As we speak, a Euro game involving Germany is going on. I didn’t need to look anywhere in particular to know this – the streets are full of honking cars, showing support for the national team.
The photo above is great for two reasons. Firstly, one that is off-topic, the two people on the right are members of Sea Shepherd, a group who fight for marine animal rights. The guy on the right there is Paul Watson, their leader who is currently on trial here in Frankfurt and under house arrest for something involving a campaign against shark finning. I was quite excited to have seen them – they’re pretty famous, especially with people in Japan.
But anyway, the topic of this post is not them, but the people to the left of them. And football in Frankfurt. Frankfurt has this wonderful culture of setting up tv screens outside for people to watch big games and so on. Frankfurt (German??) people only need the slightest excuse and they are there in the streets eating and drinking and having a party. I think it’s such a lovely part of the culture here.
In general, the football culture here is pretty good. I always tell the story of when I was travelling back from Birmingham to Liverpool on a train once while I was at uni, and three drunken guys on the way back from a match were hassling me, and no one around would help me. I am very wary of football fans. Frankfurt FC fans are pretty rowdy – they’ll yell and shout and chant on the trains, and once they were even rocking the train as it was going along, and bashing at the windows. But all in all, they are harmless.
I’m quite enjoying the Euros this year though. With such a multinational city, it’s great seeing all the cultures come together, whilst being very patriotic, to watch the games. After I took the above photo, I went to a pub in Bornheim with Mister to watch the Ireland – Croatia game. Some Croatian fans were setting off massive crackers every time their team scored a goal, which was highly annoying. But after Ireland’s embarrassing defeat, some other Croatian fans came over to give Mister and his Irish pal some of their beer from a pitcher. It’s so nice seeing everyone come together over football like that.
One of the things that mum said about Frankfurt when she was visiting is how all the cultures and nationalities mix so well here. I guess there must be some racism, somewhere, because there always is. But seeing everyone react around the Euros in the past week or so has really made me see her point. There are a lot of downsides to the sport, but I think in an international city like this, there is nothing better to bring all the cultures together in harmony. Whether your team wins or loses.