Thursday, June 26, 2008

UEFA 2008 Semi-Finals

If you've been up on your Fußball lately, you already know that Germany secured a place at the EM final game last night (v. Spain, it seems). I was busy grilling a class til about 9pm and, as a result, we missed the game's first two goals. Egal, enough happened in the rest of the game to keep us interested. Joined by a couple of colleagues, we enjoyed the game from the comfort of a sidewalk table at an Altstadt pub. Kelly, concerned that I hadn't been consuming enough beer lately, was content to watch me knock back a whopping drei Kölsch (which amounts to little more than a pint and a half of light beer). None of us being either German or Turkish, we were in a comfortably neutral mindset, making the game's rollercoaster finish a little less punishing on the blood pressure. It also meant that we were in a position to find the intermittent broadcast outages completely hilarious. Apparently the result of averse weather conditions in Austria, one of the breaks in signal lasted for what seemed like five minutes, while another interrupted the final minutes of the game. When this happened, the screen would look like this:
Each time, we could hear the entire city howling to the heavens, quickly followed by a chorus of tinny radio broadcasts playing from the fleets of idle cabs lining the streets. I couldn't help but get a whiff of a particularly didactic premise to a feel-good, transcending-cultural- differences type of movie. It felt like all of us - Germans, Turks, and unaffiliated internationals alike – were poised to spontaneously race to some grassy hilltop - as chance would have it, the only place in all of Köln serviced by a secure television signal. There, panting and sweaty, we'd crowd politely around a tiny, rabbit-eared, black-and-white television set. Spätzle and simit would circulate, and we'd all be surprised by just how good they tasted together. Before long we'd forget all the ways that our lives and cultures might seem so different. None of this happened of course, but the threat loomed ominously. But what also didn't happen was the feared nationalistic/racist confrontations – or at least not that we saw during the long, slow walk from the disconcertingly subdued Altstadt, through the beer-drenched, confetti-spattered mob scene on Zülpicherplatz, to finally land at home around midnight.

And not that it has anything to do with the football semis, but Kelly was helplessly locked in a café restroom for twenty minutes this morning while I sat obliviously reading a book.


Jane said...

I have a new email...
I really want to stay in touch. How else will I know which comics to read?

Aaron Burkhalter said...

Oh poor Kelly! How did she get out???

Sounds like fun in soccerville. Over here the Parker family was all duped by a clip from a gatorade commercial. this video of a girl scaling a wall to catch a foul ball got sent about and Ken had to come in with the "Yeah, that's fake by the way".

It did look impressive though.