13 Dec The Day I Fell in Love with the World’s Most Beautiful Game
In May 2014, I was travelling through Germany when I happened upon the DFB-Pokal Final while celebrating my birthday in Munich. Like many women before me, I’d only ever watched football out of love for my boyfriend. I was never a fan of the extreme theatrics—I found it hard to watch the players fall over from as little as a light breeze. But this time it was different.The team playing was different” or “This team was different.
Bars, restaurants—anywhere with a TV was packed. People were watching the final from outside bar windows and behind fences, and there was no way we were getting a seat anywhere. We walked the streets, grabbed some dirty cheap beers—as one does while walking the streets in Germany—and sat on a sidewalk across from a busy bar with an outdoor TV. I watched the fans cheer, Muller troll the other players (and refs), and Neuer make the saves. The energy alone was enough to light the footy flame inside me.
On May 17, 2014, Bayern Munich won yet another DFB-Pokal and sealed my footy fate. The city came alive with cheering, celebrations erupted, and I was hooked.
When the FIFA World Cup rolled around in June 2014, I of course had to watch Germany play. I’d fallen in love with not only the country but also its players. I remember watching Muller, Schweinsteiger, and Ozïl as they ran through the hard hits, were tripped yet got right back up, and dominated the ball, passing it from one player to the next as though instructions came with it when it hit their feet.
They were the team to beat—and of course they took home the 2014 World Cup title.
If you’ve never experienced the buzz that comes from walking through a neighbourhood as its country’s team is playing the World Cup, you’re missing out. The atmosphere give you chills even when the fans are silent. You can feel people holding their breath. For weeks, the energy resonates.