In most places in the world, football/soccer is at least king, if not religion. So it is in Germany. The whole country, politics and all, goes into a dormant state over the summer break of soccer season. Soccer is what peple talk about on the weekends and what fills the tabloids and newspapers. The world is good as long as your team is playing. And if you think this can't be potentiated any more, you should've been in Germany during the soccer world cup. That was soccer 24/7 pushing [i]any[/i] other news on the back-burner, no matter what. This is what soccer is in Germany – it's what most peoples' lives run on and the motor that keeps the society running.
Last night, a few friends and I went to a sports bar to watch the handball WC final Germany-Poland. The bar, mind you, was the club bar of a local football club. The bar took about 50 visitors and it was smack full with people lining up on the outside. We even had two TV crews in there, one national and one regional station, shooting and interviewing people. Germany won and all hell broke loose of course. But after the game came what struck me the most: the bar owner switched to the ongoing soccer game conference broadcast and the crowd started booing! And it booed until the host would switch back to the medal ceremony! And the crowd was pleased and cheered. This is something I would've never thought possible! A handball medal ceremony beating out a live soccer broadcast! And many of the people in the bar had not even been handball fans before the WCs but had caught the enthusiasm that had built in the course of the tournament.
I later heard that at most soccer stadiums yesterday, giant screens had been set up, showing the handball final and that even in half-time, people spoke more about handball, than the ongoing soccer game. My dad, who's a PE teacher told me that all his kids now wanted to play handball, "even the 9th graders who only ever wanted to play basketball". And my dad lives in the home-town of NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, the greatest sports star the city has ever produced.
This is what one tournament and a spectacular home-team can do to a country.