SMELL OF GUNPOWDER IS EVERYWHERE. My right eardrum rings from the detonation of a nearby explosive. In the distance, through the maze of these five storey East Berlin flats, explosions are ubiquitous. “Funkytown” blares from what sounds like a car stereo. The echo of a lone man clapping to the music.
The PIN number on the Michelle card was successful. I withdrew the maximum daily amount and rented a flat on the second floor of an East Berlin block. The idea was to find seclusion and lay low. Cover the Euro 2012 from a USB internet connection and write thoughtful insightful sports essays about players. About national teams. About their strengths.Their weaknesses. The plan was to fake it. A cut and paste exercise from myriad sports outlets spun meticulously through multiple languages of the Google translation application and shat onto a page that would satisfy my editors.
But this ringing in my ears. This fear. I’m not sure what to make of all this. Something tells me there’s a thirst for war here that can now only be satisfied by sport. Europe’s instinct for war is greater than its proclivity to rationality. That the Enlightenment promised the spoils of war to rhetoricians rather than warriors may not have been a good thing after all. This place needs a pressure valve and footballfutbolsoccer appears to be it.
Tomorrow I suspect I will be able to avoid the gunpowder and explosions for a match featuring two separatist nations with historical penchants for both: Ireland and Croatia.
BBC reporting that Croatia’s Vedran Corluka suffered a “fitness scare”.
The defender complained of tightness in his hamstring during a training session on Thursday, but doctors cleared him to play after they reviewed a scan.
It never ceases to puzzle me how the world’s most popular sport continues to be played by world class pussies. Where a tight hamstring gets you a scan most people in industrialized countries would wait months for, and those in less industrialized countries would save months to get. No one who carries a hockey stick or plays a sport where you’re allowed to touch your balls with your hands would ever admit to getting a scan for a tender hammy and footballfutbolsoccer needs to address this.
The Irish are undefeated in their last 14 matches despite allowing the most shots on target of all the teams that qualified. Talk all you want about luck, the Irish would be the last to latch on to some foreigner’s horseshite folkloric meanderings about their country*. If Ireland wins, it’s not a total loss for Croatia, as their streak of never having won an opener at the European Championships will remain unbroken.
In other news, Denmark beat Netherlands. A Google query of “Euro 2012 + Denmark + Netherlands” will net 136, 000 results from the last 24 hours. There’s not much I can tell you that 135,999 other websites can’t about this game. It was 1-0. A moderate upset.
Also forgot to mention Poland and Greece tied 1-1. Men with long names did stuff. Tomorrow Spain will play Italy. One of those teams will win. Jesus should probably clear his Sunday for this one as it will probably be a long day of fielding prayers from supporters and players of both clubs.
Apropos of my thesis about history being the major force at the Euro: Russian fans waged attacks on Poles and Ukranians after Russia’s victory over the Czechs. Six Russian fans were waving the flag of the Russian Empire and it ended in a dustup with four men dressed in Ukranian colours. It hasn’t been long since Ukraine’s Orange Revolution which saw their leader, Victor Yushchenkov, nearly killed by dioxin poisoning. Many Ukranians attribute the incident to Russian interference in Ukraine’s electoral process and relations remain bitter.
The beer here is 70 cents. Here’s hoping the Barnstormer account stays active but I will withdraw the maximum amount tomorrow and see where that leaves me. At 70 cents a beer, it will likely leave me quite drunk.
Alas, the nightly chorus of ambulances and police cars. I retain no sympathy for sports fans who get injured the night their teams play.