We like sports, and we don’t care who knows.
Disclaimer: if you are Belgian, stop now. I apologize to your people. Watching the Euro Cup in Italy is like watching the Super Bowl in the United States, but with less nachos and more attractive bearded men. Also, most people tune in for the soccer and not for Beyoncé and a touching commercial about large horses. Even for a group stage game between Italy and Belgium in the small town of Syracuse, shit [...]
I came to Europe looking for some life experiences, or whatever. You know, see the world and all that jazz. Urinate on some historical landmarks, cower my way through a red-light district, ride some bicycles, maybe even look at some art. All standard fare. All Enriching and Educational. Inevitably, some time abroad becomes a little more layered, and occasionally even exciting than Picasso and pee. For instance: a not-insignificant amount [...]
We’re not in Brussels anymore. We’re in Paris—and do you know what that means? A lot of really, really drunk German and Irish people, apparently. Forget your crêpes, baguettes, vins fins and all that. It’s UEFA season, baby. France is hosting the huge European soccer tournament this year, so I am not the only, or even most obvious (the hordes of men with the German flag painted on their face [...]
The soccer chant is a peculiar specimen. In the world of club football, supporters’ chants are often tongue-in-cheek and defiant (see Millwall F.C.’s exquisite “No one likes us, we don’t care”), as well as endless in variety and number. National team chants, however, tend to get to the point—repeatedly. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A. A few days after Hungary’s national team beat Austria in their opening match of Euro 2016 (for the uninitiated, a tournament [...]
If your mom never yelled at you while you were younger and said something along the lines of, "if all your friends told you to jump off of a cliff would you do it?!" then you were probably a total square and should go back to class, you teacher's pet. In Nice, if your friends tell you to jump off of a cliff, you should totally do it. The geography of the [...]
Reflections on impromptu soccer in Madrid. Finally, I found Spanish children playing pickup fútbol on the streets of Madrid. There were six of them, boys around ten years old, kicking a ratty gray ball across the plaza in front of the Reina Sofía, Madrid’s contemporary art museum. They used the cement walls adjacent to the museum as goals and marked no boundaries for their game, running wildly around the square between [...]
Losing to the Netherlands sucks. I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, hours after Spain’s national fútbol team suffered a crushing loss to former World Cup losers, the Netherlands. Someone commented on a post about the game, writing “Juan Carlos is really going to want to abdicate now.” So, he already did. But he hasn’t left his position just yet, which is what I think the commenter was getting at. Regardless, the [...]