Janie Feldmann ‘15
On Sunday evening (Nov. 24, 2013), the Dickinson in Bremen program took us all to see a Werder Bremen soccer game at the Weser Stadium. I am definitely not the person to ask if you want to understand how soccer works – the only fact I know for sure is that one team scores in the other team’s goal. (I know, I know, I’m the worst German-American ever). Despite this, I discovered that there is something universally nostalgic about going to a live game and rooting for the team you love.
As expected, the tram was jam-packed with people going to support Werder, which, to put it nicely, is sort of the underdog in the German soccer league right now. We were in the standing-room-only section, which was actually very cool because for one, it was warmer, and two, the atmosphere was excited. One of the best moments of the game happened after the players came out onto the field: Werder fans began singing the official song of the team. The first line is “Werder Bremen, lebenslang grün-weiß!” which translates to “Werder Bremen, life-long green and white!” We had all learned the song before the game, and I do not think a single fan was not singing – it was such a great moment. Everyone held up their Werder scarves, and the camaraderie was absolutely fantastic.
The excitement soon became frustration, however, as Mainz scored two goals during the first forty-five minutes, and Bremen just did not seem to have any luck. After half-time, Mainz scored yet another goal, and everyone started feeling pretty hopeless. I thought it was pretty impressive that the majority of fans stayed until the bitter end instead of leaving to beat the traffic. Staying was worth it though – in an exciting change of luck, Werder scored not one but two goals within the last fifteen minutes! Everyone was hoping that they would make one more to even out the score, but sadly that was not the case. Despite this, everyone was going out of their minds with happy excitement, singing song after song. I personally thought it was awesome that for every goal Werder scored, the stadium played “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers.
Admittedly, I have always had a bit of trouble (perhaps because I am an English major) understanding the importance of sports. I never really get why people go so crazy over them, and I definitely do not understand the mindset of die-hard fans. But, at this game, I felt I began to get a grasp of why soccer is so important within German culture. After a war which left the world speechless, cities in ruins, and people desperate for change, soccer became the means through which Germans could begin to heal. They may still have trouble feeling proud to be German, but they are definitely proud of their cities, and especially their soccer teams. Through all the disunity happening around them, soccer was the one thing where everyone could feel united again. And, if nothing else, there is really no better feeling than being in a stadium rooting alongside other fans, even for an underdog team.