What I learned: I am a Fußball fan

July 18, 2012

I have never been much of a sports fan. I've never been athletic or played any kind of sports (coordination was an issue) or been much of a fan, unless someone else was taking me to a game. I find those typical American sports - baseball, American football - to either be too slow, too much a 'who's dick is bigger' contest or just too full of men with beer guts (um, these are professional athletes..??). I'm not even going to go into the classless fans and some of the terrible behavior exhibited by such people. Frankly, it was just a turn-off for me. The only sport I ever truly enjoyed watching for the game itself was hockey, and even then, it's not like I knew players, let alone the actual rules. 

Our first summer here marked the 2010 World Cup, which was the very first time I'd ever watched a football game (again, don't even get me started about why in the world the U.S. has hijacked this word for a game of its own invention, when to the rest of the world, this is football). Maybe it was the infectious spirit at all the public viewings or a serious appreciation for the players athleticism, but I couldn't help but get hooked. Seeing the great show of German pride during the whole thing filled me with a bit of pride at being able to share in the happiness of a Germany win. The Euro Cup this summer brought more of the same.    

Even after becoming 'a fan' with World Cup, I couldn't say I'd watched an actual, in-person game until earlier this year when we went to see FSV Mainz 05 play. While I could have done without standing the entire game (cheap seats = no seats) and it would have been nice if either team had scored, I was won over by the spirit in the stadium and honestly, by the super clean bathrooms (one of the things I love most about this country, besides their good drivers) and the super cheap snacks. Seriously. I think we were able to buy [alcoholic] drinks and snacks for our group of four for under €20. Not really missing those $10 hot dogs and $8 garlic fries at SF's AT&T Park. OK, maybe just a little. 

Admittedly, the fans also won me over. Not only are they orderly and well-behaved, in true German fashion, but they often impress me in ways I didn't expect. For example, this showing at the Mainz 05 game:

Coming from San Francisco sporting events, I would have expected to have seen this before. But no, I had to travel halfway around the world to witness a showing of support that I would have expected from what some might consider to be more 'liberal' crowds. Makes my heart warm that much more for Germany.

So until 2014 in Brazil... (and here's hoping there's a trip in that for us!)

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische