As an American, I rarely get the chance to experience football. Not football as in the Giants or Jets, but football as the rest of the world knows it, to us Americans: soccer.
Sure, I’ve watched a game or two and around World Cup time packed into bars with thousands of other game day fans. I, like many of my peers, have watched the game, but have never known what is was like to experience football.
Soccer is the world’s favorite sport, and while many may automatically think of South America as its’ bastion, Europeans are BIG fans. Soccer is a source of national pride to many, with the various temas becoming part of a nation’s cultural fabric. Many times, players don’t play for their own countries but rather for the teams across the globe offering the highest salaries. Every two years however, the World Cup and Euro Cup are held alternately every four, the world’s best soccer stars return home, playing for their countries in tournaments that seem to stop time.
On my travels this summer I was lucky to be in Europe for the duration of the Euro Cup 2012, co-hosted by Ukraine and Poland for three weeks in in the middle of June. Public squares in every major city across the continents put up monster screens and welcomed the thousands who swarmed to watch their beloved nation play. When in Berlin, I was one of these fans, who descended on Bradenburg Gate to watch Germany take on Denmark in the important 3rd round game.
It was here, that I truly experienced the game of football. Thankfully, the Germans beat the Danes 2-1. Caught up in the midst of thousands of screaming Germans rooting for their own, I understood how a game could enrapture a nation and embody a sense of such immense national pride.
Next up: Rio De Janeiro World Cup 2014, June 12- July 13 2014