Question: What is red, white and green?
Answer: Besides the Italian flag, a football match in Cologne.
FC Koln, our closest and therefore home team, took on Bayern 1860 in a heated match up. Well, a heated match up for teams in the 2nd Bundesliga, which I guess means that the team is 1 less skilled than teams that play in the 1st Bundesliga. This was our first football match in Europe so we joined in with a group of teachers from the international school around the corner. I had no idea what to expect. After the game, I was "in the know". It helped that quite a few of the chants were the ones we had learned previously during Karneval.
Notable notes: (1) Koln's mascot is a goat named Hennes that wears a red and white scarf, hangs out on the sideline and occasionally has a microphone thrust into his face. The people go nuts when they hear Hennes bleat "maaaaa". It is endearing. (2) Also, the main goalkeeper is a Columbian guy named Mondragon that occasionally lives in Florida. My friend, who was at the game, is a Columbian guy named Cordoba that occasionally lives in Florida too. They are basically the same person, despite the name, vocation, and 1-foot height differential. (3) Katie loves the practicality of plastic beer mugs whose handles can be nested, thereby enabling the carrier to transport 6 mugs per hand.
The game was not terribly exciting, ending up in a 0:0 tie. No shoot-out either. The 47,000 fans walked out of the stadium in Germanic orderliness, so there was little chance of street lamp climbing or flipping over of cars. This was not the stereotypical crazed fan sport that Americans hear of. More like going to a sporting event with friends, cheering on a team, and going out to a pub afterwards. Rioting is played out, anyway.