I may be the last expat blogger in the Netherlands to write about the World Cup 2010 (Wereld Kup or WK in Dutch) tournament going on right now. I’d blame it on being an American and therefore genetically predisposed to find football boring, but really I’m just not that into sports. I worked for a sporting goods store for 2 years and the day I stopped reading the American football scores was also the day I quite. Ah glorious freedom.
My favorite team sport to watch on TV is actually hurling, a dangerous rugby-like game played with field hockey sticks and optional helmets. But since the rest of the world is too wimpy to play, I have to say I enjoy a good game of football when the stakes are high. The WK has pretty high stakes.
Most years the WK has passed me by without a whisper, but since we’re in Europe this year it would have been folly to try and avoid it. Since the US is notoriously bad at the game (remember that genetic anti-football defect?), I’ve thrown my lot in with the Netherlands team and Gone Orange. Sorry USA. Please don’t revoke my passport.
In support of our new team, Dan and I went down to the pub last Saturday to catch the game between the Netherlands and Japan. It was a Saturday and as you can imagine the streets were filled with people. The Vrijthof was jammed pack; many people watching the game from the outdoors seating on a TV set in the window. Other pubs were standing room only. Fortunately Markt square was relatively quieter and we found a table inside one of the cafes. The crowd inside was excited, but not rowdy, something I, for one, appreciated. There was a lot of orange clothing and paraphernalia of course. I even wore my free beesie from Albert Heijns perched in my hair were he had the best seat in house.
One of the things I do like about football/soccer in the States is how noncommercial it can be. It’s nice to watch a live game without stopping for sponsors every 10 minutes or so. Outside the US, football is much more commercial, and the WK seems to take on an almost Olympics level. The TV is filled with WK themed adverts; many lampooning the German team and a few that are actually pretty funny even if you don’t understand Dutch. My favorite is the return of the paint whisperer (which to be fair is in English):
All in all it is an exciting time to be in the Netherlands, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the WK games play out. And I’ll keep hoping for an NL vs. USA matchup. Just because it would be fun.