July 2014


News Flash: Germany won the World Cup! And I don’t care.

So… I might be the last to inform you, but Germany won the World Cup just over a week ago.

To nobody’s surprise, I was part of distinct minority in Germany: the 14% that did not watch the final match. But hey: the game started at 9pm and I wanted to go to work at my normal time Monday morning. I’ve actually met one other person who did not watch the game. The name will not be revealed in order to protect the innocent.

Sunday evening I wanted to read my (then) current (now past) book, Project Plowshare: The Peaceful Use of Nuclear Explosives in Cold War America. (How’s that for light reading – more on it later.)

There were a number of rain showers Sunday evening, so I’d actually shut my windows and was reading in bed when the game started at 9. I judged that some weird stuff must have happened in the first half (based on neighborhood sounds) before falling asleep around 10 or so. I woke up a fair bit later to loud cheering; well after 11pm – so I assumed that Germany had won in extra time or something. And then I slept like a blissfully ignorant baby until my alarm went off at 6:00.

Berlin, Monday morning, after the World Cup, was a bit surreal: the streets were dead. The bus at 07:30 was relatively empty. Mitte was devoid of people. In many ways it reminded me of what Berlin is like during Christmas – a total lack of people on the street – but different in that public transit was running its normal weekday schedule.

Basically I had my own private bus to the office and it was clear that the vast majority of the few people on my bus were like me: football-not-give-a-damners. One guy got on the bus in a cheap suit wearing a hat in German colors and wearing glasses with the German colors. Other people – including me – eyed him like the freak weirdo that he is until he got off the bus.

The office was also rather quiet until closer to noon – it seems that a lot of people had stayed up watching the game and then partying until the sun came up.

Tuesday, on the other hand, was the polar opposite: There was energy that one could feel – even as I desperately needed coffee – on the streets.

Now I was aware that Berlin was hosting the champions at a rally that day, but I assumed that it would start sometime after the plane landed from Rio – it was scheduled to land at 9, so I guessed noon?

Ha – I guessed way wrong. My bus had football fans – sitting behind me were two wearing championship kit and (for some reason) speaking English. I was amused when one assure the other that, “I am not drunk.” Making that kind of declarative statement at 07:30 on a Tuesday morning is not, in my experience, confidence inspiring.

The guys got off the bus at Potsdamer Platz and as I looked out the windows, I realized that the two guys were two out of at least a thousand people that were visible from my bus, all making their way to the celebration at Brandenburg Tor.

The doors to the celebration had, apparently, opened around 06:30.

I, for one, was happy to be headed to the office – last week I was drowning in work and was behind on several deadlines. The streets were certainly alive. The office was certainly not. I got a lot of work done, even with the occasional helicopter passing overhead – thankfully overhead my office did not have the best angle for capturing the crowds as the heroes received their welcome back to Germany.

There is one thing I want to clarify: I do not hate football. I just don’t care about it. The games are on my calendar only so that I know when my football loving friends are going to be busy and when the streets are going to be filled with drunken fans. I don’t watch the games because the game is, at least to me, painfully boring. It’s like watching paint dry. It’s as boring as watching American football, golf, tennis, or the Indy 500 – at least for me. I am not particular in my not watching of the American Super Bowl – I don’t watch football any other time of the year, I don’t see why I should make an exception for the “biggest” match of the year.

It is somewhat nice seeing the bounce in the steps of victorious Germans – but, to be honest, I haven’t seen anybody who was directly and personally involved in the World Cup yet – in person. I did make a point of glancing through photos of the German players and I can safely say that I would walk right past any of them on the street without a second glance – I wouldn’t recognize them for who they are and I wouldn’t turn my head because not one of them is physically attractive. Save for the head coach – who I would recognize and I bet would be interesting to talk to, assuming you could get him to stop talking about football because football as an inherent subject would keep my interest for about, errr… 30 seconds.

As for what I’m thinking about the World Cup right now – I actually have been giving the 2018 tournament a lot of thought. Currently it is scheduled to be in Russia. This scares me: putting the World Cup in Russia is a chance for Putin to showcase his country – a country that is increasingly homophobic and likely responsible for providing the equipment that was used to shoot down MH17.

The 2018 World Cup needs to move.

2 comments to News Flash: Germany won the World Cup! And I don’t care.

  • Bill

    I don’t know Adam. I was in Weimar the entire world cup and the night of the final I too stayed home. My reason was similar to yours in that the game was on late and I knew that everywhere would be packed. But I did watch it and I did drink a few(or more) beers and there was horn blowing and cheering in the streets of Weimar. I did enjoy several of the earlier games at the Schwarzberg Hof. It was a lot of fun.

    • If I’d been in Weimar, I probably would have watched the finals with friends — but I am genuinely an awful person to watch football with (American or European) — as I make incredibly biting/cynical remarks…