Why Dortmund? Why Ask Why?
Over the last few weeks, schwatzgelb.com became even more international, gaining their first international editor named Karl. Karl is a fan of Borussia Dortmund currently residing in Los Angeles, America and therefore has a different but yet interesting look on things that happen in black and yellow. On a regular basis, Karl will not only contribute reports for schwatzgelb.com, but will also release his own column. Here is his first episode in which he introduces himself and tries to answer one question: Why did he become a fan of Borussia?
If you think about it, being a sports fan makes no sense. You’re cheering for millionaires wearing laundry washed in a particular city. Football, especially, you’re cheering for a badge that is 15% of the size of a corporate sponsor’s logo emblazoned across your shirt. Unicef were a professional sports team? Weird. But the fact that a grown adult raised in the Midwest can be excited by a German soccer club from a city that is the exact opposite of “tourist destination” and it leads to the very common question of…why?
Sports fandom rules fall under the same umbrella of what I call the “Slayer” rules. Derivations of this are the “Sci-Fi” or “Comic Book” Rules. The rules to this are very simple. The window of acceptance for one to find something that is objectively silly, cartoonish and goofy to be “badass” and “awesome” is before the age of 15. If you discover Sci-Fi, comics or Slayer after the age of 16 (when you’re able to drive or maybe go out on dates) it’s just not the same as when you’re a little kid. You’re too smart then. You have interests or reasons to have interests or can analyze things a bit more practically than before. You can leave the house. Your perception of the world isn’t the same. However, if you catch those things before that formative bloom, they’re with you in some aspect or another for life, whether you like it or not. I know successful real estate agents and PhD graduates who are liable to drunkenly blurt out “SLAYER!!!” and FUCKING MEAN it. Some things stick with you forever.
Sports follow the same rule. This is especially true when the players cross that threshold of being older than you to suddenly being your age. It’s even worse when they’re younger than you and the old veteran guy that gets criticized for being too slow and brittle is your age or younger. In a few years, players could be my accidental teen house-party children. I would say that “admiring” or “looking up” to athletes as we did as children no matter the sport – that luster dissipates when you’re in your thirties with two kids and a mortgage.
This is my way of introducing myself and letting you into MY view of Borussia Dortmund and what life is like around it from thousands of miles and time zones away from the heart of the beast. I am lucky to catch 2-3 games a year in person. I could write about the transfer rumors, or I could just get Google Chrome and translate the parts of Kicker for you, but that’s boring. My tactical analysis skills are probably a 4/10. There are plenty of places for you to get that itch scratched. And history? There are books to cover history. They’re readily available. Start with TOR.
Maybe it’s self important, but I’ve had enough people ask me “why Dortmund?” over the last few years that I’ve decided to just move my ass from the sidelines just do this hypothetical blog. I feel like the oldest, life-long Dortmund fans and the most confused, clueless Americans appreciate my explanations. I don’t pretend to be a Lars Ricken fan from back in the day. That wasn’t my life then. In 1997, I was focused on two things and one of them was trying to get laid.
How did I live my whole life without a dog in the world football fight and then find myself absorbing a team to such a degree that even lifelong fans call me “crazy” with a smile and a hug? I don’t really know the answer to that. I surely wasn’t in the pursuit of a “club of my own” because I know I’d prefer sleeping in past 6:30am on Saturday mornings if given the choice. However, it happened, and I have accepted it and I’m proud to say it out loud.
And, for what it’s worth, all photos are mine. All opinions are half-baked. I am going to interchange “football” and “soccer” randomly and without warning because I’m an American and we’re stupid, remember?