Tuesday, June 15, 2010
World Cup Fieber
The World Cup kicked off last Friday afternoon in South Africa. I, like the vast majority of Americans, have never paid much attention to the World Cup, but in Germany it is very hard to ignore. Games are played daily at 1:30, 4:00, and 8:30, and its being shown everywhere. There is a huge public viewing screen on the square near my office, and every cafe (even the tiny wurst stand near our house) has a flat screen TV. This is also the only time you see the German flag. Europeans aren't really "patriotic" in the American sense of the word. Most of the time the cities are flagless, but when World Cup comes around, they sure make up for it. Windows, cars, doorways, everything is draped in flags. And we are representing as well, with a flag on our car, one on our balcony, and several extras for decoration. I mentioned to some German friends that the patriotic atmosphere is rather like the Olympics, and one replied, "No, its not. The world cup is much more important!"
Until last week I didn't know much about soccer, but my soccer-loving husband helped me fill out a bracket for work and explained the various rounds and rules, which turned out to be very helpful professionally. All my students wanted to know the English terms like "group phase" and every class wanted to discuss the teams. I put Germany as the winner in my bracket, and expected a few brownie points for this, but all the Germans I've talked to were reserved about their own odds, many betting on the Netherlands, Argentina, or Brazil. There was also a fair amount of trash-talking the US, but after our amazing tie on Saturday, that's quieted down a bit.
For now the World Cup has taken over our lives. Ryan is in heaven....I am trying to muster enthusiasm. We'll see how that works out.