Above the Meadows, In Dreams

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Football in Germany

For the last five weeks, the world has watched football.

Crises in Ukraine and Israel and Palastine. Deaths all over the world. Protests all over the world. Political scandals. Political decisions. So much has happened over the last few weeks, but the world has also watched football.

I had to work a lot. I spent very little time sleeping or relaxing. I had to correct exams and essays. I had to plan lessons. I had to watch my students and I had to be a responsible adult. But I watched football as well.

Bread and games, that’s what the people need.

For the last five weeks, the world has watched football and it has been a glorious festival of sport and culture and team work. Football always carries the potential to transport emotion. It can be tragedy and victory. It can be loss and pain, and it can be revenge and redemption. It shows character and assertiveness and discipline. It promises team work and talent and love.

And this last world cup did not disappoint.

I could distract myself with the plight of MY TEAM.

I watched Philip Lahm lead. I watched Mats Hummels grow. I watched Thomas Müller amaze the world. I watched Manuel Neuer reassure. And above all, I watched Bastian Schweinsteiger fight for his dream.

He was the first footballer (after my baby crush on Oliver Bierhoff) to catch my eye. Back then, he was a boy. Now, he’s a man and a super star and the confident leading man I always envision in my stories. And it was a pleasure to watch him fight and struggle and fall and get back up again. He epitomized football. His journey during the tournament is everything this game is about.

It was a pleasure to see him happy.

Because even amongst the tragedies of the world, football brought some happiness and some relief and some distraction.

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"… yes, and wasn’t it motherhood that ruined them all, that elevated them to the status of the all-knowing and all-powerful, and reduced everybody else, even grandfathers, dictators and mercenary killers, to the level of feckless children?"

- T.C. Boyle, Talk Talk

"This above all – to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."

- William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet

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"Nations are possessed with an insane ambition to perpetuate the memory of themselves by the amount of hammered stone they leave. What if equal pains were taken to smooth and polish their manners?"

- Henry David Thoreau, Walden