This past weekend, me and a couple of my fellow study abroad friends decided to go see a German football game. Because Mannheim is located so close to Frankfurt, we thought this would be a fun and exciting day trip out of the city. To our surprise, we were not only shocked by the amount of people from Mannheim that attended this game along with us, but also how many people had come to watch this match from all over the country.
I know that in the U.S. when a concert is ‘sold out’ it’s not actually sold out. The arena/stadium is always half full, and there’s no real worry about it. That’s why we decided to not buy tickets in advance. We had known from previous experience that we can simply go to the box office and buy tickets at the stadium in person. Oh how wrong we were. We were here to watch the highly anticipated game of Dortmund vs. Frankfurt. Anyone who follows soccer knows that these fans are some of the most dedicated in the sport. So, when we finally magically received tickets and entered the stadium, I was blown away by how it actually had filled out completely, from top to bottom. Even the nosebleed seats were packed!
Comparing American sports games to German football games has been one of the most interesting experiences during my time here. Fans at the football game were much calmer, yet passionate. Fights between fans don’t even exist (until the end of the games), and generally speaking, everyone is under the same impression that we’re all here to have a good time. And that’s been a reoccurring trend that I’ve seen throughout all of Germany. Typically, whenever you go to a festival, game, or event in Germany, everyone there seems to be there for a good time, and a good time only. You won’t find people fighting, or bickering, or upset. Everyone will have smiling faces and will be radiating joy, creating a wholesome atmosphere for others to relish. I’ve witnessed it on numerous occasions, and have been stunned each and every time.
I know I went into this experience under the impression that Americans are the ones that smile and laugh a lot more than residents of other countries, but I failed to also realize that having a good time isn’t just an exclusive experience found in the U.S. Maybe I’m just used to rowdy Philadelphia Eagles fans, but for some reason, being surrounded by these football fans created a much more lively and pleasant experience for me than I would typically encounter in America.