but there's a whole cadre of long-term Nicorette users, including the President of the United States. And you can kind of tell who they are, because the way that you chew Nicorette, you don't actually chew it, you just, uh, park it underneath, like, between your lip and gum.

[SWI - #9 J. Green 45'] Ahhh, Bald John Green, FINISHING! With the hat trick! Actually, I think, well. John Greens in total now have the hat trick, I don't think that Bald John Green has all three. But, you know, clearly the mustache is good for him. Look at that finishing power that he brings with his new mustache! It's gorgeous.

So I started chewing Nicorette, and I basically became an evangelist for Nicorette, where I would literally go... I would see people smoking outside of an office building or something, and I would bring them Nicorette, and I would say, "Have you seen this wonderful new consumer product that's all the fun of smoking and none of the cancer?" And... I couldn't really get people interested in it, but I just never understood why people smoked after I started chewing Nicorette.

However, in the way of things, I of course became hideously addicted to Nicorette gum. In fact, by the time I quit Nicorette, I was chewing... the whole time I wrote Looking for Alaska, I chewed Nicorette, and by the time I finally quit... well, not the whole time, the first three years I was writing Looking for Alaska; by the time I finally quit chewing Nicorette gum, and this is completely true, I was chewing the equivalent of 4 packs a day of cigarettes. Like I was chewing enough Nicorette gum to give me 4 packs a day of nicotine. Which is really bad for your heart, and completely insane, but you know, that's the way that addictions work.

Bald John Green, you should have really gotten that. Unnecessary slide tackle because you were frustrated with yourself...

And I... when Sarah and I first started dating, there were these mountains of Nicorette all over my apartment; I would have these sort of abstract sculptures that were composed entirely out of hundreds of pieces of chewed Nicorette that I hadn't thrown away... I was kind of a gross person... sorry to tell you all of these things that are ruining your image of me, but you know, now I'm a lot more hygienic, because I'm grown-up and stuff... you know boys. Boys. Single boys, living on their own. I didn't know how to do any of that stuff.

So I had these huge piles of Nicorette, and I would have Gatorade bottles that were full of chewed-up pieces of Nicorette and everything... I don't know why I didn't just throw them away, I think I had almost a sentimental attachment to them, because I loved the Nicorette so much. It was just... you know... it was just wonderful. I still don't understand why there's anyone left in America who smokes when there's this amazing product that doesn't cause...

[ROC - #18 J. Thompson 60'] OH NO! I GAVE UP A GOAL! J. THOMPSON... Oh no. The devastation. You... look, you hurt Bald John Green. Look at his sadness. Look at Bald John Green in the background there, just devastated, in his brand-new moustache. This semi-pro stuff, man, they're not kidding around. All right, time to get serious.

So, my advice to people who are, who smoke, is chew Nicorette. But don't do what I did, and get completely addicted to Nicorette; it's really not that hard to quit... I mean, I smoked for 10 years, and it's hard to quit smoking - it's not that hard, you know, it's not harder than... it's not that hardest thing you'll ever do.

And I... I don't take away anything from how difficult it is, and how un-fun it is, but now there are so many things to make it easier for you that weren't available to our parents; also, we have the science. We know just how bad this stuff is for you. There's literally nothing worse you can do for your body; you're basically paying people a considerable amount of money, for the opportunity to allow them to kill you. It's just not a good deal for us.

So yeah, like any adult, I'm going to tell you to quit, but, I did used to smoke, and I'm glad, I mean, my health risks from smoking are almost back to normal; they say that ten years after you quit, you have kind of a semi-normal rate of getting all the diseases that are...

Boy, these guys are... Colchester is really bringing it; I almost had to give up a second goal. I might have given up a penalty, because... that was a bit of an awkward tackle, by my new goalkeeper. I don't think I have Lucas in there, though... sorry I hurt you, Craig Dawson, shake it off. You're all right, big guy.

Oh, that is Lucas. God, he's handsome. Got a bit of a man-crush on my goalie.

So, I'm trying to think if I... oh, I do have one funny story. So when I actually quit chewing Nicorette, it wasn't because I realized that I was, you know, damaging my heart by chewing four packs of cigarettes a day in nicotine; it was because I would sometimes put Nicorette in my pocket, particularly if I had to go do something and I didn't have extra Nicorette and I wanted to potentially use that Nicorette later, I would sometimes put that Nicorette in my pocket. And one time, I put a few pieces of Nicorette in my pocket, and then I did my laundry, and then it was Nicorette all in the laundry thingy...

OH! WOW. Did he almost score that off his chest? It's very impressive, purple man. Oh no, that was his head. Okay, that makes more sense. You know, we are in... I mean, I gotta say, Swindon Town is in real trouble, here in semi-pro skill level. We're going to have to really... really focus, on getting out of the npower League 1, and into the Championship, because we're...

OH NO! OH, DISASTER! He's offside! Yeah, you don't have to like it, big guy, but it's a fact. You were offside, somehow. Yeah, totally, totally offside; sorry, sucker.

Yeah, Swindon Town's going to have some troubles here, I think. We're not even able to get the ball up to the John Greens right now, and that's where we really get our work done - YES! - when John Green and John Green have the ball.

[SWI - #10 D. Prutton 89'] And sometimes I let other people score! Like D. Prutton! Good job, D. Prutton. I think his skill level is, like, 54. Look at that moustache on Bald John Green! Just looks fantastic. Couldn't be happier. In fact, I may... I don't know if it's possible for me to mustachio all of my players, but if it is, I'd like to. (Unnecessary slide tackle.)

Oh boy, that was a bunch of bad slide tackles in a row. How was that a foul? That's just... no, that's just fantastic slide tackling. Why would you... why are you telling me not to do slide tackles? That's one of my specialties, referee. All right. Colchester can't score.

So it looks we're going to come out on top here, 4-1, the Swindon Town... uh, Swifties, and Swindlypoos, whatever we're going to call them, we haven't quite decided that yet.

Oh no, oh, I might have spoken too soon. That... that might be a penalty. That was... I was a little late, with my slide tackle. I was a little... actually, Lucas, just go back to the goal, because he's right, we were... Lucas, it was a foul. Let's not make a big deal out of it. [#6 P. Caddis yellow card] No, Caddis, come on, it was clearly... you were a little late there on the slide tackle; you're lucky it was a yellow. Please don't do the prayer hands; that always embarrasses me. I'm sorry, that's definitely a foul, Caddis. That was your fault, and by you, I mean me.

All right, Lucas, big time. Big time, Lucas, big time. Big time, Lucas. [ROC - #6 B. Barry-Murphy 90' pen] Small time. Lucas couldn't make the stop there. I don't really know what to do in penalties. If someone could teach me about that, that would be awesome. Because, I pretty much just run back and forth, and wait to see what happens.

So, it still looks like Swindon Town is going to come out on top, though, here, thanks to the hard work of John Green, and, to a lesser extent, John Green.

All right, game over! So don't smoke. If you chew Nicorette, don't chew it like the President and myself chewed it. We are not good role models in this respect; thanks you for coming to Sports with John, I will not see you and you will not see me, and I don't really know how to do this outro, let's face it; I will... you will have an opportunity to watch me play soccer again soon.

Best wishes!

[vs. Rochdale: W 4-2

SWI: "Bald" John Green 13', 45'; "Other" John Green 6'; D. Prutton 89'

ROC: J. Thompson 60'; B. Barry-Murphy 90' pen]