Handball World Cup 2007

The other World Cup in Germany has started - handball. Since the tickets sold out to fans the first day they went on sale last year, the handball officials have not thought they needed to do any publicity. This leads to the strange situation of very few people actually knowing what is going on at the moment. A survey in Berlin showed only 10% of those asked knowing that there was a World Cup on.

No chance of that during the soccer World Cup - there were flags all over the place, people wearing black-red-gold all over the place, everyone talking about what was happening and gathering in public viewing areas to watch and discuss the games.

But handball? Called the public transit to ask if the World Cup tickets included public transit tickets, since most concerts and games do. The guy on the phone was confused: what World Cup? Never heard of it. No, the tickets are probably not good for public transit.

I left in good time to get to the stadion, they were saying that there would be no one let in late because of the spectacular pre-game show. I donned my red and gold scarves from the summer (already had a black shirt on), got my THW Kiel fan scarf out and took off in the pouring rain and wind.

I was the only one on the train decked out like that, and was glad I couldn't find the black-red-gold makeup stick. I felt silly. I pulled my coat over my scarves and my hat down in my face and read.

I got off at Bernauerstr. to take a tram up to the stadium. As I trudged through the gusts of rain I saw a police car escorting some cars - and recognizing the logo of the World Cup and some German team players inside I opened my coat, pulled out my scarves and gave a thumbs up sign. I got a wave in return. The punters lined the streets to greet the German soccer team last summer. The handball team gets greeted by one oldish lady bundled up against the cold and rain.

You weren't supposed to take in cameras, but I wanted a picture or two, so I planned a diversion: took a bottle of water for them to confiscate. We ended up having to be frisked out in the rain, and although I got to keep my water bottle, I had to hand in my pocket knife. Got a little number on my ticket, same number on my knife. Rats, I wanted to pare my apple with that. But I got the camera in. Here's a shot of the thing the winner gets. Kind of strange.

Inside you immediately realized we were in the former East Berlin - nice young ladies passing out flags (Winkelemente in Eastern German) so the crowd would look nice for the cameras. The flags were free, so I took one before climing up to my seat - a great seat, row one up on the top level.

Christian Zeitz was having a great evening, as were Pascal Hens and Florian Kehrmann and Markus Baur. But the team was kind of nervous, throwing stuff away and making some stupid moves. I mean, this was Brazil, they were supposed to win by at least 10 points! Anyway, they made it by 5. So a shaky win starts it off.

On the way home I wasn't the only one decked out in black-red-gold, even after spending over an hour at a restaurant near by waiting for food. We sort of snuck glances at each other and nodded to each other - but no chanting or such. I guess that will be left for places where the city actually knows what handball is: Kiel, Hamburg, Magdeburg, ....

Oh, and I got my knife back.


RW said...

They know what handball is - in Hamburg??

Giuliano said...

At least you have handball in TV. Here (in Brazil) we just had the match against Argentina live on cable TV (ught, I wish I had not watched that), the others (Germany and Poland) just on VT. Disgusting.