Our beloved lomographer @cc-in-paris uploaded this great picture of a football pitch which I commented and she had the idea to write about football and ask me if I would join in. So here we are now. The question to answer is why we love this game?
The great football events like the Euro and the World Cup is where the best teams meet to compete against each other and where Magic Moments happen which are seen by millions of spectators and football supporters/fans around the globe. Some of those moments are tragic while others make whole countries dance and jump so a seismograph will indicate. What those moments have in common is that they are responsible for recruiting football supporters – sometimes for ever.
My personal football story goes like this and I´m addicted to football. Great moments have passed – and maybe some of you remember those days I´m talking of – and hopefully great moments are still to come in the current Euro.
Today the Euro and the World Cup are mass media events one can hardly elude – even if you´re not a football fanatic. But both events have become different from what they used to be: with public viewing, tipp-games, manager-games around the Euro/WC, Euro/WC-news in every newspaper and in every ticker football during those events is omnipresent.
Even though people for whom the football is more than a massmedia event or a consumption event are getting fewer I´d say that each and everyone having followed such an event must have experienced a special moment in a match which makes him keep on following football or the Euro/Worldcup. It may well be „only“ the atmosphere those experience who normally don´t follow football as whole countries are football-crazy during Euro/WC time. But there are others who can surely tell you exactly about a special moment which is responsible for them having become football supporter.
So do you remember your first outstanding moment of football – the first moment you could think of a football event you followed? I guess for most of you it is a special moment in a certain match and not the opening ceremony or an interview after the match. Bulgarians for example may remember Jordan Letschkows header kicking out Germany in 1994. The Brits have quite many moments to remember like the red card of Beckham in the eights 1998 against Argentine or Stuart Pierce missing the penalty against Germany in the semi-finals 1990. Or maybe it´s a moment which was so incredible that it has become famous all over the world like Maradona scoring the goal which was voted as being the best in WC-history 1986 against England, Roger Milla dancing the Makossa dance at the corner flag in 1990 or the brasil player Socrates with his full beard kicking a penalty without taking a single step in the eights 1986 when it was still 0-0 … btw: Socrates scored this one but missed his penalty as first shooter in the penalties against France in the semi-finals and Brasil lost.
My experience didn´t start with something positive and from a retrospective point of view I´d say it was just me being young which prevented me from hating football. Well, kind of.
The first moment I remember following football actively is far from being a magic moment: I was watching a Worldcup game and the German commentator of the match Eberhard Stanjek told that this – what I actually saw – had nothing to do with football anyone would want to see at a Worldcup. It´s not even football and it´s clearly not fairplay and that´s pretty obvious. What he commented was the match Germany vs. Austria at the WC 1982 in Spain which entered the WC-history-books as „The Shame of Gijon“. I was a little boy sitting in front of the TV with my dad watching this shameful match. But back then I didn´t really get the point why it had nothing to do with football as I was too young to know what fair-play means. To me the important information was that the germans will reach the next round if the result stays as it is. So what? And I felt good with the Germans kicking the ball back to the goalie and the Austrians obviously not wanting to play pressing. And so I kind of decided to follow what it will look like in the upcoming matches. To me it looked like if they were quite clever and had easily reached the next round.
What was coming next is responsible for me having become a football addict. It was 1982 and I already played football but just like any other kid did because that´s what kids did at that time where I lived: no skateboarding, no b-ball, no tennis…
I can not remember having followed the two matches after the shameful one against Austria but I did follow the semi-final against France and the judgement was: life sentence!
I was in a tent camp at a little lake in the south of Germany. Our camp shared the place with a huge tent camp of the Red Cross and those guys had plans for the night and they had a power unit! – I have to tell you that germany was European Champion at that time and reaching the semi-finals at the WC was a blast. So almost everyone of the adults taking care of the kids in the camp wanted to watch the match but there was no way to do so. My mom was organizing the tent camp and had an idea. She asked if we could use the power unit while the red cross guys were walking throught the woods during night time or whatever they did: and we got permission to use it. So all my mom had to do was to find someone in the village nearby who had a TV-set which he could lent us for the match. And someone had one and brought it to watch the game with us.
