Thursday, June 22, 2006

Old news

6/18 on train to Nuremburg:

Last nights game is the reason for our mixed emotions. We are still in the hunt, though some cards have to fall in our favor. Regardless, we must win big against Ghana. We took the SBhan from Heidelburg to K-town early for a 9 pm game and it turned out to be a good thing we did. The train filled fast and continued to do so the rest of the day. Pulling into the station we could see that the stadium was right across the tracks, very nice! What we found next I imagine being similar to Mardi Gras. I have never been fortunate enough to attend the festival, though what we saw in the streets this day was surely like it, but with a distinct "international" flavor. I don't know exactly how large the downtown area of K-town is but the whole damn place was shutdown to accommodate foot traffic, and it was full! A sea of painted faces, flags, horns, and a booze fueled air of carelessness. Actually we did have a couple of cares; which beer line was shortest, who's winning the Czech/Ghana game, where's the WC, and did anyone else just see that chick!?!?! Dear lord!
We stood outside the Brauhaus Am Markdt, the rally point for US fans, and took in the scene. A river of people flowed by, never ending. The Stars and Stripes, Azzuri, the occasional Germans, and all the rest like a rainbow of colors to make the picture complete. We drank & we joked; made new friends, and found old ones. The WC crew seems to stay pretty consistent. The game was still a couple of hours away but the experience was timeless. We had set up a stronghold on a patch of ground opposite the Brauhaus; 2 beer tents within steps, the WC's around the corner, and shade - lovely, energy saving shade! Another group of US fans stood opposite on the patio of the bar; the throngs of people passing between us and them. Someone would begin a chant and the volume would raise. Drums beating out the rhythm of our songs. Occasionally 4 or 5 Azzuri fans, full of patented Italian bravado, would approach our front line and attempt to "show us what they've got", only to be engulfed by the sounds of "Oh Azzuri" to the tune of "Oh My Darlin Clementine"; "Oh Azurri, Oh Azurri, you can't buy a referee. Not in Deutchland, not in Deutchland, you can't buy a referee." Perhaps we were wrong?
So there we stood, on our patch of German sidewalk. Behind us there was a large partition creating an area between it and 2 walls that could not be seen by the passers-by. A short, bald Italian guy comes darting past us and behind the partition. His crew seeing the necessity to continue, walked on. Moments later the German Police come strolling through, and the opportunity was more than one in our group could stand to pass up. "Theres an Italian pissing back there!" he points. "Public urination! German building being pissed an Italian.... right back there!" he points again. The Police smile, wave and continue walking. Just moments again. Our new Italian buddy comes darting back out from behind the partition, "Scuzi, scuzi...Ha ha ha, you guys, very funny, scuzi, scuzi!" We howled with laughter as he disappeared back into the river.

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