The thunderclouds rolled in from the south this morning, bringing a brief burst of rain and wind that scattered chairs and pedestrians. The temperatures moderated, the breeze shifted, and the sticky debris of a night’s celebrations washed from the cobblestones.
But it was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it?
‘Like the Billy Joel song, yesterday evening saw “the cowboys and their kin, like the sea come rolling in”, although it was a tide of orange-clad fans and families.
By game time, the Vrijthof Square was filled, nervous anticipation mingling with the haze of pot smoke. The anthem was sung, the crowd roared and waved flags and horns, the ball was put in play.
I wandered back to the waterfront to watch with friends at the apartment. The large monitors along the street blared the game and the cheering was continuous outside the windows. Curiously, our television connection lagged theirs by about 3 seconds: it took the edge off every penalty kick to hear the crowd groan or cheer moments ahead of actually seeing the play.
I thought that the Dutch were scrappy and energized, although the foreign commentators were uniformly critical of the Netherlands’ style and aggressiveness. 'I think that, as Americans, we look for different things in a game: a strong offense, a high score, a win. Despite the loss, the Dutch took it all philosophically: there weren’t a lot of sad faces along the streets afterwards and the party flowed on into the wee hours. There was a rumor that Andre Rieu was going to make a surprise appearance to cheer up the crowd at the Vrijthof after the game, but I don’t know if he made it.
And, today, it’s all just memory: the flags are coming down and life is getting back to normal.
…and there hasn’t been a vuvuzela squawk all morning.