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What We Did Last Summer- FIFA World Cup 2006

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... this is my first blog and it is a bit long. But I really enjoyed writing it and I hope you enjoy reading it as well. I am sorry for any strange expressions and mistakes- I tried my best.

What We Did Last Summer- FIFA World Cup 2006

Yesterday I lied. My brother asked me what on earth would be so exciting about a Davis Cup Tie and -trying to break down the importance of this weekend to my completly tennis-ignorant family- I replied” Well, you see, Davis Cup that’s like the Soccer World Cup”. A lie. Nothing is like the soccer world championships- and nothing comes even close to a Soccer World Cup in your own country. You don’t believe me? Than maybe you believe Roger. He was once asked about unfulfilled dreams and he said: To score the decisive goal in a soccer match in front of your home crowd.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love tennis. I can hardly breathe when Roger plays a close match. I am devistated when Justine looses and was overjoyed when Kim finally won a Grand Slam. But the thing is, as most tennis fans, I go through these emotions alone- either truly alone in front of my TV or de facto alone on the courtside. What I mean by this? Well, our favourite wins- we applaud. If the other player wins, we applaud too, probably less enthusiastically. At least in public, we behave. We don’t curse. We don’t cry. We don’t sing. We don’t hug strangers for joy or comfort, not even our friends for that matter. We might post a reply on a message board.

In a soccer stadium, there are 40/50/60,000 people screaming one name, singing one song, whistling, cursing, cheering. Grown up men –players, officials, fans alike- start crying or break down in joy. You find yourself hugging a random (and very likly a bit sweaty and/or drunken) person right next to you, because you just feel this strong bond between the two of you- afterall he is cheering for the same team. And all this is in a weekly league match.
Take a World Cup match and the number of fans increases a hundredfold.

In Germany, the summer of 2006 was gorgeous. There was no rain during the tournament. It seemed as if the weather gods joined us in the attempt to present our country to the world in the best possible light, true to the official English motto “A Time to Make Friends”. The German version was slighly different: “ The World Visiting Friends”. In my case, the visiting world consisted of three British guys I had met in a backpacker hostel some years ago and who charmed me in letting them stay at my place for almost two weeks. Together with them and the rest of Germany, I learned a new word: Public Viewing. Huge screens were put up on market places, on ships, in conference rooms and concert halls, allowing hundreds and thousands of fans to watch the matches together and thus, the stadium vibes to spread out. Everybody got intoxicated. My roommate, who never cared about sport events was able to name the entire German team from the top of her head, plus the Swedish player who models for C.K. Our professors agreed to change the schedule, so that we could follow the matches. While you couldn’t see a single car driving around during a match of the German team, afterwards there was a great queue of traffic celebrating, honking and waving flags, a habit quickly picked up by fans of the visiting teams. And then there were flags everywhere, which is a rare sight in Germany and one that still provokes a strange feeling. Are we actually allowed to do this? The answer was the creation of a second new word “Party- Patriotism”: fun and harmless. This is not a political blog, but I would like to add one thought about this: Germany will and should never have a relaxed attitude towards patriotism, but this policy might leave a gap and we should be very careful not to leave it up to the wrong people to close it.
Fan violence, no matter of what national color, is the downside of soccer and always has been. No question about it and no excuses. But the general attitude was not at all hostile towards other teams or fans, it was celebrating our own team, our guests, the tournament and a great summer.
The less serious negative side effects of the World Cup were found in the music charts.Any artists who wanted to make big money only had to somewhat ellude to the World Cup, never mind lyrics, sense or melody. There were exceptions. Among the most popular songs was one that never meant to be about soccer, but became almost an anthem when Gerald Asamoah (a German player) said it was played in the locker room before each match. It brings us back to the Davis Cup and to any team sport. “Und was wir alleine nicht schaffen, das schaffen wir dann zusammen” (All that we can’t achieve/do alone, we can achieve together).
By the way, Germany lost to Italy in the semifinals. But looking at all the celebrations, you hardly noticed.

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  1. GVGirl's Avatar
    Great entry!
  2. mmmm8's Avatar
    Very nice, Tinamarie!

    Attending a big important soccer match is on my to do list. I really love watching soccer, but just have never made it to a "higher echelon" match.

    I also really love soccer anthems. That's why I like the pinball game in the arcade so much
  3. oohsalmon's Avatar
    Seriously, mmmm8! I hated pinball until I played with the sound on once, and loved it. I did so well that time, getting 2.3 mil before stopping (I stopped at that number in honor of the newly arrived Mr. Beckham)

    This was awesome, Tinamarie! Welcome to the TAT blogosphere!
  4. mmmm8's Avatar
    LoL, Salmon!
  5. jjnow's Avatar
    Great entry, Tina!

    And yes, the pinball anthem totally rocks.