Soccer, by any other name is….

June 17, 2012 at 12:35 am 2 comments

Football, (aka Soccer) German Style

As most of you know, North Americans are generally not avid soccer fans. Canadians love their hockey and Americans have NFL football, basketball and baseball mania (though hockey has a bit of a foothold in some States). Soccer is THE sport in most of Europe. And since we are in the midst of the European championship tournament, we were able to experience football German style!

Since our arrival in Germany three weeks ago we have been hearing about soccer and Germany’s rise in the standings over past years. The championships have Germans demonstrating an unusual amount of nationalism (something that has not been that common since the end of WWII). German colours, flags, hats, jerseys, and noisemakers in black, red & yellow, abound. Once again German flags adorn houses, places of business and cars—national pride, and according to our hosts, soccer has allowed them to show their colours in a safe way.

The television commentators speculate and our host children complete performance prediction cards (I suppose there is another term for these forms, but not for the life of me can I think of what it is!) Last Saturday, the day of the “big game” between Germany and Portugal ended with jubilation (yup Germany won). We had the pleasure of experiencing this game with our hosts in a restaurant specializing in food from Portugal—and this tiny eatery was shared by enthusiastic fans for both countries. Great atmosphere! The next “big game” was a few nights ago when Germany met their “arch-rivals” from Holland. Once again we were in a restaurant with Rotary hosts (this time in Dusseldorf) where everyone’s attention (including that of the servers) was on one of the many big screens playing the game. Cheers and celebration resounded when Germany advanced in the standings by winning yet again. Saturday (the same night as the Rotary Conference gala) will be the next “must see game”. Definitely entertaining!

Soccer here is BIG business. The stadiums are massive and they are everywhere. We toured Veltin’s stadium in Gelsenkirchen—at first blush, I doubted this would be very interesting but to my surprise it was! The place is massive and efficient—they can serve tens of thousands of beer in minutes (quite the system of beer delivery behind the scenes). The food service process was equally efficient, but the most interesting features of the stadium involved the playing field. The natural playing field is over 10 tons in weight, over a meter deep, has a complex watering system and is moved in for games and out again after (at a cost of ~8000 Euros for each move in/out) and a process that takes hours to accomplish. We were able to view the chapel (if you love soccer and are a fan of the team, you can get married there). We walked the route players take before the game, spent time play-acting in the pressroom, and posed for pictures everywhere. Naturally, a few days after the tour we had to find the Schalke shop so that we could shop (team colours are blue and white…Bert & Nick look great in blue, so couldn’t resist!)


Lindsey, Laura & I at the game–yes, I am in a jersey & yes I watched the game!

Klara G. showing us what real team spirit looks like!

The Team at Veltin’s Stadium in Gelsenkirchen



Entry filed under: Team Blog.

Wake Up Calls Dusseldorf and final thoughts

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rob Martin  |  June 17, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Thanks Marie! Your Team made us all understand better the value of the GSE program! Rob Martin

  • 2. billrobson1  |  June 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    I agree with Rob, this is what GSE is all about and you have shown that GSE should remain as a TRF program.


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