Tuesday, June 13, 2006

World Cup 2006: Hannover, Germany

A time to make friends. Say NO to racism!

That removable slogan, on centerfield at the beginning of every World Cup game, is so meaningful. And believe it or not, that's one of my best impressions of the Italy-Ghana soccer game we were so lucky to attend this past Monday, June 12, 2006. Friends were everywhere opposing each other's teams. And being respectful of each other!

The tickets to get into the game had a silver chip in the top righthand corner that carried all our personal info. Almost scary, if you think about it, except that we got to keep the tickets, which was cool. And after all was said and done, we did NOT need our passports to get in. Nor was there any hassle other than the body-searching every which way but loose.

Ghana, in white, started the game. I was quite amazed at myself because I think I probably saw 95% of all the plays! Usually I prefer watching sports on TV because I get so distracted by everything else in stadiums. But not this time. Our vantage point (in the yellow section--see ticket above) was so perfect at all times. I found myself glued to the ball. And my 12x optical zoom came in handy once again!

Here's my opinion: Ghana appeared to outplay Italy all over the field except at the goal, where it counts (alas!)! I found myself saying, "Come on, Ghana! Come on!" And did you hear the crowd yelling "Ghana! Ghana! Ghana!" more often than for Italy?! Don't know how this showed up on TV, but that's our perspective.

But Italy did in fact win, as you all know by now. I had thought I wanted them to win...then found myself really rooting for Ghana. Hard to explain it. It was just a feeling in the air. Maybe they WILL win one of their next games...maybe against the USA? (Not to be a traitor or anything!)

One of my favorite sights of the entire evening was this little girl having a total blast with her parents, kicking the ball back-n-forth at the FanFest area prior to the game. Like I always say about Nicholas, you have to begin somewhere...and sometime!

Here's a cute story: A little girl like this sat behind us during the game and kept yelling "I-Ghana, I-Ghana!" (pronounced Ee-Ghana). Her father lovingly told her over and over again that it was "I-ta-ly, I-ta-ly!" but the next time she'd say "I-Ghana" again. And we all smiled.

But maybe that was the point! Maybe that's what this is all about. The world coming together and making friends in such a way that we all end up entwined. And no racism!

Here's a little photo album (45 pics) of our most memorable night! Enjoy, if you want more.

And speaking of the world, I'm off now for a morning rendezvous in Hannover's Old Town with Christina. Tomorrow I start my trip home, via Duesseldorf, rendezvousing with James. I'm so lucky!!


  1. AWESOME! The photos are fantastic, and I had such a sense of being there with you. Gorgeous. I loved all the shots and hearing about the various aspects of the experience. LOVED the hats close up.

  2. Lovely photos. I'll check out that set of 45 just next. And the rendez vous, ok totally jealous!!!!

    I know in time.. :)

    Have fun and can't wait until we get more pics from the meet ups.

  3. Oh Ginnie, I love the colors in the photos. My favs for sure are the hats, the soccer ball and also the European t-shirts from Italy.

    For me that's everything you don't see here or well at least I haven't seen that...

    Way cool. :)

  4. Ruth: Thanks a million. It really was a GREAT experience!

    ET: So glad you enjoyed the photos. That's why I did the album because you can see things you otherwise wouldn't :)

  5. Your pictures are so vibrant! This will really be somethingn to remember for a long time.

  6. I'm so glad you had a great time at the game. What a wonderful experience it must have been.

    I would have been cheering for Ghana too. One of their players used to play for Bayern-München and I always liked him.

    Hug Christina for me! Y'all have a fun time tomorrow!

  7. I'm really not a sport fan. Last time I heard about soccer was all the fighting there was about it, so I'm really glad to hear that the Mondial is a peaceful game now!

    And you really have some great pics here!

    And I wish you, Christina and James a wonderful time!

  8. I love the way everone decks themselves out for the matches...love the hats :) That little girl is so cute.

    They haven't been reporting negative incidents over here, so it all looks wonderful on the TV...and yes, that is what it should be all about - coming together and making friends. Some people do tend to take it all too seriously though, mores the pity.

  9. I'll have to take a peek in your other 45 pics, but I love the one of the little girl and the "I-Ghana" story. It really made me grin.

    Hope you had a fun time with Christina and James! :-)

  10. Sounds like that little girl was trying to teach her parents a lesson- why take sides when you can praise both for their encredible aspirations and accomplishments? No winners or losers here! But they wouldn't listen to the wise old soul they call their child.

  11. Christina: Yes, indeed! And thanks.

    Dixie: I probably mixed you up somewhere but I had already met with Christina by the time you left your comment. But I gave her at least 2 hugs, so I'll count one of them as from you. So will she, I'm sure :)

    Clo: Thanks for your best wishes!

    DW: So glad you're not getting anything negative. I haven't been getting it either, so hopefully if there is any, it's minimal. Those hats really are crazy, aren't they!

    CS: Yes and yes!!

    Rachel: Out of the mouths of babes! Yes.

  12. Katy wants to get one of those soccer blanket/scarves while in Guatemala--

    We'll take a pic when she comes home!

  13. Oh yes, Shari--they're everywhere. And they wear them when it's HOT. Don't know how they do it! I'll love seeing Katy's when she gets back.