The Full 90

Scenes from a watch party, Part XII

In traveling to watch parties during this World Cup, I've witnessed a lot of emotions: joy, anger, sadness and bliss are but a few that come to mind.But at this watch party as my family viewed Germany's 4-0 win over Argentina on Saturday, there was a bit of catharsis.

My parents were born in Germany and moved to the United States in the 1960s. My first memories of the World Cup are of the 1982 competition in Spain.

It was tough finding soccer on television at that time, but I grew up outside of Chicago, and we were fortunate to have a Spanish-language TV station that showed the games.

The United States had not been to the World Cup since 1950, so we all rooted for Germany. "We" being my mother, who is a huge soccer fan, my brother and my sister.

My father was never much of a sports fan. He kept track of the results, usually through my unsolicited updates, but you never would find him camped out in front of the TV during a game.

In fact, as the 1996 European Championship game between Germany and the Czech Republic was headed for overtime, I found my dad in the kitchen preparing dinner. Certainly, I thought, he'd want to step away to watch overtime. No, he was happy cooking, which was a passion of his.

My dad died Tuesday and the service was held Friday. It was great timing that Germany played Argentina on Saturday, so I went to my mom's house to watch with her, my brother and my uncle Gotho, who had come from Europe for the funeral.

It seemed appropriate that Germany was playing and it was a wonderful diversion for a couple of hours.

We cheered as Germany scored early. We groaned when Mom's favorite player, Miroslav Klose, missed a sitter. We held our breath as Argentina tried breaking down Germany's defense. But it never did and we cheered again and again as Germany poured it on in the second half.

When it was 1-0 at halftime, Gotho told me, "You must write that 'Germany played well in Argentina's half and Argentina played well in Argentina's half.' " Granted, his humor may not have translated all that well, but I still chuckled.

And after an emotional week, it was still good to laugh and cheer on Germany.

| Pete Grathoff, pgrathoff@kcstar.com
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