Über Alles

First a word from our sponsor…

When I was growing up in the church (yes, you read that right), the call to come to Jesus was pitched somewhat like this: “you could get hit by a bus tomorrow.” That’s right. Be saved by Jesus today or, when you’re hit by that bus, crashing in that plane or in some other unforeseen tragedy, you’ll find you got a one-way ticket to Hell grasped tight in your dead fingers.

While I no longer practice the faith of my parents, The Baptist Bus Strategy continues to resonate with me…with a bit of adaptation. “Live today because…” well, you get my point.

Thank you, Jesus, and amen.

Cameron writes that I should stay off the streets tomorrow. Argentina is sure to beat the Germans, he says, and the resulting sorrow could lead to all kinds of street violence.

LOL. What, is this England? Columbia? Dude, I’m in Berlin!

Still, I pass on Cameron’s “concern” to Martin here. No point in that really as Martin is too happy to give it any attention. He and his officemates will be on a rooftop terrace above Potsdamer Platz on Friday night, no doubt watching the game with glasses of champagne and little French pastries (screw the German wurst).

Yes, I am jealous.

Still, the ride up to tomorrow night’s game has been spectacular. I didn’t come here as a fan of Fußball (or fussyball, as Vicki puts it), but only the most sour have been able to resist its pull. In my neighborhood alone, the streets are packed every night with people sitting at the outdoor cafes watching the games on large screens and cheering on their favorite teams, Deutschland included.

From Niels, Martin, and Jörn, I learn that cheering on the home team marks an important shift in German thought. In the aftermath of World War II, rampant German patriotism in word, deed or symbol has been decried and fastidiously avoided. What we Americans have accepted without question—the Stars n’ Stripes on every store window, SUV bumper, bikini and Tommy Hilfiger shirt—is anathema here.

At least, was.

Just last Saturday afternoon, Michael and I sat in Treptow Park, cross-legged on the hard pavement at a Biergarten that was packed with fans decked out in black, red and gold. Face paint, t-shirts, dyed hair, funny hats and flags. I expect no less for Friday’s game, what Sports Illustrated is calling “the best matchup of the Cup.”

Sports Illustrated. Oh Baptist-bus-driving God, I’ve fallen so low.

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