This week has been rather exhausting both bodily and mentally. I’ve had some new tough cases assigned (including one where I don’t even have an inkling about where to start researching- anybody know anything about getting to know stuff about Taiwanese air freight laws?), I was dragged to sporty activities I had no idea of what I was getting into, and I was dragged to watch sports I had no idea about.
Soccer. Oh, sorry, football. The King (capitals intended). Fussball. The one thing that makes everybody stop doing whatever they are doing here to celebrate the fact that the Bayern don’t necessarily stay in first place (whatever that means, I haven’t yet gathered enough interest to follow league standings in this sport). I have made no secret of the fact that I believe watching 22 people standing on a large green meadow (occasionally sprinting a few yards and falling over for fear of having seen a bug on a blade of grass) for 90 minutes is not the most rewarding activity on Planet Earth.
My friends here took it upon themselves to convince me otherwise. Thus I was dragged from my cozy home on a (very) chilly Saturday afternoon to watch The King in action, live and in color. Thankfully I didn’t have to pay, because otherwise… well, that’s telling too soon.
Anyway, off we went, me bundled up in:
Thermal underwear, one long-armed shirt, a cashmere short-armed high-collar shirt, a cashmere sweater, a wool longcoat, a leather coat, thermal running leggings, jeans, gloves-
… to spending some three hours of my life watching sports. Instead of sitting warm and comfy on my sofa, or jumping around warm and comfy in the dojang, I was going to watch something I could barely muster a passing interest for. Thankfully the game started on time!
The sun was shining on the eight inches of fresh snow that had fallen the night before and during the day. The wind was blowing a chilly couple miles an hour. And 22 men were getting ready to stand around in shorts and shirts far, far below me on a slippery meadow hastily cleared of snow.
Now, I’m a quick study and I read all about the soccer rules on Wikipedia. I know what an abseits is and when someone has committed a foul. I also know about something called a schwalbe (swallow, the bird), which is basically faking a foul while making believe you’re dying on that beautiful green meadow down there.
The game was between a team that was pretty high up in the ranking system and one that was at the very bottom. The bottom team was better, or at least they had more shots towards the good team’s goal, but they never got one in. The others were more lucky and gained one point. Basically, these men were standing around there for the first 45 minutes, fumbled a goal, stood around some more (half of them looking a little more desperate), then there was a flurry of activity on the meadow as some underpaid workers unrolled a couple of ad banners (which were rolled up again ten minutes later), then the 22 came back and did some more standing even though they started running around a little more than before- I bet they were just freezing as much as I was!
The fans were woefully silent except a few rooting for the underdogs who were partying in their section all the time- they had me going for their team over the silent other half, too. Those fans of the “good” team that were rooting for them didn’t do so by cheering them on- they did it by shouting at the other team’s fans to shut up and other not-so-nice things. Seriously, that’s not being a fan!
Speaking of the fans… we took public transport to get to the stadium since nobody drives a car here unless you’re desperately wanting to get a ticket. These were the most obnoxious, foul-mouthed, misbehaving creatures I have ever encountered- and that’s including college students on Spring Break. They were getting drunk on the train, hammering against the sides of the car, shouting their stupid “songs” at everybody who didn’t want to hear them, were touchy-feely without being invited and generally made such a nuisance out of themselves that I would have gladly waived my no-sparring rule if I could have gotten them into my dojang. I hated every minute of the half-hour journey.
I don’t know what it is about that sport (maybe ’cause you don’t need to know any numbers to know soccer), but the fans are really… errr… lowlife. Stupid louts, my grandma would call them, and I’d be inclined to agree. Sure there are some, like the guys who took me along, who are OK (as long as they’re not in full-fan mode), but most of them seem to have never heard of the concept of personal hygiene and moderating your beer intake and interpersonal communication skills. UGH!
Sooo… to sum it up: Three miserable, freezing hours on uncomfortable cold chairs with nothing happening to make up for it and in the company of plastic beer-glass-throwing thugs. Yes, they sell beer in stadiums. They even have people carrying plastic kegs on their backs running around during the game so everybody stays well drunk. And if beer’s not your cuppa, there’s always gluehwein to be had, too. At bargain prices!
Soccer is not my sport. And probably won’t ever be.
Now back to Taiwanese air freight laws.