Day 18 of 20: Berlin Soccer

3 Mar

So I’m walking around Berlin and I happen upon a game of European soccer. Two years ago I swore an oath to never write about football again but today the weather is just too nice – I can sit outside and type this blog post while marvelling at how strange this game is.

I mean this particular game. Not the sport.

Which is also strange.

Which is also strange.

The pitch is right next to a public park (not unlike the one I went to in the Netherlands) and I’m standing by the fence that separates the soccer (I think it’s a men’s league game) from the parents who are out with their children to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather. Next to me is a woman with a stroller containing an eight-month old baby. This woman’s three-year-old son and husband are inside the fenced-off area watching the game. The baby starts to cry and I ask him what’s wrong – are you too hot, too cold, too hungry?

His mother explains that he’s too bored. I suggest he get used to this – he is at a soccer game after all. Mom laughs at my joke and then calls through the fence for “Artur” (she wants to leave). I ask her if Artur is the big one or the little one. Artur (the three-year-old) really wants to get out on the field but he’s knows that’s not a good idea. So instead he’s reaching under the fence and collecting acorns and kicking them out onto the pitch (with a surprising amount of co-ordination).

After the family leaves I begin to wonder if it’s just the professional players that take dives and pretend to be hurt all the time. The thirty minutes I’ve seen here today answers the question.

It’s a resounding “no”. Every time there’s a clash for the ball at least one guy ends up rolling around like he’s just been shot or something. I keep expecting an ambulance helicopter to be called in for an emergency medevac but after a couple of minutes the “injured” player gets up and the game resumes.

I even get to handle the ball as one of the attacking players airmails a shot over the fence. While the defenders clap their hands like they actually accomplished something, I self-appoint myself to the position of ball collector and hand it back to the coach.

My photo-documenting the incident makes him smile.

My photo-documenting the incident makes him smile.


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