So, I've made it to Ireland. And I really should be sitting in a garden sketching birds and fabulous sculpture. Instead, I find myself posting a sketch of yet another soccer player (for Ayala's June Guys Challenge) and explaining how I became a fan of the German national soccer team (at least for one night). But first, here's the inspiration photo I used for my sketch of German striker Mario Gomez (it's from Photobucket):
As predicted, I have spent every night in Ireland in a pub watching Euro 2012 unfold (for the uninformed, that's a soccer tournament which takes place every four years; teams compete by country, and the winner is crowned "Champion of Europe"). On Wednesday, Henry and I headed over to Sinnott's Bar. We arrived early enough to watch Portugal beat Denmark, which made me very happy. I have a soft spot for the Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in general because there are so many Portuguese immigrants where I live (Half Moon Bay being a fishing town and all). Netherlands v. Germany was due up next, and the pub started filling up with fans dressed in either orange or white jerseys. The Dutch fans located in one part of the pub draped orange bunting around their section. By the time the match began, the pub was packed (this photo was taken during the Portugal game when there was still plenty of room to move):
Henry and I smiled as the fans surrounding us belted out their national anthems (the Dutch out sang the Germans, by the way). The lights dimmed, and the match began with constant cheering from both sides. It was an awesome place to watch the match! German striker Mario Gomez scored two goals, and I asked my son "Is Mario Gomez really German?" He said, "Yes." "Seriously?!?" "Yes, seriously." It turns out he was born in Germany, to a German mother and Spanish father. I think he's gorgeous, by the way (much better looking in real life than in my sketch). Two girls from Hamburg asked if they could join us, and we got to talking. One worked for Twitter. She had worked in San Francisco for a couple of years and has now been posted in Dublin. We met another German fan who was from Ecuador but grew up in Spain, had worked in Dallas, Texas for five years and now Dublin since 1999. I love how soccer makes the world smaller and unites people from all over the globe. Given that we found ourselves in a pocket of German supporters and that a German victory would help Portugal advance, we decided to cheer on Germany. We didn't actuall join in the chants of "Deutsche - land," but we were mighty tempted! And we did high five those around use every time the Germans put one in the back of the net.
More stories (and sketches) from Ireland coming soon! What have you been up to this week?