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Posts Tagged ‘football’

Maybe it’s because it only happens every four years and it’s beyond my toddlers-on-the-brain memory, but I don’t recall the World Cup being such a big deal in Canada last time around.  I guess it could also be attributed to the fact that we don’t have a contending team and in fact have only graced the World Cup stage once in the history of the Cup (Mexico, 1986, left totally shame-faced).

Well that is certainly not the case here, where people are going crazy loco for everything football.  At the grocery store, you can buy hard-boiled eggs in your fave team’s national colors. At the department store, you pass mannequins in head-to-toe Italia and España velour track suit, complete with matching panties. It seems as if every merchant window has at one time, in the last few weeks, included some sort of elaborate World Cup display.

Part of me thinks it’s great, seeing everyone get so excited about something. The other part of me wonders if they take it just a bit too far.  For instance, this ad. I mean, really?!

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So the World Cup is on.

To be honest, I’ve never watched a World Cup tournament before. How typically North American of me (excluding Mexico… they are actually very good at football!). So here I am in Switzerland (yes, they qualified too), surrounded by friends who are from many different countries, and football fever is in full effect.

This reminds me of something I wanted to mention. Basel is a very international city. Its unique location at the crossroads of Switzerland, France and Germany, combined with the presence of two of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies means that 30% of the population are foreigners. My daily interactions include not only Swiss, but Germans, French, Italians, Slovaks, English, Irish, Scottish, Spanish and Americans. Even though we live in Switzerland, our experience is truly an international one.

Now back to the world cup. One of the regular characters in our life is Martin, an English friend of mine who has spent the past nine months indoctrinating me into the cult of football in general, and Manchester United in particular. I was not surprised when he dropped off a pair of kid-sized England jerseys for the twins to wear.

I went to Martin’s place to watch the first match – England vs. USA. Uh oh… this could hurt. Once everyone was assured that I was cheering for England instead of the USA (hey… she’s my Queen too!), the match was underway.

This was heartbreaking…

I gotta admit that, while it was disappointing to see England draw vs US, the match was one of the most entertaining sporting events I’ve seen. Could have been the company – mostly British, with a few Germans and Mexicans thrown in there – but maybe I’m actually learning to love this sport.

———–

And purse-snatchers?

Yeah. Yesterday we made a trip to France to buy a bicycle for Tasha so that we could make some proper family trips. On the way home we stopped by the main train station in Basel. As we are standing there, we hear a woman cry out and see a young guy running off with a purse, cutting sharply into the crowded main station hall. I gave Tasha my bike and took off after him.

In the crowded area I almost lost him, but I began to shout “Thief! Achtung!” and people made way for me. I was closing the gap quickly and he knew it. I was maybe three metres from him when he ditched the purse and took off out of the station hallways, so I figured that was enough.

I returned the purse to this old lady who was babbling at me in Swiss German, and then headed home. Hero cookie for me!

Criminals and scum, beware!

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As the sun (otherwise known as “mysterious yellow ball in the sky”) finally decides to make an appearance here in Basel, we’ve been taking full advantage of the nicer weather in an attempt to tire the boys out (didn’t work).

Of course, since we’re Canadian, the boys were born with hockey sticks in hand (at least that’s what the Swiss seem to think!) and they’re proving to be naturals. Jack has a mean slap shot and Liam is an intuitive goaltender. Tim is actually crying in all these photos.

Our little Sedin's...minus the playoff beards.

Don't worry Liam -- just blame it on the faulty...uh...shopping cart...??

Coach Dad gives the goalie a pep talk.

Woops! In the penalty box for high sticking.

It’s football season here in Europe and the whole place is already getting cuckoo for the World Cup (coming to South Africa in June).  Locally, the FC Basel team just won the Swiss Cup tonight after a 6-0 whooping over neighboring Lausanne.  Now, let’s get one thing straight. Europeans don’t take this stuff lightly. I mean, you don’t even know crazy until you’ve walked by ten squads of riot police equipped with sandbag guns just to get to the arena’s family section. We were able to watch one of the earlier games a few weeks ago and it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. (more…)

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Correction

Let me start off by saying that Anne, my German hostess, corrected my use of “sprechen Sie Deutsch” from the first post. So much for the Apple Translator Widget… piece of crap.

It was a rainy day in Basel. Kinda reminds me of home.

Runners

I went for a run this morning with a group whom I found online. They are mostly English, with a couple of Aussies and an Italiano. Two of these guys are elite-level Triathletes – they looked like simliar build to AK, only taller! One of them had just returned from an Ironman race in Monaco on the weekend, where he was stung in the face by a jellyfish while swimming! Holy crap!

I might sign up for a half-marathon in Luzerne at the end of October. The run this morning felt really strong – 10km along the Rhine. I wore my new running shoes that I picked up in Victoria before leaving. They have some shiny red stripes. Jack says that red is the fastest colour.

Velo

Cyclists here have right-of-way over cars. In fact, autos are the low-man on the totem pole.

It goes: trams > pedestriants > velos > autos

There are almost no pickup trucks and SUVs on the roads, and all of the drivers are very, very courteous towards cyclists. I absolutely love it! On many of the (ridiculously narrow) streets, there is still a dedicated bicycle lane, and velos are often allowed to go the opposite way on a one-way street!

But my poor bicycle is now being transformed back to its original pupose as a commuter. My lights are back on, and so is my rack on the back. I’ll be installing new fenders, and changing the tires to be more cobblestone-friendly. This means that if I want to get into triathlons again in the spring, I may need a new bike… ahem…

Basel

Check it out! Some great photos, and even some promotional videos!
http://www.basel.ch/en/

Got Football?

Martin is a ‘uge footy fan. Buh eez English, see, so itz een eez blud.

So naturally, I’m getting sucked into it too. He’s a Manchester United fan, so that means that I am too.

He’s also going to start “training” me to play Fifa 2008 on the XBox.

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