Thursday, July 1, 2010


Even if you usually don’t get very excited about football (and yes, it is, and will always be, football, none of this ‘soccer’ stuff), it is hard not to get caught up in the spirit of the World Cup. Those vuvuzelas have been an annoyance factor this year, although last Sunday, when Germany beat England, I actually wished I’d had one!

So now Germany is gearing up to Saturday’s match with Argentina. Of course, everyone is saying the Germans will lose: Argentina, they will never win against Argentina! But in 2006 we won against Argentina, and I remember that game quite well. I watched it in my favourite pub, and a nerve-wracking business it was. Penalty shoot-out. Got me a lot more gray hairs, that one. But we won. And the city exploded in a frenzy of cheering, flags, and car-horns. Now that Germany has more or less officially adopted the auto-corso as it’s own tradition, we celebrate like Latin Americans.

Out on the street, I found myself next to a large South Asian family, the women dressed in colourful shalwar kameez, all of them, especially the children, enthusiastically waving little German flags.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” one of the women said, “we are from Pakistan but became German citizens yesterday, and now our team has won!”

Then two young men ran up to us, ‘Deutschland’ t-shirts, shaven heads, army trousers. And I thought: “Oh no, don’t let them ruin this moment!”

“Hey, we can take the little girls up on our shoulders, then they can see better!” And so they did.

Great day, that was!

Oh, and Paul the Psychic Octopus has predicted a victory for Germany this Saturday. Maybe I should get a vuvuzela….

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