I had been back in the country for just over 24 hours when I did the most German thing I’ve ever done in the almost four years I have lived here – I attended a public viewing of the World Cup Grand Final Match between Germany and Argentina at Heiligegeistfeld. Me, my friends and 50,000 other people crammed ourselves onto the field where they hold the Hamburger Dom Volkfest to watch the match on the giant screen.
We braved torrential rain and idiots that thought that bringing an umbrella to a place where they were barely room to breathe was a good idea, but our patience paid off when the whistle blew and the match began (thankfully the rain had stopped by then). This was when my education in being a German football fan begun. I was taught football cheers, what to do during a penalty kick and the importance of knowing everybody’s name on the team, mainly so you can participate in some of the cheers. I learnt the importance of surrounding yourself with good people who are gracious enough to answer all your questions and crazy enough to buy everyone standing around them a beer & then not accept any payment. Then when the match winning goal was scored, I learnt how to celebrate a World Cup win German-style. It involves a lot of jumping around, hugging strangers, letting off flares and fireworks and singing this song.
It’s called “Oh wie ist das schön” and the lyrics are really basic: “Oh, wie ist das schön! Oh wie ist das schön! So was hat man lange nicht gesehn, so schön, so schön!” (Oh, how great! Oh how great! Haven’t seen something like this for a long time, so great, so great!). It needs to be sung about a hundred times with decreasing levels of understandability as everyone gets drunker and drunker.
When not singing “Oh wie ist das schön”, they then launch into Super Deutschland Olé
which has the challenging lyrics of Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé, Super Deutschland Olé, Super Deutschland Olé, Super Deutschland Olé!
Germans, despite their uptight image, really know how to party and have a good time. Never has this been so on display as it was when the match was ended and the Heiligegeistfeld public viewing crowd spilled out onto the streets. The singing was still taking place and people were randomly congratulating each other and high-fiving passing motorists who were not so much passing as they were crawling down the street which made high-fiving much easier and less of a risk to your life. I must admit I did take part in the high-fiving part of the celebrations and the singing even though I was stone-cold sober thanks to my lovely alcohol intolerance.
I think I choose a pretty good occasion to get into the public viewing of World Cup Football rather than watching it at home or in the pub. Knowing how much fun it is, I will definitely be going to more public viewings the next time around.