Monday, 25 June 2012

Football - Nuremberg Style

This year there's definitely a bonus in rounding out my European experience. 2012 is a year for the quadrennial UEFA European Football Championship (EM-"Europameisterschaft"). Germany is one of the favoured teams and based on what I've seen and my admittedly limited appreciation for "The Beautiful Game" I think they (We?) have an excellent chance to win it all.

So in my current situation I have a number of options when it comes to taking in the tournament which is actually taking place in Poland and Ukraine. I imagine tickets are hard to come by, transportation is likely to be expensive and I left all of my interpreters back in Canada. So I've ruled out attending any live games. I can certainly sit in my wonderful flat and watch on TV alone but that's incredibly boring (my half dozen dedicated followers may recall my "no beer at home policy" which is still in effect) and a little bit pathetic. Another option which I found very effective during the Chelsea vs. FC Bayern Champions League final is to leave the TV off and the windows open. The cheers and groans emanating from neighbouring dwellings and businesses provide excellent insight into what is happening on the field.

I could possibly ask to tag along with one of my co-workers as they go to one of the local Biergartens or bars. I'm sure they'd let me come along if I asked but the reality is they have their own lives and their own friends and I wouldn't want them to feel obliged to entertain me during what is to them a super important event. Imagine bringing your Italian only speaking colleague to watch a Stanley Cup final at Earl's with your friends when the Jets are in it and you get the general idea.

I could go to one of the bars alone but since my German is still really weak I feel a bit self conscious. Someone could ask me something controversial, I may smile and nod and POW! We've got an international incident on our hands.

Rathaus Platz
 Fortunately the Germans are an ingenious lot. There are at least two large public areas within a 3 Wood shot of my apartment with giant screens, concessions and porta-potties. Problem solved. One of the areas is the Rathaus Platz next to the old city hall.

The other is the "Kick&Groove Park" located on a big green space called Woehrder Wiese. I've watched them setting this up for over 3 weeks now, it's a bit like the Ironman Village only much, much larger and with a lot more open space.

Hello? Hello?
Thus far I've ventured to the K&G Park twice. The first was to watch the first quarter final match. I think there were 8 Portugal fans, about 12 disappointed Czechs, a handful of disinterested Germans enjoying a pleasant evening drinking beer on the lawn and two energetic radio DJ's futilely attempting to whip us into a frenzy. They would have had a better chance with two EMTs and a crash cart.

Last night Germany played Greece. It was impossible to recognize this as the same place I had been to the previous evening. Simply getting into the park in time for the opening kick was tough. EVERYone gets a pat down on the way in. Even skinny Canadians with nowhere to hide anything. I would have asked what they were looking for but a) I'm not sure I would have understood the answer and b) it would have slowed the queue even further and there's another international incident.

A Little More Life When
The home Team Plays
The scene is familiar to sports fans everywhere. Painted faces, national jerseys with the name and number of the wearer's favorite player and a few (very few) very attractive interpretations of the German flag as an article of women's clothing. And beer.

Now let me give you a warning. When the first German goal was scored about 3 minutes in, about 3 people ahead of me a full liter of beer went straight up into the air and fell where it wanted to go. Offside, the goal was disallowed. At this point that liter of beer and many just like it do not find their way back into the glass. Moral of the story: Bring an umbrella or a towel and know the rules before you toss your libation into the air.

Germany advanced to the semi-finals which take place this Thursday against England or Italy. I won't be mentioning the war.

Right now I'm in Munich getting ready for the Stadtlauf Half Marathon Sunday morning. I hope to have something worthwhile to report on that.

Thanks for reading,

For My Hungarian Followers:
Happily Ati moved a lot more Langos on the
night Germany played!

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