Monday, June 14, 2010

The World Cup

I am viewing Germany in a whole new light since the beginning of The World Cup. This once fairly normal German city has been transformed into a shouting, honking, horn blowing mob intent on making as much noise as possible in support of their soccer team. I find myself being judged not on the way I look or speak, but on the quality of my nation's soccer team (which is doing "better than expected" so I'm alright).

My friends and I took a night off from my beautiful daughter and made our way across town to the Magdeburg stadium where a giant screen was broadcasting the Germany/Australian game live. Other than the lack of admission cost, you would never have known that this wasn't an actual live game. Thousands of Germans filled the stadium equipped with black, red, and yellow flags, outfits, and noise makers. Beer and Bratwurst were readily available for a small mark-up (which was still incredibly cheap by US standards) and cigarette smoke instantly and permanently enveloped the crowd.

I was prepared for the drinking, and eating, and even the smoking, but what really amazed me was the shear volume produced by this crowd of people. In addition to the shouting and the giant air horns that every third person seamed to have, the fans in South Africa were making so much noise behind the announcer, it sounded like a bee hive was in the microphone. I couldn't hear well for several hours following the game. I'm old. I know.

The ride home was astounding. Germany won 4-0 and it was as if the fans in the stadium multiplied and NEVER STOPPED CHEERING! Every car was honking and shouting various forms of the word, "Deutschland!" At the round-about in the center of town, cars had simply stopped while drunk Germans hung out of windows and walked around to other cars drinking, shouting, and honking. There was a mob of people standing in the center of the round-about with German flags drinking and dancing. Someone overheard me speaking English and called me "Australian!"

At the bar my friends and I went to following the game, we were mistaken for Britons and made fun of because the UK's goalie is no good. No argument there. We were, however, grudgingly respected when they found out we were from the USA because the USA did, "better than expected."

This is the reaction from the fans after Germany scored one of its goals - my favorite part is Brendan!

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