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The Plight of Masculinity

So, there I was, in Europe for the last three weeks.

And pretty much from the moment we got there, the Euro 2004 football tournament was underway.

Now, in the states, I can’t be bothered with soccer. It goes too slow, and I don’t know anything about the teams, the players, the rivalries, the matchups.

But, because I have a surfeit of testosterone, or that pesky Y chromosome, or something, I couldn’t help but follow the tournament. This was definitely influenced by the fact that *everywhere we went*, the populace was caught up in the excitement. So now I know what a rivalry the Dutch have with the Germans. How exciting it was for Portugal to beat Spain. The drama of the Scandinavian tie and the Italian’s complaints. I’m actually enjoying that England was thwarted in the quarterfinals.

My best experience was watching the Netherlands – Latvia game at a bar in A’dam, with a crowd decked out in orange, and witnessing not just the Netherlands winning (which was relatively anti-climactic, since Latvia stunk up the place), but also Germany losing — which meant Holland could move on to the quarterfinals. People went apeshit.

See? I’m all caught up in it. And now I can’t watch it anymore, because it’s only available on expensive pay channels, and I wouldn’t know where to go to see it, and so I get my fix by reading the website. And tomorrow, Holland plays Sweden. Maybe I’ll find a Scandinavian bar somewhere to watch it.

Pity the poor male.

  1. If it’s any comfort, Peter, even the poor females with hardly any feel for the game are getting swept up in this round of football frenzy. I’m starting to know the referees by name…

  2. If you can’t find a Swedish sports bar, you could listen to Dutch radio for the game. Go to and click the large round speaker button. Commentary will be by a Jack van Gelder, who’s one of those mile-a-minute talkers. It will be in Dutch, of course, but Jack’s incomprehensible to me too when he goes full speed (and I’m a native). He does a great job in getting across the tension of the game.

  3. nah: it’s not a y chromosome thing. i’ve been all caught up in it since 1990, when i was in germany for most of the world cup. it matters too much.

    oranje boven!

  4. It’s definitely not just a male thing. I have no rooting interest in Euro 2004, I’d prefer to be watching/reading about/listening to English Premier League soccer, and yet I’m completely caught up in the tournament for no discernible reason.

    I’ve been getting my fix by listening to BBC Radio’s Five Live Web stream, which has had coverage of most of the matches. Very knowledgeable commentators, too. Not quite the same thing as being there, but soccer on radio turns out to be much more interesting and listenable than you might expect.

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