June 14, 2012

Hup Holland, Hup.... if you are an ardent football fan, you might want to stop reading right now.
See, up until the last World Cup, I was never a football fan myself. In fact, I was all out irreverent. I "hated" seeing any green fields on the TV screen and resented the hours of watching by other family members (while I felt ignored and dismissed)... However, something shifted when we played in South Africa. Despite the horrible Vuvuzela sounds which I really couldn't stand - ok so my patience levels aren't that great even now... - I watched every game where Holland played, and sometimes even watched other games as well. Even when I visited my family in Israel, I insisted on watching the Dutch games. And wore orange, and screamed with joy at every goal.
So, actually, I was looking forward to the EK. (European Cup? or Kampionship or something). In Portugal, over the weekend, we dressed in orange, and went out to watch with a group of total (Dutch) strangers - who, for the course of 1.5 hours became our best mates, drinking beer together, doing waves, screaming at the TV, cursing at the referee. And as you know, it was a terrible loss.
Today again, I got up my hopes, got snacks ready, dressed in orange, got excited and pffff... fizzle fizzle... like rain on a campfire... All my hopes up in smoke...
But what I wanted to share was how I felt / feel while watching. In the beginning, I'm exciting, hopeful. And I cheer on the players, c'mon guys, you can do it! I encourage them, under my breath, yes, keep the ball, well done, pass it - good! Closer, yes, nice control of the ball, you have those Germans beat! And then, as the time ticks by, and no scores are made, I become increasingly impatient with "my" football team, and frustrated. I suddenly feel that they are too much like my sometimes low flying 5.5 mentality students, although I must say these guys in orange are great team players. Pass the ball, pass it, pass it... very nice guys, but where is your killer instinct? I am frustrated with the coach who sits there like a fish, saying nothing at all... I want him to be like Al Pacino - rousing the emotions of his players, getting the best out of them. I think of how my few German students are such high achievers, so willing to go the extra mile, so assertive and so pleasant to work with.  I suggest to Theo that perhaps we should move to Germany, because life there would be so much more fulfilling. I don't want to back the losers. I don't want to be a loser. I want to win, or not play at all. And that could be the reason I was never such a good football fan to begin with. I'm all about the short term victory, the quick successes, I'm not into the whole Zen thing of football for football's sake.
So, Hup Holland ? Or Go Germany? I can feel my Jewish ancestors turning unhappily in their graves...
It's just a game, and sports is good for you - to watch, to play, it's a way of life. So, get over it Audrey and just 'doe normaal'!