The World’s Most Popular Sport

21 Nov

My first memory of soccer goes back to 1994. I chose a pretty good “first match” to ever watch in my life: The 94′ World Cup final between Italy and Brazil. Even as child I was blown away by the immensity of the game, as Brazil claimed the World Cup. Everything from the game itself, the fans and their impact on the game to the vibe around the whole world regarding a game of soccer really got the better of me. I was suddenly interested in soccer, even though most of my friends were involved with hockey, baseball, or American football.

Soon after the 1994 World Cup, my family moved back to Düsseldorf, Germany. This was perfect timing considering my curiosity in soccer, as it is the most popular sport in all corners of the country. Düsseldorf was my birthplace, and soccer was my new pastime. This automatically turned me into a die-hard fan of Fortuna Düsseldorf, the main soccer club of the city. I spent most of my leisure time playing soccer with friends and following Fortuna’s progress in the German league, even though they weren’t a top-notch team. However, the team is renowned for its fans, some of the loudest and most supportive in the whole country.

Fortuna was in a miserable state in the late 90s, as they slipped all the way to 5th division regional league from Germany’s top league. Despite that, I followed many other leagues from across the world as well as international tournaments with a lot of interest. Even as a neutral spectator, I have learned to enjoy the game for its awesomeness.

As a Fortuna fan, the disappointing days came to end — finally! It only took 17 years and a few near heart-attacks for this to happen. While I was visiting Düsseldorf last spring, only a playoff game stood between them and the country’s first division. By beating Hertha Berlin, we were back in the top league after 17 dreaded years. The celebrations were massive, and the beer was amazing! And I got to be a part of it. It felt great, especially after waiting for a day like this since my childhood. Although the ups and downs of soccer can be really frustrating, and each game is like a 90 minute session of mini heart attacks, I love this sport to death. With that said, I can’t wait till World Cup 2014!

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