by Abigail Breckinridge ’11
World Cup fever is in full swing again. After yesterday’s trashing of England in a 4-1 victory for Germany, everyone here is feeling a little more, well, German. Our German friends are convinced that the national team is going to earn it’s fourth title, after winning in ’54, ’74 and ’90. (The reason I know this is that there’s a catchy tune that lists the years of the German team’s victories.) There are lots of public viewings, and during halftimes they usually show the huge crowds gathered in Berlin. I’ve watched games with a collection of Americans and Germans, and everyone who is in the country right now seems to be in high spirits. This World Cup, however, has a different feel than the one four years ago, which was held in Germany. I was lucky enough to be have been here, too, and somehow it seemed more in your face (except that I wasn’t quite old enough to really be caught up in the party culture). But this year, as well as in 2006, there is still a massive amount of spirit: face paint and German flags and those annoying little horns that have become the symbol of South African fan fever. In 2006, I usually watched the games with my host family or with my host brother and his friends or my friends from school. This year, it’s all about being together with the other Dickinson kids and the Bremen kids I’ve met here. Now, as then, we don’t miss a game. Everyone knows Germany’s next opponent (Argentina), and everyone has long since learned to hate Italy (because of Germany’s loss in the semi finals of the ’06 world cup). And of course, England is now a laughingstock thanks to the efforts of the “Nationalelf” (national eleven).
In 2006, it was really neat to see Germans being patriotic for the first time since, well, ever. There aren’t as many German flags hanging on front porches as there are American ones in the US, but when it comes to soccer, Germany is a super proud “Fussball-Land”. Even though the games aren’t being played in cities around the country, and rather in the far reaches of South Africa, there is still a definite feeling of soccer mania in the air. It’s great! I even have a German soccer shirt to wear to the games (didn’t really make sense to get a US one… we lost to Ghana… enough said), and sometimes I catch myself saying “we” when referring to the German team. It’s quite an incredible feeling to be caught up in this sports-enthusiastic atmosphere. I think it’s a little more hands on this time around because I’m more on my own and not staying with a family, and I also think that WM 2006 jazzed everyone up and this year is just continuing the celebration. And what a celebration it is. There are loads of songs- some of them general World Cup 2010 South Africa and many, many more German team songs. Everyone dresses up in
full schwarz, rot, gold (black, red, gold) get-up, and the party never stops. Everything here is World Cup-themed, which is certainly no different than four years ago. In fact, I think the only difference is that more Germans were able to go to the games when they were in Germany rather than South Africa, although there is certainly plenty of Team Germany support to be seen when the cameras pan the crowds of this World Cup. So all that’s really left to say is: Schland, oh, Schland, wir sind von dir begeistert – we’re CRAZY ABOUT YOU!!