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Friday, July 9, 2010

Renewal (Soccer as Catalyst)


New Germany ©Nina Buesing Corvallo

Soccer Wrap Up.
Tomorrow I am suiting up again, so to speak, and I will watch Germany play Uruguay. Just as some Germans players were not thrilled at having to play this match, I wasn't sure I wanted to watch the game. We lost. It was disappointing. But life goes on.
If Miroslave Klose's back injury doesn't prevent him from playing tomorrow, he could still tie or beat Ronaldo's record of most goals in a world cup. Exciting. I am sure "Miro" would prefer to have gone for the record in a final match, but as we like to say in New York: 's**t happens'.
Four years ago, the German team gave their all one more time and won third place beating Portugal 3:1. Germany cheered as if they won the final.
And I guess, that is what you have to do. Dust yourself off and get back in the saddle.
My husband doesn't care about sports and neither do I really. How soccer slipped in there, I am not sure.
As an expat, the World Cup let's me travel home without getting on a plane. It gives room for emotions that are usually stored away. But I don't think it is just about being an expat.
While watching old footage of previous world cups, a rush of childhood memories washed over me.
My parents are not sport fans either, but as a child of the seventies and eighties, images of Paul Breitner and the names of Rummenigge and Beckenbauer were inescapable. I suspect that my affection for soccer started then.
In 1989 shortly after the wall came down, I moved from Paris to New York. Off from school I spent the summer of 90 home in Germany.
90 of course was the year of German Reunification and also the year Germany last won the World Cup. I remember the feeling of that night vividly. It was a night of history.
Germany has such a difficult past, and there is no hiding from it. Germans are born with original sin. July 8, 1990 began the road to internal redemption. Reunification of East and West, was followed in the late nineties by a long overdue change in attitude towards immigration. Then in 2006 Germany hosted the World Cup and shared her new self with the world. A whole nation dared to breathe.
What made Wednesday's loss so disappointing, is that Germany came so close to the end of the road. Technically in1990,West Germany won the World Cup, so I cannot help but think that perhaps my place of birth would like to share the trophy with all of its people. And to show the world that a strong Germany no longer is a scary Germany.

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