Monday, July 12, 2010

So, now life gets back to normal

DSC01011 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  DSC01005There 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.

2 comments:

Nicole said...

I live five minutes from the big screen in Eindhoven -- I'm still trying to find out how many people were there -- and I read that there was crying after the game. Maybe they were just sad that Brabant's favourite son Guus Meeuwis wasn't going to make a surprise appearance :) People were very quiet leaving afterwards compared to after the semi.

And three hours' train travelling today revealed only three people brave enough to be wearing orange, although I think one was still on his way home.

I do like football, but I'm glad it's over. It was all far too hyped and one-sided for my liking.

Dave Hampton said...

Hi, Nicole, and thanks!

I see it a bit like Queen's Day: you can't avoid it, so it's best to join the party (at least, it is the first time around...). and the party was fun. Andre Rieu was going to appear if the team won, so he didn't show up when they lost. A pity: 'Seems like it should have been the other way around!

'Agreed that the hype exceeded the quality of the game this time, but there was no crying among the stalwarts in Maastricht.