How Interesting Things Get When Nostalgia Takes Over

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Isn’t it interesting the things that bring back vivid, emotional memories?  This has been me with the re-introduction of soccer/futbol through the world cup.  Such a simple thing, soccer.  Maybe I should extend that to all sports.  You see ‘m not a big sports fanatic.  I may be a part of many of fandom but sports is always at the bottom of the list.  For the most part you could find my eyeballs rolled through to the back of my head when I’m bombarded with sports in general.  I live in the southeast USA and you could say football is in their blood.  I’ve seen more heated arguments over which team was equal to divinity than I’d care to have seen.  The years I lived in Alabama where football is so important, it was the next question asked a person after what church they attended and usually THAT question is asked a sentence or two after hello and a handshake.  So why did I get s caught up in the World Cup craziness?  One word; Nostalgia. 

 You see, I grew up with both parents in the military.  Moving around was a fact of life and in 1989 that move took me to Germany (West Germany at the time).  I was a young seventh grader embarking on my junior high journey, just in another country.  No, I did not go to German school.  We had bases/posts for that.  When people say junior high was their life changing time in life I can seriously say that you can multiply that by ten for me.  Lots of things happened between 89-92 for me and quite a few on a worldly level.  For me it was making new friends, the crushes I endured, and finding myself.  Somehow all that seemed just as important as what was going on all around me.Do you remember thing thing called The Berlin Wall?  I do.  It’s kind of hard not to.  I even have a piece of it siting in my dad’s curio cabinet.  It was happening a few hours from my doorstep.  I remember pre-teen conversations of music, boys, and The Wall.  It was every day for us.  There wasn’t a day when it wasn’t injected into the conversation.

 So what does any of this have to do with soccer?  Nothing yet everything.  I’m going a very long route to get to the meaning of this post and I guess I’m sorry for that.  I just figured I would share with you a view of my world for just a moment.  Let’s go to 1990 shall we?  With The Wall down and East and West Germany meshing together, times were tough for them.  It was a very difficult and stressful time for both the ones coming from the east side and those receiving them on the west.  There was also a war brewing in the middle east, starting out as Desert Shield for us, that directly effected my father and the parents of most of my friends.  McHammer was on the radio and Spike Lee ruled the box office.  I lived on the German “economy”, which meant that we rented a house that was not on a military base.  I was immersed in all things German from the pools, the parks, the village style atmosphere, the neighbors, and the candy shops.  Oh do I miss the candy shops.  I rose the bus to the Army post that I went to school at, but not before it was checked for bombs.  I arrived at a heavily guarded school and then the rest of my day just seemed to be “normal”.  My television?  AFN (Armed Forces Network).  One channel.  Okay so there were more channels but I had to understand German to be able to understand them.  Nothing was funnier than the Golden Girls dubbed in German, especially with a man doing the voice over for Dorothy.  This was where I got intrigued by soccer.  I couldn’t understand why my little village of Weiterstadt went completely crazy over a sport so I watched the television and I observed the people. It was so easy to get caught up in the momentum that was team West Germany as they moved up the ladder to the finals.  I didn’t understand the rules all too well but I enjoyed it and I got swept away.  For 90 plus minutes at a time none of the chaos that was going on in the world mattered.  All that mattered was a little round ball going back and forth on the field uniting so many people.  Do you know the best thing?  The Germans knew how to celebrate a win.  We’re talking parties and fireworks that made it seem like Independence Day (American style) every win.  The night Germany won the World Cup (against Argentina, of all things) it was a sleepless night with people celebrating throughout, damn the noise laws.  It was a complete rush and a part of history for me.

 When I moved back to the states soccer went away.  My family didn’t like it and if it wasn’t American football it didn’t seem to count (In the South that is).  So 24 years later I get a wild hair.  I want to watch the World Cup and I chose my teams.  I was going for England because it was my home country, but they didn’t get very far so I was worried maybe I was cursed.  Of course there was the USA team because I am patriotic and got blown away by the likes of how far they’ve come in the sport.  Then came Germany.  I was bombarded with feels.  The memories and the nostalgia made me feel young and full of life and passion it was like I was a whole other person.  So of course you could see my excitement over all things FIFA on my twitter feed and a few on Instagram.  It was more than just a game for me, it was a glimpse into my past and I’m very proud of that.  

 Now that soccer is over I’m back to…um…close to normal I think. We’ll see.  I’m still running from the high of watching Germany beat Argentina again.

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