Hannah L. | 06.07.2018
I never knew football fever was in vogue till I saw tri-coloured sausages at my local supermarket. Yes, a black, red and jaundice-yellow triplet pack of wieners snuggling in premature jubilation. Also spotted were Germany-themed cheeses, Hawaiian skirts, even dyed flowers! But now with the sudden departure of the national team, retailers have been forced to support the next red-black-gold country, which is Belgium. Circulating online are instructions on how to recycle your German paraphernalia, and how to shout ‘GOAL’ in Dutch, or French. Looks like Kahn from the Snickers ad could have gotten more screen time had the ad focused on him being hungry and confused in Belgium instead. But let’s not jinx the team before they even qualify for the semi-finals. Up against a formidable Brazil, Belgium is set to maybe, not win.
It seems like many a German employee uses the World Cup as an excuse to leave work early, with similarly excited colleagues running betting rounds over lunch. In fact, I still see plenty of people wearing the German soccer jersey for casual meetups and moving onto their next favourite team. “TOOOORRRR!!” roars every neighbourhood in acknowledgment of yet another exciting goal, as victory resounds through the doner shops in place of the usual Erdogan ads and Turkish music videos, or through the large public screenings by the Leine at Strandleben or at any other random café capitalising on the craze.
So what is it that compels grown men (and women and children, and some say, housepets) to devote hours over a few weeks in summer to this sport? The joy of group emotion, to experience success and failure with the masses? I may never know why millions all over the world gawk at two dozen millionaires running after a little ball. Not that I play football myself, but having charismatic players do interviews and appear in almost every news outlet helps raise publicity to housework-shirking levels. Heroes of today, and of the years thereafter. For in every fan there lies a little child dreaming of playing football at that level. Who is also, very fortunate to not have been abandoned by his or her mother in the throes of a previous World Cup fever.