Bremer Nachtlauf

On May 23, nine of the ten current Dickinson-in-Bremen students decided to form a team together with Verena and former Dickinsonian Julie King (Class of 2012) to run a 5K through Bremen’s city cenFoto01ter. Read here, what some of the students had to say about the run.

Margaret:
The Bremer Nachtlauf was the first time I’ve ever run a 5K, and I simply couldn’t have imagined a better experience! The start/finish line was located right in the magnificent city center, directly before the Town Hall and St. Petri Dom Cathedral, and the route of the run took us through the city center streets and directly along the banks of the Weser river. It was a wonderful experience I won’t soon forget to run that great route with people lining the streets and cheering us on. Definitely a highlight from this semester abroad in Bremen!

Sean:

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Anna and Sean

The Bremen Nachtlauf was a great treat, especially considering I hadn’t run a proper race in nearly 5 years. Despite my long hiatus, I was quite pleased with my overall performance – at roughly 24:30, the time was not my best but also far from my worst. I was also shocked at how stereotypically German the event was: At the finish line we were given not only the usual fresh fruit and water, but also beer and Apfelschorle, two immensely German staples. Overall it was an amazingly rewarding and fun experience.

 

Devon:

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Devon finishing strong


The Bremer Nachtlauf was my first 5k or any sort of running event of any sort, but it certainly proved to be a lot of fun. I saw parts of the city I never had and a very certain ethos from those around me. I felt very together with the other racers, and while we weren’t running for any cause other than fun, it certainly made me feel like I belonged.

 

Anna:
Running together in the Nachtlauf was really fun. Even though I’ve been here for 7 months, I still discovered a few new parts of Bremen on the run!

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Anna exhausted, but happy

Joan: I’m so happy to have taken part in the Nachtlauf. It was great running through Bremen with everyone and having people cheer us on!

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Danette with green pants

Danette:
I was a bit apprehensive when I decided to sign up for this 5K as I hate running, but I wasn’t going to cave on the motto of my year abroad: “Do not say no to anything within reason”. Certainly, a 5K was within reason and so I had to say yes. I really do hate running, I get bored quickly and my thoughts tend to wander, but I talked with Joan and since we were in about the same physical condition we decided to run the race together. It was great having someone to run with since we were able to chat and keep each other company. I will admit, I complained a bit (well a lot) before the race and probably during, I’m not sure you’d have to ask Joan. But I am so glad I ran it. It was a great sense of accomplishment and I can finally check running a 5K off my bucket list.

Shuwei:

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Shuwei at the finish

“Stadtlauf” in Bremen is really about people, males and females, young and old, all getting together and enjoy sport. The running itself is therefore very enjoyable, the music, the atmosphere, and the beautiful scenery over Weser river along the way. It’s definitely one of the most unforgettable experiences I’ve had here in Bremen.

 

Janie:
On May 23, the Dickinson in Bremen students completed the “City Run” through the streets of Bremen.  Although I really enjoy running and used to run cross country, I was actually a bit nervous: this 5K run was my first “official” 5K run and I had only trained very minimally for it.  Despite that, before the run began, the atmosphere in the city was really exciting and the weather was perfect.  During the run, I almost had to stop twice due to my asthma.  But I did not give up and instead ran the entire time!  My time of completion was around 32 minutes – I was really proud of myself.  After the run there were apples, bananas, juice, and beer for all participants, for which I was very grateful.  It was really fun to run with the other Dickinsonians as a “team” and I would definitely recommend this event to the future Dickinsonians who will study in Bremen.

 

What the World Cup Means

by Andrew Shuman ’11

As with many Americans, indeed, many more than Europeans may expect, I’ve played soccer nearly my entire life – since I was five, to be exact. As such, I’ve been a fan of the game for a very long time, starting with 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, when I got up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the final, where the Germans and their immortal keeper, Oliver Kahn, previously next to unbeatable in the tournament, lost to Brazil and Ronaldo. Arguably, those two players, Ronaldo and Kahn, are the best striker and goalkeeper of all time, respectively. That epic matchup, which ended 2-0 for Brazil, one of the goals coming following Kahn’s only error of the tournament, got me hooked on the international game. From the Champions League, in which Europe’s top club teams compete, to the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 European Championships, I don’t think I’ve missed a televised game if I could help it.

Being here in Germany for the 2010 World Cup and having just seen the die Mannschaft (literally, ‘the team’) crush archrivals England at a public viewing yesterday, though, has given me a real appreciation for the meaning of international football here in Europe. The World Cup and the Euro are far more than simple spectacles of sport; the national teams embody the histories and identities of entire nations.

Soccer is an inextricable part of Germany’s past, and, unlike the World Cup history of the United States, Germany’s history of participation in the tournament is riddled with momentous victories and defeats that came at defining moments in the history of the nation itself. Those moments have been indelibly etched upon the national conscience of the German people and that history gives added meaning to classic matchups like Germany vs. England. It’s obvious to everyone, of course, that two world wars fought between the two nations, as much as it is politically correct not to acknowledge it, play a role. However, the fact that England’s only World Cup victory in 1966 came against West Germany in the final at Wembley Stadium in London and the fact that the English have caved under pressure and lost to the Germans in two penalty shootouts on the international stage in the 90’s provide just as much of a backdrop. The looming quarterfinal matchup with Argentina, for instance, is far more than a game between, arguably, the two best teams in the tournament so far; it’s a rematch of the quarterfinal of the 06 World Cup, where Jens Lehmann saved 2 Argentine penalty kicks to put the Germans through, a rematch of the 1990 World Cup Final, where an Andreas Brehme penalty give the Germans their 3rd World Cup victory against the Argentineans, and a rematch of the 1986 final, where the greats of the German game, names like Lothar Matthäus, Karl Heinz Rummenigge, and Rudi Völler lost out to Diego Maradona and Argentina. Almost every matchup has that historical dimension and undertone, and, if I had to pick one thing only, I’d say that’s the biggest missing element from the World Cup experience from an American viewpoint. Hopefully, one day we can develop a storied World Cup history, to the point where a USA v. England matchup isn’t just presented as a ‘second American Revolution’, but as round two, or even three, of a matchup that has already delivered truly classic World Cup games.

