Something more important than a financial crisis is raging in Europe. Euro 2012 is being fought in Poland and the Ukraine. The confrontation is slightly less-violent than the last invasion of these countries, but football causes similar emotions and national rivalries/hatreds. For anyone not knowing that a world exists beyond the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, that is what the rest of the people on this Earth call soccer.
I have no favorites in this horse race. Usually, I like the underdog to win. I hate the arrogance of the favorites (real or imagined), those nation’s press, and partisan fans. That’s why I was happy to see Denmark win against Holland and would have welcomed a Portuguese win against Germany (which was denied).
In order to keep memories of WW2 alive, the English team visited Auschwitz, so they could relish a time when the still thought they were important. That has nothing to do with soccer, so the media coverage was gratuitous. (I have nothing against keeping the memory of the suffering, but in an appropriate context, not one using other peoples’ suffering for your own purposes.)
Politics and racism have been hogging the headlines. People are not happy with the current government of host nation Ukraine, and brain-dead fans like to harass non-white players. All this detracts from the sport, but teams can’t chose their fans and federations must live with their poor choices of host nation.
I am one of the few Americans of my generation to have played soccer, so I understand the game. Like any sport, the one key to success is a low center or gravity. Believe it or not, I enjoy watching women’s football/soccer, because it resembles the game I played. Men’s soccer has become too physical for my taste. That said, I enjoy the Spanish style of play and was happy to see them win the last World Cup. And, I like their uniform colors. I hope that they can win this competition, but the slog will be long and tough. London bookmakers have chosen them to win, after a final against Germany, but people have been know to lose money on sports betting.
I may or my not keep you posted on my thoughts on this competition...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.