Most popular song in Germany last week?
Madonna’s “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina…”
I was in Braunschweig last week (Saturday) when Germany creamed Argentina (4-0) in the soccer game in the last few minutes. In fact, the game began in the middle of the wedding ceremony we were attending in a medieval church near the town. As soon as the bride and groom had said their “I do’s,” a large group of the men disappeared, only to be discovered a short time later at the local firehall, where a big screen TV was broadcasting the game.
We watched the game there for a while before heading off to the reception, where the groom had hastily ensured another big-screen TV had been installed.
The speeches were held off until Germany scored the final goal and then everyone agreed, the bride and groom had picked an auspicious day to be married.
During the reception dinner, I spoke to many people about what that game meant to them and about getting to the finals and possibly winning the cup. I’d been in Berlin the day before and there were German flags everywhere – it was the same throughout the countryside – in windows, on cars, on backpacks and graffiti on walls. Every single sidewalk cafe in Berlin boasted a big TV outside and people crowded around them to get the best view (they already have the best beer 🙂
The thing that struck me the most when I asked Germans about the soccer was their incredible pride and joy in seeing their flag. It is, one woman told me, “the first time in memory that we are able to feel real pride in our country and our flag. For so long now, we have felt only shame…We will never forget and it will never happen again, but we celebrate a little pride.”
I’m with her all the way.
So these FIFA matches have been more than sport for this lovely country. These matches have been a way for Germans to really begin to look forward. I talked to so many people for the short time I was in Germany and I was blown away by so many things. The people I met were well-educated, extremely well-travelled, kind, polite and socially aware. They have so much to be proud of, which is why I hope Germany goes all the way in soccer this year!