Moreover, football has, at times, taken on a far greater role than that of a mere sport in German history. The German’s first World Cup victory in 1954, during the depression and disillusionment of the post WWII years, inspired and helped to heal a downtrodden nation, creating, to some extent, a new, positive national identity free from the ghosts of the Nazis. In German, the 1954 victory is known as “Das Wunder von Bern”- The Miracle of Bern, since the underdog German team beat the Hungarians in the final, a team considered nearly immortal and unbeatable. Germany’s third World Cup victory in 1990 came just as West and East Germany, so long divided, were coming together at long last as a reunified Germany, and die Mannschaft’s win over Argentina crowned that triumphant moment in German history.

This World Cup, regardless of whether the Germans can win the 4th star or not, I think the very makeup and playing style of the German team speaks volumes about German society and it’s development over the last few decades. A cursory glance at the German roster reveals that many of the players don’t exactly have names that seem ‘typically Germany’, and it is indeed true that the team is made up of many players from a diverse immigrant background. Lukas Podolski and Miro Klose, for instance, are of Polish heritage, as their names betray. Sami Khedira is of Tunisian extraction. Mesut Ozil is of Turkish lineage, Cacau is a nationalized Brazilian, and Jerome Boateng is half German, half Ghanaian. Ignorantly, I think, many people jibe that this German team isn’t really German at all. Sure it is. The jingoist assumption that to be ‘German’ means having blonde hair and blue eyes and having a last name like Schweinsteiger or Mertesacker no longer has a place in modern German society, and, for their part, I think the Germans are rightfully proud of the diversity and tolerance the national team reflects in their society.  What’s wrong with a new German national identity, one that stresses the nation’s willingness to accept immigrants and people from all sorts of different backgrounds and consider them just as much a part of Germany as any others? Nothing.  The new, ethnically diverse identity of the national team has, it seems, coincided with a radical change in the teams of style of play. Gone are the days of the stereotypically dour, efficient, and stout playing style of the German teams of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. The team we’re seeing in the 2010 World Cup is young, vibrant, fast, aggressive, and they combine and move the ball around the field at the speed of light, often times catching opponents flat footed for a counter-attack goal (England, Australia). Thirty years ago, such a free flowing style of play would have been unthinkable from a German side. As the Germans say, these guys have Spielfreude.

The World Cup doesn’t have to, and indeed should not have, the jingoistic undertone of ‘pure’ races of men from different nations having at each other on a grass field to see which race is the best at putting a ball between two posts. The players on the national team represent the people back home- their friends, families, fans, and supporters- as well as the youth football system that made them into the players they are. In that sense, then, if Podolski, Klose, Ozil, Khedira, and Boateng were all born and raised in Germany, how do their ancestries or last names make them any less worthy of representing Germany in the World Cup than Bastian Schweinsteiger or Holger Badstuber? As Americans who live in a society that is defined by its diversity, we should, I think, appreciate how open German society has become.

SCHLAND!!

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).

Bremen celebrating the 4:1 win over England at Domshof (Bremen)

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

Fans at Domshof (Bremen) – Town Hall in the background (by courtesy of Insa Kohler)

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!!

Werder Bremen

by Daniel Bussard and Andrew Shuman ’11

Every weekend here in Bremen the same thing happens, everybody goes to their favorite bar or the lucky few that have tickets go to the stadium and watch the almighty Green and White, Werder Bremen. It’s a Bremen tradition, which almost everybody partakes in. If there is one thing every Bremer will talk about it is Werder Bremen and how they are doing right now and how they could do better.

Werder plays in the Weser Stadium, which is perhaps one of the nicest stadiums in the world, only problem is that right now they’re remodeling so right now it’s kinda a mess. It is located in the Östliche Vorstadt section of town east of the Viertel. It is directly next to the Weser and is also the location of many playing fields for different sports. The tickets to go to a game in the stadium are actually dirt cheap with “Stehplatz” (standing place) for a student running around 8 to 10 Euros a game with a season ticket for a student in the same area is 110 Euros. A “Sitzplatz” (seat) is going to run you 30 or more Euros but you always have a good view of the field no matter where you are. The atmosphere in the stadium is electric and awesome to experience. Everybody is dressed in green and white and singing the Werder chants. It’s kinda like American football back in the state but a little bit more extreme as here only soccer has the huge fan base and goes from fall to spring. My personal favorite space at the stadium is the Ostkurve, because this is mainly where all the hardcore fans are and where the atmosphere is explosive. It makes even the worst defeat seem slightly better, thankfully though Werder doesn’t often now defeat, having one of the best offensives in the Bundesliga.

Another great place to watch the game is one of the bars in the Viertel, which is where we normally watch the game when we don’t have tickets, especially at Hegarty’s one of the best bars in Bremen. The bars are always packed with fans due to the fact that you must buy a subscription that is outrageously expensive to watch live soccer games. It is a great substitute atmosphere when you don’t have tickets.

One of the cool distinct features of Werder is their training, it is always public and afterwards you can get autographs and pictures with the players. The players are also extremely friendly and outgoing here and often times we’ll be shopping at REWE and run in to Tim Wiese, Werder’s goalie. It is really awesome to watch the team practice and you come back form it with a new found respect for professional soccer players and the skills they have.