So there we were: sitting in a huge tent at a lake watching the semi-final. I really don´t know how we got reception . It started pretty good because Littbarski scored for Germany early in the match. But Platini egalized just a few minutes later. Later on Schumacher fouled Patrick Battiston – one of the most if not the most famoust foul in WC-history. Even though no one had the courage to say Schumacher should be sent off I´m convinced everyone was thinking it and so Germany was really glad that he wasn´t. The match was very intense and I was deeply impressed by the presence of the French players Marius Trésor and Jean Tigana on the pitch. – I should watch the match again to get to know why or if I still see it the same way today. What I remember is I wouldn´t even want to go to pee before the extra time because I was like paralized sitting on the ground and staring at the TV.
Extra time. France was quickly in a 2-1 lead when the injured German team captain Karl-Heinz Rummenigge came into the game and later on it was told that the French president Francois Mitterand said – the moment he was realizing that he came in – a phrase which has become famous: „Mon dieu, Rümmenisch!“.
But Mitterand must have been pretty happy because France scored again and was 3-1 in the lead. That was the moment people left the tent where we were watching and they all thought they could now go to sleep as the match is lost. But only 4min. later the French president was proved right: Rummenigge scored! 3-2 and people came run back and everyone was screaming and wildely telling others what had happened because there was no such thing like 10 replays from different cameras. While everyone was slowly calming down themselves because they wanted to follow the match and what was happening in the last minutes Klaus Fischer egalized with an overhead kick! Everyone was going nuts now. Germany won the penalty shoot-out and the camp flipped – and I was addicted to football from that moment on. Today I think it maybe wasn´t the game itself – even though I was impressed by two French players – as I didn´t knew anything about football and tactics as I was only a little boy but it maybe was the atmosphere – early public viewing – and the happiness of the people. So more or less what football can be good for: creating moments and connecting people.
The day the germans faced Italy in the final I was at home again watching with my dad but he left when Italy scored the 3–0. I couldn´t and when Paul Breitner scored the 3–1 I was still thinking it´s not lost. Well, it was but still until today I have never left a single match before the end as I always think if I would I could miss a or the magic moment.
In the different Worldcups I have followed since there were a lot of special moments I could think of people will remember for many years. And from time to time I open Youtube and watch them and while doing it other moments pop in my mind and I have a lot of fun finding them and seeing them again no matter if they are related to a WC or not. But there are more personal moments too you can´t find on Youtube like when Oliver Neuville scored the 1-0 against Poland in the last WC in the overtime and a friend of mind huged and danced with someone – an elderly man with a big moustache who sits almost all day in the club house where we watched the match – he still today says he didn´t and we have a laugh.
Now I´m really looking forward to the last matches of the Euro in Poland/Ukraine and I hope that later on people may well forget the goal the Ukraine team didn´t get but tell about positive aspects of the event and the matches played: Magic Moments that remain in the heads of for longtime. Until now I haven´t really seen one of those moments.
And which is the first moment you can think of in your personal football-history? I´d really like to know if I remember that one myself. So maybe you share it with others here in a comment or you write a blog entry yourself.
Btw: I myself quit playing myself because the game itself became more and more unfair – probably it didn´t but it was a feeling i had. So I switched to another sports where spirit and fairplay is higher rated than actually winning. I even became trainer there and the game is very tactical. Today I only play football from time to time on week-ends with some buddies. But I still follow football on TV like I ever did. I still love the game but today I watch it more from a tactical perspective and my other sports opened my eyes for this part of the game.
Btw II: I adore George Best and his way/style of playing – to me the best player ever. I would really have loved to see him play live once. Here is a great song and video you have to watch till the end:
If you haven´t read the blog of cc here you go: http://www.lomography.com/homes/cc-in-paris/blog/72605-why-we-love-football
and this is the pic of her that started it: