Monday, June 30, 2008

EURO 200L8

So ends Euro 2008. I don't have much to add from the insider perspective from the nation that made it to the finals. International news seems to have conveyed two things: EURO 2008 was huge, and surprisingly docile. These are both true.

No American sport comes close to Euro soccer. Andy Weir once riposted the Yankees - Red Sox rivalry; such a statement would only come from someone who has seen the American side of sports fanaticism. To attain parity, hundreds of Sox fans must take the train to Manhattan on each game day (not just playoffs), wearing their Sox gear and drinking constantly, then march through the streets in a rally against the opposing teams. You jackass, they'd get their asses kicked in a New York minute, you think. See my prior posts on why such rallies require riot cops on horseback with tear gas.

Consider also that EURO 2008 is only every four years. On any game day, regardless of who was playing, the streets and pubs were packed. If your country was playing, it got really absurd. Any restaurant that did not normally have outdoor seating got some. Stick a TV outside and you will get business. People wore their country's team colors and face paint with their flag. Streetcars took different routes - a less endearing effect of EURO 2008, along with the fact that whenever the local team won (in this case, Germany or Turkey), people would honk their horns all hours of the night. Throughout the entire night. One person would honk, and some other asshole half a mile a way would hear it and start honking too, like howling dogs. Worse than church bells, quacking, or Austrian wedding gunfire.

The nonviolent aspect of the fracas did surprise me. I said Bremen would tear itself apart if Turkey and Germany ended up playing each other. I was wrong. On game day, I saw some cars and homes flying German flags, and some flying Turkish flags, and thought, maybe I should go to Holland or Denmark for a day or two. But the Turkish were very gracious in defeat, as were the Germans. On the day of the finals (Sunday), I was at Murphy's Corner, where I usually go to thrash the Addams Family pinball game. The bar was filled way beyond capacity, but that's OK, the fire marshalls were probably watching the game too. After the game ended, the crowd applauded and went right on drinking. Come on, guys. Scream. Threaten. Riot. Trample. Invade. You're making our revolution look bad.

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