via Lia (via peterwknox)
My team won the World Cup
They are, as we say in German, Weltmeister.
I first paid attention to World Cup football in 1998. The tournament was in France and I was dating an Irish boy. I remember Germany losing to Croatia in the quarter finals and what a joke that felt like. But, as we saw this year, anything can happen. Just ask Spain.
In 2002, I was a university student in Vancouver and the games were in Japan and South Korea. I was dedicated. I woke up at all hours of the morning, driving to friend’s homes to watch games with people. That summer, I befriended two Italians, one of whose dad’s owned a local football equipment store. At 3 a.m. I drove to the shop on the edge of Vancouver where my Italian friends had saved me a seat. Germany was in the finals, but I didn’t feel like we had much of a chance. It was the time of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho and Cafu. I drove home, sad, in the early morning light, crawling into bed at 7 a.m.
In 2006, the World Cup was in Germany. And it was ok to be a German fan again. Like, a really loud, obnoxious and proud German fan. Josh and I had talked about coming. We put our names in for tickets, but came up empty handed, and so I watched the tournament from home. We finished in the semi-finals, winning the third place round. Next time, I thought to myself. It was a young team, with fresh-face Podolski and Schweinsteiger and Lahm and even Klose not yet showing his wear.
In 2010, we had been in Germany for two years. I was pregnant with Luisa and we went out to watch all the games. We watched football games in large crowds of people, at bars, in beer gardens, in empty lots with a projector and a blank white wall. It was so fun. Again, Germany came so close, losing in the semi-finals to would-be victors Spain and we cheered them on to a third place finish. Next time, we all sighed in resignation.
But next time was in Brazil. Europeans don’t do well in South American-hosted tournaments. Germany has a good team. An experienced team. We were solid, but the nation wasn’t feeling optimistic. But, game by game, you could feel the energy rising as we all hopefully speculated that this could be it. And the final came, and we were in it and baby-faced Mario Götze scored that goal. You’re better than Messi, he was told by Jogi Löw before he was put onto the field. And he scored and there were fireworks and excitement and I was so happy. So, so, so happy. I had no idea how happy it was going to make me. I was taken aback by the joy I felt. And I was here. In my country when they won that golden trophy and earned their fourth star and today, today they brought it home to this country and I was there. We almost didn’t make it in as the entrances slowly closed until there was just one entrance into the Fanmeile left and we found it and we got in and we cheered and clapped and sang and drank and had too much sun as well as 500,000 other people. We rode a ferris wheel in the middle of it all with a couple from Dresden who got up at the crack of dawn to come to Berlin for the party. And I was here and so was that team and so was that trophy and it was a great day.
And my team has won the World Cup and it is amazing.