Let me begin by saying that I hate sports. They are not interesting to me IN. THE. LEAST. However, I am over the moon excited about the World Cup, and if you’re in Germany, you should be, too.
First of all, I know that the vast majority of my readers are women, and we’re not usually the biggest sports fans, so this post might seem a bit out of place. But the reality is that experiencing the World Cup in Germany is so much fun and a once in a lifetime experience for some people. So, even if you’re like me and have absolutely no interest in sports whatsoever, you should be excited about what’s to come.
You see, I was lucky enough to have been in Germany for the last World Cup. I just happened to be visiting my (now) husband, and I didn’t even know that the World Cup was happening – nor did I care. But I got really curious about all of the German flags that I started seeing everywhere. Usually, Germans are very cautious and reserved about anything that is overly patriotic and suddenly I was being confronted by black, red, gold everywhere – literally, everywhere.
Houses had giant German flags draped from their balconies, cars had mini flags attached to their rearview mirrors, my husband and his co-workers were wearing German soccer jerseys to work – I’d never seen anything like it before, and I loved it! Now, I should point out here that this was not a show of national pride but soccer team pride. A lot of Germans, including my husband, would be quick to point out the difference. I didn’t (and still don’t) really care that it’s not national pride, the American in me just loves seeing all of the German people plaster the flag everywhere.
I think the main thing I love about being here for the World Cup is that everybody is rooting for the same team. There is so much energy and excitement everywhere. And it’s just all so positive. So, here’s what you should expect to see and hear over the next several weeks:
- German flags everywhere. Like I said, you’ll see them on houses and cars, but you’ll also see limited edition products with black, red, and gold. For instance, we were just at Netto recently, and they had giant bags of M&Ms with just black, red, and yellow M&Ms. During the last World Cup, we also found frying pans with various flags painted on them. Go to Rossmann, and you’ll find all kinds of jewelry with the German colors. And the further we get into it, the more you will see.
- Spielplans (Game Plans). These come in various forms – you might see booklets or what look like folding brochures – and you’ll see them in all kinds of different businesses (banks, stores, etc.). You can use them to track the progress of the various teams so that you know who is playing who next. There is also a plan online – just Google “Weltmeisterschaft Spielplan 2018” – but a lot of people, including myself, like to use the paper ones.
- Posters advertising Public Viewings. I hate that the Germans call these Public Viewings because I always feel like I’m talking about a funeral, but Public Viewings are exactly what they sound like in the literal sense. These are public screenings of the games. But we’re not talking about a screening like you’d see in a sports bar (although they do that, too). The towns and cities erect giant screens, usually in the Marktplatz areas, where they broadcast some of the games. And in true German fashion, they also have beer stands, food stands, and sometimes even kiddie rides. Go to one of these. Trust me, you will have more fun than you ever thought you would.
- Certain songs. Every World Cup gets its own song, which this year is “Colors” by Jason Derulo. But Germany also has their own song that is like the national song, and this year it’s a song called “Zusammen” (meaning Together) by Die Fantastichen Vier (meaning The Fantastic Four) and Clueso. It’s a song about togetherness and friendship, and it’s especially fun because Fanta 4 is an older group who has been around since the early 90s, and Clueso is a much younger rapper. If you watch the music video, that’s the running joke. The manager is basically telling Fanta 4 that they need to bring in some young blood to reach the younger audiences, so he proposes adding Clueso to the group and becoming Fanta 5. Both Fanta 4 and Clueso are incredibly popular German artists, so it’s a really fun song/video. Since it has been chosen as the official song of the German team, you are going to hear it constantly.
- Shouts of “Tor!” So, the word “Tor” is German for “goal.” It rhymes with the English word “door.” You will hear people screaming it any time the German team makes a goal. I mean, even if you are in your house, if you have the windows open, you’ll hear people outside screaming “Tor!” from their houses. You will probably see it written on stuff, too, but because when people yell it, they stretch the word out so much, you might see it spelled, “Tooooooooooor!
Now, for a word of advice. If you go to a Public Viewing – as you totally should, even if you hate sports – dress up. The Germans will be completely decked out in black, red, and gold, and you should do the same if you want to really get into the fun. You can hit up most grocery stores and drug stores for swag. At the Public Viewing we went to in 2014, most of the Germans I saw had the flag makeup on their cheeks, lays around their necks, and were wearing the white jerseys.
Just keep in mind that when you go to a Public Viewing like the one in the picture above, you’ll need to have super comfortable shoes on because you’ll be standing for the entire game. And people will be packed in tight – smoking and drinking. But that is not a reason to skip out – just be aware of it.
Like I said, the World Cup in Germany is so much fun, and even if you don’t like sports and think this would absolutely not be something for you, give it a shot anyway. I promise – it’s something you don’t want to miss out on!