I make no secret of it: I am not a soccer fan, and a soccer dummy at that. The last time I watched soccer was during the 1990 World Cup. Friends from university had invited me over to watch the semifinals. At some point during the game I asked why there was a guy in a striped outfit running so closely behind the players. Let’s just say I was not invited back for more games (although the hostess is still a close friend today). I watched the finals at a crowded bar with a date. Luckily it was too loud for me to ask any questions.
My parents also lived in complete soccer oblivion. I remember our walking on a remote, deserted beach in Normandy during summer vacation in 1974. When we passed a group of Frenchmen who overheard us speaking German they congratulated us on our success. In return the Frenchmen earned nothing but quizzical looks from the three of us. Germany had just won the World Cup. We had no idea.
Today, 2014, is different. I am excited that Germany made it to the finals. Much of the reason for my excitement for the German team goes beyond goals and sports fame and glory.
Just look at the names of the players: Mesut Özil, born in Germany to Turkish parents. Sami Khedira, born in Germany, with a Tunisian father and a German mother (like me). Miroslav Klose, born in Poland into a family of ethnic Germans who moved to Germany in the 1980s. Lukas Poldoski, born in Poland to a family who immigrated to Germany. Shkodran Mustafi, born in Germany to Albanian immigrants. Jérôme Boateng, born in Germany, whose father is from Ghana.
This German national team is diverse. How things have changed! It is picture-perfect German multiculturalism on the playing filed.
Of course I am going to watch the game on Sunday. My husband and son are bracing themselves for some dumb questions. My contribution will be Käseigel, a classic German party food that was popular from the 1950s to the 1970s.