I have to say it- I'm enjoying the soccer. I went overseas to try to escape the sport-mad, ignore everything else vibe that we've got going and I end up screaming and pumping my fist in the air when Australia comes back from the dead with three goals in the last eight minutes. Call it the German disease, call it homesickness, I can't resist. It's just too damn exciting.
The game yesterday was just fantastic- I'd just met up with Paul and Alex and was pretty wound-up about seeing them and then the game looked like it was going to be all over for Australia. Actually, up until then I hadn't really cared much either way, and was sure the Aussies were going to lose, but then my students made a few smart remarks about losers and for some reason I got a little defensive... I didn't say anything of course but I have to admit that when Australia won a little voice in my head said: hah!
We were sitting in a tent in a big park in Hamburg with about eight die-hard German men sitting behind us, who were thrilled whenever anything was happening, and who I think were more annoyed with us than anything else when we spent most of the game chatting. Martin, my cousin, was biting his knuckles in frustration (in a show of family loyalty he was supporting Australia) and when the first goal got through he was devestated. It all looked pretty bleak.
But then, just as the coverage was starting to show footage of the Australian crowd looking utterly unimpressed, it all began to happen, and I found myself swept up in this incredible rush of joy and, weirdly enough, pride. Now I understand why people watch sport, it really is a substitute for an emotional life. When the siren went we were all overcome. It was beautiful.
Then the Czech Republic beat the US and my perfect soccer day with my brother was complete.