Cup and community, the morning after

My first start-to-finish World Cup now just 10 hours and a fitful sleep past, and I am already melancholy, conscious of its absence. But its final moment’s mystery remains: Why did Zidane, one of the world’s best players, in what was probably the final international match of his life, at a critical moment, give way to bewildering rage and blatantly headbutt an Italian player.

The moment dominates all discussions of the game. What did the Italian say? A crack about ZZ’s mother? Sebas suggests: “At least Camus was a good writer, a better goalie and didn’t sell out to the French like you,” or compliments to the Algerian Pied-Noirs.

This Cup was memorable not just for the sport, but for the community: watching with Kenji and Till, discussing it endlessly with Anders and Anna, Grigo and Keena and Sebas online. I thought I knew something about the game, but was wrong; they knew the players and the rhythms, the history and the personalities and endlessly enriched these last few weeks for me. I will miss that.

Moments and images: Waiting in a Berlin tent for the very first game to start, realizing that the efficient Germans had neglected to find a projector that worked, and migrating en masse. Kicking a ball with Grigo and Anders all the way home from Mitte in the middle of the night, Anders passing it off the side of a moving tram. Watching Ronaldinho in Dortmund pass more gracefully than any human ought. German keeper Lehmann’s last penalty save: He stands up, cool and disbelieving, and walks away with a beautifuly mild gesture of shock and triumph. Zidane’s headbutt.

And of course being here throughout. Fireworks and flags, beer gardens full of people and screens everywhere, an obsession that has taken over and transformed the country. The black-red-and-gold is still hanging on some of the balconies here, but it’s already coming down on others. Seeing what happens next will be almost as interesting.

Some of my random Flickrpics here.


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