As many of you know, Carpetblog is an American-run operation. A female American-run operation. That means that our interest in almost all kinds of sport is surpassed only by our interest in, say, derivatives. Our interest in football is even more intense.
We've heard the arguments in favor of football and none are very compelling. Some have compared football to religion, which, while accurate, does nothing to enhance our appreciation for it. Lots of things are wildly popular while at the same time being screamingly boring.
Under intense pressure, and having not one better option on a Wednesday night, we succumbed and went to a bar, and not just to do what we normally do at bars. We went with the specific intent of watching Turkey play Germany in the 2008 Euro cup. If you want to understand how Turkey got there and what the achievement represents, there are plenty of other blogs that can explain it for you.
Because Americans view soccer/football as a game played by no one older than age 11, this is something of a watershed. Not that we've never watched a soccer game before -- alert readers will remember our monumental photographic achievements following in some aspect of the 2006 World Cup which involved Ukraine. We watched at least seven minutes of that game and joined the crowd celebrating on Maidan afterwards. We kept our shirt on, however.
It's true that there weren't as many boobies on display afterwards this time, and not just because the Turks lost. Unlike Ukies, Turkish women rarely take their clothes off in public.
We're not sure we can accurately characterize nature of the Turkey/Germany rivalry for Americans. It's sort of as if America played Mexico in some sport that we can't think of, with all the racism and divided loyalties it would inspire. As happens in a lot of countries, football exacerbates a particularly virulent strain of testosterone-driven nationalism here that needs little encouragement, even on ordinary days. People --particularly those with penises -- were pretty much out of their heads. Walking down Istiklal was like entering Magandalarstan!
The bar scene was grim. There were a lot of people actually watching the game, which we did not anticipate. No one wanted to chat. And they all devoted a lot of energy getting very excited about things that almost happened during the game, which is apparently very common when people watch football matches.
Don't misinterpret. We totally were rooting for the Turks. Anytime Turks want to wreak havoc in Vienna, Carpetblog is behind them. But really, our primary motivation for watching was seeing Turkey win, and hoping Russia would win, so they would play each other and we could root against Russia.