I know many of you probably couldn’t care less about the European Soccer Championship, but you guys, I am so stoked that ESPN is actually broadcasting all the games!
To be quite honest, prior to its start on Friday, I can’t even say that I was really excited about the Euro 2012, but like every other year when the championships come around, the soccer bug bites me. It’s like a switch is turned on when the competition is about to start and I am a little bit surprised every single time. Looks like I do have something like patriotism for my home country.
The last few years have been absolutely amazing and transformative when it comes to showing some national pride in Germany. After Germany won the nomination for hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2006, something changed. Flying a German flag had been frowned upon for the longest time (what with our dark history) and nobody would have dared to put up a German flag anywhere. Something that is taken for granted and proudly encouraged here in the US, Germans had to feel ashamed about.
But you know, it’s been over a half century – when do we stop feeling responsible for something that happened long before we were born? That’s at least how my generation feels. We don’t want to forget, we just don’t want to be held accountable for something we had nothing to do with.
The realm of sports seemed to be the only safe place to show some patriotism and in 2006, it turned into a real love fest for Germany. All of a sudden, you saw German flags everywhere – in shop windows, as bumper stickers, on t-shirts, attached to car windows. For me, it was simply an amazing thing to see my country gain back some national pride. (And where else would we feel safer to show national pride than in regards to our national sport = soccer!).
“Public viewing events” became the thing in 2006 and they take place all over Germany every other year now during the European and World Championships. Instead of watching the games in front of their TVs at home, people gather in public places and share the thrill of the games with other fans! It’s exciting and absolutely moving to witness it. Goosebumpy feelings all the way.
Today Germany will be playing the Netherlands. In case you are not particularly inclined towards any of the European teams, why don’t you root for Germany today.
You know, maybe because you like me just a tiny bit and because you can! Ha! I promise, I will send you cupcakes and love you forever.
(Oh, and pllleeeease don’t tell me anything about the game while it is happening – I’ll just stick my fingers in my ears and ignore you *lalalala*. I’ll be at work and can’t watch it live, but DVR is set and I can’t wait to get home tonight.)