I wrote about it more than once, but I have to bring up the topic one more time (and then I promise, I will shut up about the World Cup again until 2018).
On Sunday, Germany finally won the World Cup again after 24 years. As I mentioned before, I am usually not a huge football fan, but the World Cup (and European Cup) brings out some patriotism for my country that I hardly ever experience. Yes, I love my home country, yes, I am happy that I was born there. But this feeling of real patriotism is still something very foreign for (most) Germans.
It’s been a crazy World Cup. So many games went to overtime and shoot outs, so many teams that were considered contenders for the title didn’t even make it to the knockout rounds. I am not saying that Germany had a completely worry-free run, but I think after they beat a strong France and completely swept away Brazil with a 7-1 win, it was pretty obvious that they were on the path to winning the Cup this year!
I am sure you’ve seen the picture (on the left) that was going around on the Internet. There definitely is something to be said for team spirit and playing a selfless game. Even though every team has their star strikers, Germany’s strikers are never selfish or want to be the ones that actually score the goal. Have you seen the amount of passes before they finally scored?
I think our team deserved to win. Really deserved it.
There was this lovely article in The New York Times yesterday that I’d like to recommend to you, because it’s a great reflection on my home country from the perspective of a foreigner, Roger Cohen. Even though he touches on topics of Germany’s history – which more often than not has been done in a very shameful, down-putting way during this World Cup and I keep wondering when the world (and Germany, too!) will finally get over it! – he was able to spin it into something positive and was able to identify that winning the title this year was not a matter of luck or simple sports tactics, but that the success lies much deeper in the German subconscious and that it was the fruit of intense labor not over the past couple of years, but the last decade or two. I shared the article on Facebook and my friend Kat commented:
I generally feel the same way. Why is everything in Germany, even a sports event, seen in historical context? Why can’t it be just that, a sports event? But Roger Cohen was able to establish this context and see something beautiful in it. If you want to read more on this topic, “And the winner is… Schland” is another great piece that was able to use historical context in a positive way and explains how the four Germany World Cup wins (1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014) coincide with different turning points in German history (I apologize that the website asks to create a free account when you open it on a computer. It doesn’t do that on my iPhone, but it’s well worth it, IMHO.)
It is, in fact, a nice tribute to a great country.
All this to say: I am proud of my country and what our national team has achieved. And I think we deserve to be able to celebrate those achievements. Nobody should – or will – ever forget our history, but I think it is time to move on and look forward and not pull the “Nazi”-card every time Germany gets a little bit too excited about themselves. Germany has learned a lot from its past, Germany in many ways has moved on, when will the rest of the world follow suit? Like Roger Cohen said in his article, ” Perhaps [today’s] German success is the result of the immensity of past German failure.”
Maybe he’s on to something.