Since I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, I know the World Cup happens only every four years. Like the Olympics. But since I am not a huge fan of soccer – or even a mild fan of soccer – I was well into my 20s before realizing it wasn’t a J.K. Rowling-invented game. Turns out this thing’s been going on for years. In both muggle and wizard forms.
In its most recent showing, Germany took home the title of “World’s Best Soccer Players” and Snapchat did not want me to miss out. Seriously, they sent infinite stories of people going nuts for the sport. Though to be fair, that’s also how I found out who was playing in the finals, and who subsequently won. Why? 1) I have the free version of cable – supplemented by Netflix and a Chromecast, which are two of modern day’s best inventions. 2) Soccer is boring. Players just run up and down a field for hours on end and kick. Two actions that I am not interested in repeating. 3) There is too much futbol/soccer confusion, and I always default toward Americanism … on account of both allegiance and proximity.
But the biggest reason of all that I didn’t watch this main soccer event: at the last World Cup, I was forced to watch each and every game. By Angela Merkel herself.
Deutschland: “Unity and Justice and Freedom”
In 2010, I spent the summer in Germany, or as it calls itself, Deutschland. A country where soccer is a way bigger deal than anything else. Think of football in the U.S., but in a world where life is a constant tailgate. That’s how excited they are about soccer every day, just with fewer snacks. Each time a cup game – or a non-cup game – took place, it was shown on every visible surface. Including all of the bars’ TVs. So instead of wandering the streets alone and running into naked children or an impromptu Michael Jackson parade, I joined in. I drank the local beers – warm – ate more schnitzel than anyone has ever consumed, and I watched the game of the local peoples.
And it was so boring. Not the culture – Germany was amazing – but the sport. Since that summer, I decided I’d had my lifetime fill; I’ve reached my soccer quota.
Sadly, Germany ended up getting third that year – the day they lost a literal silence fell over the country. Car horns were no longer honked at will, and those damn Vuvuzelas (plastic noisemakers) must have immediately disappeared, because after two weeks of constant sounding, I never heard one again. Even though it meant no more soccer watchings, I did feel bad for the Germans, after all, they’ve got enough guilt to account for the entire world. They live every day in a sort of guilt-ridden cloud, as if each of them had personally donated to Hitler’s mustache stylings. Meanwhile, in the U.S. we’re still shady, but just turn the news channel and be like, “It wasn’t me.” Which is partly true.
Also, Germans don’t get sarcasm – if anyone deserved to win, it was them.*
So congrats to the country who once served as my summer home. You earned it. I would very much like to visit you again. Especially now that soccer season is over.
PS heat me up some schnitzel and some bier, I’ll be there in 4,800 miles.
*For any German readers, this is not sarcasm. Nor is that.