I stood screaming at a television as if it were a matter of life or death. Germany was going to win damn it. It was going to happen. It had to because I had decided it was going to. It didn’t matter that I didn’t know a lick of German or the team line up. I was there swept up in the moment touching the edge of a passion I wasn’t fully equipped to handle.
We all had German flags painted on our faces. German friends chanting cheers for Deutschland while some gulped down beer in an eerie focused calm. Most of us yelling and laughing; reveling in the athleticism of the world’s best as they duked it out. The cheering grew louder as strangers joined us. All were welcome. The merriment and tension grew. Every minute that past causing more excitement and stress.
That’s when the booing began. The four Germans in our group paused listening to people scream for the downfall of Argentina. They were taken aback. This was not the German way. To them it was wonderful to cheer for Germany. There was no reason to cheer against another team.
This is not how Americans work. We love so hard we must hate just as passionately. To love Germany was to hate Argentina. For Americans rooting for one team is as logical as booing it’s opposition. If we are for something it means by nature we are against something else. This is more than sports it’s our way of life. From politics to personal ideologies; Americans commit. All or nothing.
Yet, when with Germans, do as the Germans do. The game continued.
The Argentinians played well.
The Germans played better.
If the cheering during the game was loud, nothing could compare to the racket that came after Germany won the world cup. Everyone was jumping and dancing and cheering. We were one large blob of joy. There was no better feeling then this. There was no better expression of happiness.
One of my new German friends swept me up in a bear hug squeezing all the air out of me.
I laughed, speechless.
–Washington has given me the happiest memory.
He wiped away tears from his face, smudging a flag on his cheek.
–I have waited twelve years for this. This is the best gift Washington could have given me. I want for nothing else since this place has given me such joy.
He hugged me again.
I kept laughing, his happiness was beyond anything I have experienced.
–It’s not Washington that won the World Cup. It’s Germany. It doesn’t matter where you are. It was going to happen.
–No. This. This is something I will never forget. I will never forget you or anyone. This is a happy moment. This is my happy memory of Washington. I am so happy in Washington.