Filipinos are fond of spectator sports. People go crazy over basketball back home. If you are not from any of the UAAP or NCAA school, you still get drawn to all the action in and outside the court. Araneta Coliseum is always rocking whenever there is a collegiate game. The drum lines and cheer leaders give it their all. And even after that, there’s the PBA where chanting of “Ginebra!” is a common occurrence.
I’m an Ateneo hardcore fan and I supported several of the school teams while I was still studying and working in Ateneo. I would even watch for live streaming of several games if they were available. So coming to Germany, I realized that I would miss these times of passionately cheering for a team. Nevertheless, I started hearing stories how football is big in Europe and if you want to get into supporting a team, then football is the biggest spectator event for you.
Of course, football was never something I watched in the Philippines, mostly because you only see it in Ateneo or UP Diliman (I don’t even know if there are other football fields around metro manila that are being used for tournaments). I was, what most people would say, a football ignoramus. I tried playing it during high school but never got into the football fever. It also didn’t help that international matches were never shown on TV while I was growing up or if it did, only in one of the cable channels.
So yeah, a few weeks ago, I watched my first ever football game in a public place. It was Chelsea vs. FC Bayern in the finals of Champions league. For the most part I was kind of bored to the point that I harmlessly thought I’d cheer for Chelsea because everyone else was cheering for Bayern (An hour and a half later, I realized I did cheer for the right team, hehe). It was such a sad day for the Germans.
Zoom in to the present, I just watched the 3rd game of Germany in the Euro cup 2012. And needless to say, I’m getting the hang of it. I’m still bored that I think I swore off public viewing for the mean time, but staying at home with friends is something even fun. (Yes, yes, allow me to cheer for my team, SCHLAAANNNDDD!!!)
But I started writing this entry because I found some peculiar things about the German audience while watching the football. Maybe it is merely because the game isn’t as fast as basketball or volleyball, but perhaps there is also some cultural side to it.
1. Germans, in the general sense of the germans I know, are very objective spectators.
I saw it with the Chelsea-Bayern game where I would hear Germans say that Bayern played ok, but they would attack the ball in the same manner that Chelsea already knows. I couldn’t pick those subtle things then, but I realized, that they look at games the way they looked at work. If you did well, you win. If you sucked or the other team did well, you lose.
It is quite refreshing as an audience to hear it because it’s a stark contrast to Filipino fans screaming “Luto! Luto!” every time there is a bad call. Of course, I think there are also Germans who do a similar thing, but in general, I didn’t hear much except maybe complain about a certain referee that really sucks (not just when Germany is playing but also when other teams are playing).
2. Germans are not such a crazy bunch when watching sports
With the passion of Filipino cheering, comes the opposite to German cheering. One time I was in a public viewing park and Germany scored a goal. I was really ecstatic, happy and jumping up and down while screaming my lungs out – quite normal back home. But then I look around and I realized that I could count the number of people doing the same thing. The rest where just doing the regular “YEAH!”, clapping and then after 5 minutes, silence – as if nothing happened.
I asked my German friends why they aren’t very crazy and they said that it’s a very good thing to show German patriotism. Mostly this mentality runs against the remnants of the Nazi mentality. where “Deutschland über alles”. Germans showing “Germany Pride” was such a taboo that any show of this would be deemed politically-incorrect. They always strive to be politically-correct.
As such, Germany as a nation do not celebrate hysterically and identify themselves as one above the rest, the best of the best, even if it is in fact true. This is very much different from people shouting “Pinoy Pride” every time someone from the Philippines makes a big headline in the international stage, as if the glory of one is the glory of the whole nation.
Of course, there may be some pros and cons to this mentality and behavior, but I’ll let you discuss it further as this calls for a juicy debate!
But for now, let me just for one more time, chant and cheer for …
like a crazy Pinoy would.