Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

European life: You just don’t “get” football

3 Comments

A post just for the giggles.

Have you ever wondered what all the fuzz is about when it comes to soccer (or better, football)? Americans just don’t “get” football – neither did I. Until I came here and learned what it’s really about.

Let’s be real honest here: Humanity has invented much more exciting games. Two or three goals within 90 minutes if you’re lucky? Yeah, that’s boring. I get it.

But it’s not so much about the game as it is about the experience. Football isn’t popular cause it’s a good game (it’s not!). It’s so popular because it’s a community experience. An event you can’t compare!

During European and World championships, there will be something called “public viewing” going on. Huge screens will be set up in every city – even the small towns! The entire city, men and women, young and old, come together for eating and drinking and, of course, to watch the game. People will be dressed up in their national colors, wear the shirts the players wear, sing songs and freak out together – or, if they lose, cry together. I mean that. They cry.

I didn’t believe it just how huge it is. Here are some very short videos of what happens if the team wins:

ATTENTION: If you click play, MAKE SURE your volume is adjusted – rather put it too low than too high, these get very loud.

30 seconds: The crowd chants “Lehman”, the name of the goalkeeper. Taken in Leipzig:

You have no idea just how big these events are until you see…

2 Minutes: Same game, penalty shoot, this time in Stuttgart, castle square. Again, cheering on Lehman. Note the crazy reactions at 1.50 mins.

And what happens if they win?

The after party may last up to 2 hours and will block the entire traffic. And what’s the police doing during this???

They party with everybody else. This is a game, kind of cheer, where the crowd repeats what the singer says and sings, until he at one point will ask them to dance the “umpa” dance. Since the police loves to use their huge speakers to sing along, they earned the nickname “green-white party van” (referring to the colors of the police car).

Oh, caught the police again! This time late at night. I wonder if the streets are still blocked…

So yeah, I guess that’s what football is REALLY about. You bet I’ll be there this spring/summer for the European championship!

3 thoughts on “European life: You just don’t “get” football

  1. Part of the attraction of football is precisely the low number of scores! A decent game has lots of moves, some of which develop into a chance and … yes, yes, nooooooOOOO!!! … there’s all the anticipation usually followed by disappointment. Rarely, rarely it’s yyeessSSSSS!!! a goal!

    And it is that anticipation that is part of the thrill, and the rarity of the scores makes them all the more emotionally rewarding to the fans. And you can’t look away, because the game can change very quickly, and one or two goals will almost always decide a match. So even at (say) 3-1 late in the game, a couple of quick goals would bring the scores level.

    Of course, if you’re not into the game, it looks like a pile of players in random places, kicking the ball randomly, but you start to see the defensive and offensive patterns after a while.

    Personally, I can’t understand the attraction of basketball, which seems to be bounce-bounce-score, bounce-bounce-score, bounce-bounce-score, where’s the fun in all that scoring? Yet basketball fans seem to love it.

    • Yes many people told me theres a lot of strategy involved but I just don’t see it. For me it’s just 22 men running after a ball… But I do know very basic rules by now!

      Basketball is something I will never, ever understand. Same goes for baseball. And Football. And pretty much every team game that involves a ball.

      BUT nevertheless I enjoy the community factor so much that I’m not going to miss the games in June!

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