I never thought this would happen. I resisted it, I ignored it, but after years of wondering what all the fuss is about, I've finally gotten hooked on soccer. It's not my fault, really. When you live in Europe (or anywhere else outside of the 50 United States) you are bombarded by soccer, excuse me, football, on a daily basis. What's more, Europe is currently going crazy for the 2008 Euro Cup championship. This once-every-four-years event is followed with such intensity and thoroughness that it is impossible not to get caught up in it. It's kind of like how everyone in DC can talk politics because the city eats and breathes politics. Europe is currently eating and breathing football.
Unfortunately, this year's French team was less than stellar. They went out in the first round (groups of countries all play each other, France played The Netherlands, Italy and Romania) scoring a misérable one goal in three games. It would have been fun to root for my adoptive home team, but alas, I'm left rooting for whichever team strikes my fancy at the time. Last night was the big semi-final match between Germany and Turkey, and I was definitely rooting for the Germans. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe it's because there were some really nice German students in my French class at Sciences Po, maybe it's because Germany is a country I would really like to visit, or maybe it's because I think it's funny that Angela Merkel attends the German matches and they always show her sitting in the stands wearing a different color of the same pantsuit. Whatever the reason, my cheers were not in vain. In an exciting back and forth match the Germans took it, 3 to 2.
Next up is the semi-final between Spain and Russia. Then it's on to the big final to decide who is 2008's European champion. I'm definitely looking forward to joining the entire continent in watching that important match. But despite my newfound love for the world's sport, I haven't forgotten about that great American pastime. This Sunday, as I sit down to enjoy the final, a little part of me will be wishing I was in a baseball stadium enjoying a hot dog and a beer. Go Twins!