Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Anfang der Weltmeisterschaft

[ The World Cup begins ]

Starting as I was in Berlin, the world cup kicked off, and I was able to see first hand huge groups collecting together in parks where large public viewings were taking place for the first match of South Africa against Mexico. There was something about the Stimmung - the atmosphere - of the city that had me so excited. Every street I walked down, bars were full, cafe's and restaurants had chairs and tables lined down under street side pavilions - all the people clad in tank tops and shorts in the heat, and each small address had a large flat screen TV set up, hastily plugged together for all to see. It is a surreal thing to describe, this soccer frenzy here, where someone can literally walk down the street in Berlin, like the multicultural and somewhat exotic quarters near Frankfurter Tor, and see the game progress every 5 to 10 meters just because there are so many TVs broadcasting the game.

This first introduction in Berlin was just the beginning. Once back in Göttingen, the center of the city was also clustered with viewing parties - many bars and restaurants decked with national flags, and many rows of benches lined out to the streets. The biggest excitement for me is the interaction of the entire event. I have found myself chatting back and forth with friends in Japan, talking about the games there, or meeting with my very diverse friends around Göttingen as well, ranging from the German team to Italian, Spanish, South Korean ect. It has even been fun to watch the American team, even though their credibility by word of mouth can only be defined as lackluster in regards to the German's outlook. [ so I keep my cheering more to myself ]

The Germans however are in full World Cup spirit. As I have mentioned earlier in this blog, a German flag is rather rare to come by on an average day here, but now during the World Cup, there are people wearing the flag as a cape to viewing parties and bbq's, as well as many other combinations of black red and gold. The national spirit brought along by soccer is unprecedented here. 4 years ago, when Germany hosted the tournament, there was a huge wave of new national pride which was very new for Germany after so many years of remaining reserved. Soccer proved to be a turning point for German pride, and from what I have heard, it has only increased this World Cup 4 years later. When Germany won their first game, Moritz and some other friends that were over all said we had to quickly get to the city center. Sure enough, just minutes after the win, Ganzelieselplatz was overflowing with cheering fans, all dressed in German colors and celebrating so hard as if the World Cup had just been won that night.

Soccer is viewed differently here. It is slowly catching on in America, and I have always enjoyed watching it there, but there is nothing that compares to watching the World Cup in one of the most Soccer-frenzied nations in the world. Here is to another month filled with checking scores and updates in the streets and other bbq's and viewing parties to attend!

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