WATCHING THE FIFA WORLD CUP IN THE U.S. VERSUS GERMANY
After four years of drought, the time has finally come again: The FIFA World Cup is back. Even though Germany didn’t showcase its best performance in the first game against Mexico, I do have high hopes for the team.
While I was living in Germany, I never was a really big soccer fan, nor did I have a favorite team I rooted for. But when it was time for the European and World Cup, I did a whole 180 and turned into a soccer maniac– including dressing up with accessories and attending public viewings.
One might think that I am a major bandwagon, and I have no problem to admit that. But before you judge me, I would love to explain my reasoning behind my transformation: I just love the energy that is going on during a World Cup. It feels like the whole country becomes a union where everyone is welcomed and we celebrate together as a team.
During my time in Germany, it wasn’t very common to have the German flag hanging outside of your house like it is in the United States. But during a soccer championship, many houses and cars are decked out in decorations and people are dressed up in the national team jersey, showcasing their pride in the nation. Soccer brings the people together, and I love it.
I still very well remember the last World Cup I watched in Germany, which was in 2010. The weather was great during that time, and my friends and I went to several public viewing locations throughout the city. It was always a big party with good drinks and a fun atmosphere. We even celebrated our annual team outing at work at a public viewing.
Another big tradition that I partook in during FIFA WC time was the “Autokorso,” which is basically a car parade throughout the town. After every win of the German team, people would hop in their cars and drive around town, honking, singing, yelling, and just having a good time. One time, I remember my horn broke thanks to my excessive honking after another great game.
Now fast forward to the next World Cup in 2014 when I was already living in the United States. By that time, I had made some German friends who were doing an internship with a German company over here. I met them through a friend of mine, who rented out rooms to interns short term.
But it wasn’t just for my German friends who got me pumped for watching the World Cup back then in the U.S. I also have a few American friends who are avid fans of the German national team, and so we hyped each other up. We were able to catch a couple games all together at a local bar here in Huntington Beach (luckily, the time difference wasn’t a problem since the World Cup was held in Brazil.)
I’ll never forget the last game, where Germany defeated Argentina and was crowned World Champion. We watched the game at our usual spot, all dressed up in the team colors and cheering the German nation on. It was an intense game and a lot of fun to watch. All of us were having a great time, and when the last goal fell, the entire bar turned into party mode. It was a blast.
Everything was great, but when we stepped out of the bar, it hit me that it wasn’t quite the same as watching this spectacle in Europe. There wasn’t a car parade going on; there were no people singing and yelling out of joy on the streets; no one besides us was dressed up.
Don’t get me wrong, my heart was so full that Germany won, but at that moment, I just wish I could be celebrating this major event with the thousands of people in my hometown Dusseldorf.
I am not sure yet how I feel about this year’s FIFA World Cup, but so far I haven’t been in much of an exciting mood. Of course I am going to root for the German team, but I am not too bummed (yet) that I haven’t watched any of the soccer matches going on.
Yeah, for me, following the soccer world championship in the U.S. isn’t really the same as doing so in Europe, and I truly do miss the atmosphere here. I am curious how and where are you watching this year’s games?
While I might not be fully engaged in the World Cup anymore, I still enjoy listening to the theme songs that are produced by German artists particularly for this event. So today, I am going to leave you with one of the official German WM songs of 2018. Enjoy, and GO GERMANY!
Credits: Images – pixabay.com | Videos – WorldCup 2014 ©ESPN, WM Song2018-Benjamin Scholz
Anne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as about working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.