I know that any spectator sport is all about loving and supporting your local team long-term, especially in football (or “soccer”), but I simply can’t get into our local club, 1860. I did take Helmut to a game when we first moved to Giesing, which is the working class neighborhood of Munich where Franz Beckenbauer was born. But those guys are Neanderthals. Not my type at all. Bayern-München is clearly more interesting. We didn’t have a soccer team in Washington, so maybe that’s why I like international matches best. The world championship two years ago, with its public viewing parties, definitely turned me on, and so I’ve dived right into the Euro 2008.
These civilized showdowns between the nations, with their men trained to exhaustion to withstand the punishment, are the best party in town. Naturally I’m for Germany, and it’s fun to see the team again after two years, seasoned by international and national club experience. It was such a pleasure watching the match against Poland. They played 20 minutes of high-speed zen football before Poldi scored the first of his two goals against his native Poland, and anyone who lives between two cultures can relate to the complex emotions that he must have felt. When the players fall down after a foul, they bounce back up like so many gummibears, their hamstrings and ligaments immune, I suspect, thanks to Jogi Löw, whose regime satisfies even the most discriminating orthopedist. Not so the Swiss team, whose captain left the pitch in tears after a minor fall caused a major injury. What a difference it makes to have someone in charge who knows his stuff.
I’m celebrating the Euro by reading “Laienspiel”, a Kluftinger mystery that plays out during the Euro and in Bregenz. Kluftinger is just such a square it makes you laugh out loud. But you see, he’s a brilliant square. And he’s just so German. We “auslanders” may laugh, and Germans may be aghast at a study by Der Spiegel that showed how close to a national average they are, but you’ve just got to love this country. Things work. Germans do things right. And if you’ve found a winning formula, hey, that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Anyway, it’s a pleasure to love and support the German team, and if you’re looking for me you’ll find me out there, cheering them on in public viewing.
- The Spiegel survey was summarized in English by the Observer, May 25, 2008.
- Henkel’s funny audio fan guide features Viennese, German and English.
- English Grammar Online focusses on football/soccer this month.
- Writing for Spotlight
Learning the ropes – Vokabeln zum Lockerbleiben
spectator – Zuschauer
get into sth. – sich begeistern für
working class – Arbeiter
match – Spiel
dive in – eintauchen
exhaustion – Erschöpfung
withstand punishment – Strafe/ Qualen erdulden
seasoned – gereift
to relate to – verstehen
bounce – springen
hamstring – Kniesehne
ligament – Kreuzband
discriminating – kritisch
pitch – Spielfeld
injury – Verletzung
square – Spiesser
aghast – schockiert
ashamed – beschämt
cheer – anfeuern
English learning tip of the week
Something I noticed when I came to Germany was how hard it was to start a conversation. So during the EURO, just start up a conversation with a foreign visitor in English. If you’re nice, it will be fun for both of you.
Where are you from?
How long have you been here?
What have you seen so far?
What do you think of … ?