the most relevant irrelevancy

Every so often, Germany falls into a collective fever. This happens every other year over a few weeks in summer. That would be, whenever a European or World Championship in football (or soccer, as it’s called overseas) is taking place.

Sweetheart follows suit, of course. Most German guys have played the game as boys – hence the enthusiasm, I guess. And then, of course, the German Mannschaft used to be quite a name in the game. In stark contrast to Austria’s team. I think, their last noteable good result was Hans Krankl scoring in Corodba, thus defeating the German Mannschaft in 1978 – a collective triumphant memory in every Austrian citizen. Even I remember that. And I wasn’t even interested in football. But that changed, when I moved to Berlin. You just can’t escape the spirit, when living here.

So I got sucked into it, gradually. I am supporting Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga now – if only to annoy the Berliners, rooting for Hertha BSC or Union Berlin, depending, whether one is a West- or East Berliner. But I also like Borussia’s speedy game. And their huge fan support, called Die Gelbe Wand (the yellow wall – meaning the tens of thousands of fans in the stands each week, all flying the yellow-black flags of BVB, rooting for their team).

And then, there are the special times of a tournament like we just had: the European Championship 2020, delayed for a year due to Covid. But now played out all over Europe. The travelling mode, the big number of fans allowed to watch in the arenas – all a bit risky in still pandemic times, I think. But if German men are anything to go by, it was more than neccessary to run the competition. Their heart and soul went into first betting the results, then watching the games and later reading the detailled reports of each game, of course airing ones own opinion all along the process.

This time, Germany was out fast. And quiet. There was no denying it: also out well deserved. No fire, no spirit, no fight left in the team. Of course, everybody blamed the head coach Jogi Löw, but not only he but the entire lot didn’t seem all too intersted in winning this title. Sad, but true.

There was this joke floating all over Social Media, how 80 million virologists reskilled to become head coaches in a matter of days. And there is some truth in it. Of course I placed my bets in our little online group of friends. And of course, the Austrian and German team played all wrong. Although I was quite good and stood a chance to win in the end (I bet, that England wins the trophy, this time, and at least had a chance until the end with England reaching the final, everybody else went either for Germany or France to win it), Italy snatched the title and I lost. Again.

Don’t get me wrong, Italy well deserves the title. England was extremly unlucky. And really doesn’t deserve the fun, Italy’s postal office is making of the Royal Mail’s capaign just prior to the finals (Football is comin home again). But I still think it is brilliantly funny….

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