World Cup Soccer? No big deal! For Germans it is
Editor’s Note: Elena Kretschmer is the Hans Joohs exchangee from Ulm-Neu Ulm, Germany.
NEW ULM – Looking at soccer from a German perspective, the way the sport is celebrated in the United States – at least in New Ulm – is not anywhere near to what it is like in Germany. While the Germans make a big event out of each of their games, Americans do not really seem to care.
It all starts with the preparation. In Germany, people start setting up their places – no matter if private or public – weeks before the first game of the World Cup.
Every bar or restaurant puts up signs saying “Watch the World Cup live” to attract customers. People schedule appointments on when and where they will meet to watch the next game. Everybody is totally enthusiastic. Small towns as well as big cities join the soccer mania.
Another important thing for Germans is World Cup attire. Even if people do not own a team jersey, they will always have at least one accessory with them showing their affinity. Whether it be a scarf or painted on their cheeks, you will find at least one German flag per person.
When watching a game, it is usually a huge gathering of people. Some might meet at a friend’s house to watch it together, others might go to one of the many public viewing places, as we call it, which are set up in bars or in parks as an open air event.
In front of huge screens or TVs, people cheer and celebrate as a group. Barely anyone watches a game at home alone.
During the game, people really seem to be glued to the screen and can hardly be distracted for the 90 minutes it lasts. Everyone who likes beer will definitely have one or two or three while the match is in progress.
Afterwards, if the Germans win, it is not over yet. Fans that own a car and did not drink too much will get in their cars, celebrating the victory with a motorcade. Honking and yelling, they will drive through the streets, creating a unique atmosphere that encourages others to join.
In New Ulm, you won’t find any of the things mentioned above. Since soccer is a relatively new sport for the locals, the soccer fever has not yet reached a lot of them.
A recent opinion poll conducted by The Journal confirms this observation, stating that 65 percent of the respondents could care less. Not many places air the games and barely anyone gets together to watch them. So maybe this enthusiasm for soccer could be the next German tradition to be adopted by the city of New Ulm.