Just over a week ago Euro 2008 (or EM-Spiel) began. The day before it started, I consulted the wikipedia article to figure out what exactly it was, other than some football games, and now can speak with authority. Well, not really, all I know is that it is the European Football championships, played every four years (two years off of the World Cup) and that 16 teams (notably not including Great Britain) qualified for the tournament. Chris has quickly received some schooling from his fellow (british) English teachers, which means we now consult football365.com on a daily basis. Germany won their first game, though lost the second to Croatia, and the tabloid headlines were particularly bad that next day - to the effect of "Kroatia-rophie." Some tried to argue though, that they were saving their strength for the next game, which would decide if they make it to the quarter-finals. Perhaps that is true, since they did win their match against Austria, thus advancing to the quarter finals. However, the match was anything but spectacular, and the chances of Germany beating Portugal (on my birthday no less) are fairly slim. But that doesn't mean we still can't all go crazy!!!
Football in Germany is, unsurprisingly, crazy. The number of jumbo flatscreen television sets sold in the month of May may just surpass the number of döners sold on a Saturday night. Every bar has screens inside and screens outside too so that the streets can be lined with spectators. Along Zülpicherstrasse, the patio furniture pushes out and into the streets, the spectators sitting literally within inches of passing trams. And then there are the "public viewings" (and I'm not translating from deutsch, that is what they call them here) at the local stadiums. Actually, we've heard that the Germans think the phrase "public viewing" is unfavorable, since that is how we English speakers refer to a dead body at a funeral. According to Chris's students, there is a new German word, Rudelgucken, which translates to "herd viewing," perhaps not really that much better.
The first week, we didn't watch any of the games, but we got pretty good at predicting the score based on the noise from the street. Hopefully in the weeks to come, we'll actually photograph some of the madness in the streets.