Thursday, May 29, 2008

Euro 2008

Because the countdown is everywhere in Switzerland, I can tell you almost without thinking that the UEFA Football Championship will begin in a mere nine days. Switzerland and Austria are the enthusiastic hosts of this much anticipated event. Like most good US Americans, I know next to nothing about football, except what I glean from conversations and from Chi Vuol Essere Milionario? (And who really gleans anything about sports that way?) But all the same, I am caught up in the excitement.

During the World Cup, Chicago became a different place – festive, happy, united. There were parties in the bars, shouting in the streets, banging on apartment floors, flags on cars. Swiss Mr. and I once shared a special moment with some crusty old Greek men and some young Mexican guys in a diner on Broadway. I couldn't tell you who was playing or what actually happened, but for a moment, we were part of the same world.

It is for this reason alone that I want to love soccer. I want to be part of the football club. So, like a big expatriate nerd, I am doing some research. You know, finding out what UEFA stands for, which teams are good, looking at the brackets (which are apparently called "seeding pots"). Here is a memory game which I may use to learn some important historical champions of the sport (be careful, all the Italians somehow look the same). That way I can be like, "Remember that Michel Platini? He sure had big hair," and "He's good, but he's no Sepp Maier." 

I do have my doubts that I'll get into the club permanently. But for one month I'll try really hard and enjoy it. That's what Roger Lemerre would do. 


SoccerAndScience said...

Swiss Miss,
what do you want to know about the world's most favorite sports game?
I happen to be born and raised in good old Europe and therefore had no choice to become anything but a soccer maniac.
Just a little hint: Do not - I repeat, do not - compare Michel Platini with Sepp Maier. (The difference between a midfielder and a goalie is by far more versatile than between a quaterback and a runnig back).
Here a few sentences that might draw some attention:
1. Did you know that there's a bet between the two Bayern Munich strikers Miroslav Klose (Germany) and Luca Toni (Italy) about who scores more goals in the tourney?
2. Remember 1992 when former Yugoslavia was disqualified and Denmark sneaked into the brackets and -without any real preparations- made it all the way to win the title?

Have fun weeks!! The German National Team will have their hotel at the Lago Maggiore (Tenero) just 20 miles away from Lugano. A Jill with Michael Ballack picture would be neat, wouldn't it?
Wish Heike and I had tickets,

Swiss Ms. said...

Soccer'n'Science Maniac,

Thank you for the tips. As soon as I can translate your tidbits into Italian, I will use them on the guys at the bar up the street. They will probably say, Get this woman a cigarette and a small glass of red wine!

Poor Switzerland, poor Italy! Were they supposed to put up more of a fight? Toni's not doing so well on his bet. Who do you think has a good chance at winning the the whole thing?

I need to learn some plays or something, I think, especially because I'm not so quick picking up the commentary in Italian. As a high school player, we didn't get much further than trying to dribble without looking down. No grand strategy for us.

Well, I'm off to consult my calendar to see who's playing tonight. Have you thought of naming your firstborn Miroslav?

jenicrob said...

Jenicrob mr. and I had a special futbol moment in Argentina. We were having supper at this tiny little place called La Nueva Gata, a game was on, and everybody else in the restaurant was a single male sitting alone on the same side of each table (the side facing the TV, of course). One guy in particular caught our attention because he was about our age and was only drinking water (whereas everybody else was drinking beer). Caught up in the spirit of the Boca Juniors (yes, that's what one of Buenos Aires' teams is named. . . . bizarre. why would you name your team an English word?), Patrick magnanimously told the waitress to give our buddy a beer and put it on our tab. She seemed very surprised and a little disconcerted but did proceed to offer said beer to the indicated individual. He declined our offer, thanking us but saying that he was having water because he had to work early the next morning. The game ended, all the single males left, our check came, and jenicrob mr. realized he was out of cash and had to run out to the nearest ATM (which was a good 10-minutes' walk away). Oops. Stupid Americans offering to buy someone a beer when they have no cash. Ah, futbol.

Swiss Ms. said...

The first thing that came to mind when you said Boca Juniors was mini veggie burgers.

I think your offer was even more meaningful without the cash! You could have ended up washing dishes for your generosity. Not stupid, generous.