Sunday, May 21, 2017

Nurse the Hate: St. Pauli Supporters Club, Ohio Chapter

With the very best of intentions I set a reminder to myself on my phone to turn on the St. Pauli FC match today against VfL Bochum this morning at 930am.  I was wearing my St. Pauli t-shirt the other day.  A woman asked me in German if I was from Hamburg.  At least that’s what I think she said because she re-phrased it in English after I looked at her with a “huh?” expression on my face.  I told her I wasn’t but I tried to support the St. Pauli football club.  I left out that my only experiences in Hamburg were 1) playing two shows there, one was great and the other bleak.  2) Going to the art museum by myself and drinking sekt in the café before one of those shows.  An art museum café is a good place to drink sekt if you are dressed like a cowboy and don’t want to get a hassle or odd looks.  3)  Walking down the prostitute alley in the Reeperbahn and marveling at the German organization of the women by hair color, then size, then various fetishes.  The women were surprisingly attractive but the illusion is shattered the moment they try to lure you over and hit you with guttural German.  The vibe goes from sensual daydream to World War II interrogation in a snap of the fingers.  And no, I did not pay for intercourse.

I realized that despite having a St. Pauli shirt and very dependable hoodie, I don’t actually watch any of the matches.  That’s like being one of those annoying poseurs that wears a Ramones shirt they bought at Hot Topic and only know the song “Rock and Roll High School”.  After a quick internet search I discovered that St Pauli was going to be playing their last match of the season today.  Being a man with a shocking amount of TV channels at his disposal, I looked up the match in the channel guide yesterday and was pleased to see it listed.  My plan was to sit with the hounds and cheer on my beloved “Boys in Brown” as I scanned the NY Times.  With my support, I knew we would beat the hated VfL Bochum.  This is probably a good time to note that I don’t know what VfL stands for or where Bochum is located despite being in almost every backwater town in Germany over the last decade.  I looked up VfL and leaned it meant “Verein fur Leibesubungen”, which didn’t offer me much help.  Still, I was ready to watch St. Pauli emerge victorious on the road in Bochum (wherever that is).

Disaster struck though as I was unable to find a feed for the game.  Sure, I could watch Stuttgart destroy Wurzburg.  I could watch three different Italian matches.  Maybe Bochum is such a second rate city and club that they don’t have television broadcasts.  After a quick scan of the standings I discovered that this match was essentially a Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Buffalo Bills game in Week 16.  Also of note, this is a 2nd league match, so it’s actually more akin to a Columbus Clippers vs Buffalo Bisons AAA baseball game.  It does seem a bit optimistic that some jackoff in Ohio with two stinky basset hounds should expect to watch this minor sporting event thousands of miles away.  I could have really used a European in my house to help me navigate the confusing Euro Cable Sports matrix.  By the time the feed was discovered, I saw the players all shaking hands and being cordial after the clock had run out.
While searching for an internet feed of the game, I did discover that St. Pauli was almost relegated to third league.  If you are unaware, these Euro Football Clubs have a pretty good idea with relegation.  What happens is that if there are ten teams in the top league, the two that finish last get dropped down to second league and are replaced by the top two from that league.  So for example, when the Browns go 1-15, they could be replaced by the University of Alabama in the AFC North and then the Browns spend 2017 playing in the SEC.  When the Browns go 2-9 there, they would get sent to the MAC and have to tangle with Eastern Michigan in 2018.  Getting sent down to the third league in German soccer is a disaster as the games aren’t included in television packages.  Had St. Pauli been sent down, it would have been grim.  The good news is that they strung together a bunch of wins down the stretch, avoided being sent down, and then threw a party at the stadium where they gave away a lake of beer as the players roamed around drinking cold ones.  See?  It’s a likeable team.  When's the last time an NFL team gave away 100 kegs of beer?

This led me to further investigation on the web where I discovered the relative ease of setting up a St. Pauli Supporters Club.  There are only three conditions to setting up a club.  First, I need to gather up five people.  I don’t think the hounds count.  Second, I need to accept the “self concept statement”.    This entails staying in contact with other supporters clubs.  This will be tricky as most of them are in Germany and the only words I can say in German are essentially “auslese” and “flammenwefer”, which will come in handy if anyone in another club wants to discuss sweet Rieslings or flame throwers.  Our club will also have to comply with stadium regulations whenever we go to a match, which seems reasonable, especially since Hamburg is a hell of a drive from here.  We also have to oppose all forms of discrimination against people, all forms of racism, sexism, hooliganism, and all forms of disparagement against same-sex preferences and tendencies.  I’m on board with that.  This is a good team to support in the Age of Trump.  I like the socially progressive ideas are more important to the club than selling in a fast food sponsor.  Then I have to contact the Supporters Club Spokescouncil.  This is where things usually go off the rails, but I will do my best to follow protocol.

I recall Krusty trying to set up a supporters club here years back.  I think he went to the Jolly Roger in Hamburg, the home base bar of the hardest core of the hardcore St. Pauli fanbase after a Daredevils tour to nose around a bit.  As he did not look like a member of GBH or Crass, he did not fit the look of the old denim/heavily tattooed/leather guys that looked at him crosswise.  He was sporting some clunky Euro glasses and some sort of utilitarian German shoe boot that probably made him look like a government informant, so it wasn’t the warmest reception.  Hopefully he didn’t land us in some type of narc data base over there.  It’s been awhile.  It’s probably blown over.

Get in touch with me if you’d like to be in this club.  I see it as an excellent way to watch sports in the morning (match times tend to be 930a here), drink Astra beer, and be all-in on something that has no real impact in our lives whatsoever except the ability to forget about the Browns failures and take the moral high ground that St. Pauli strives for.  Plus the gear is killer!  I have an image in my mind of being one of those annoying people that is way too into something that is very obscure and pretending not to understand when others aren't informed on it.  "What a tough match yesterday...  What?  You didn't watch the St. Pauli v Bielefeld match Sunday morning?  Jesus.  Almost the entire club was over at my place yesterday."  Translation.  Three people came to my house to drink champagne and eat omelettes while we watched a soccer game with German commentary no one understood.  Then we rolled into a wasted day drinking Sunday until firing up the grill to cook up giant cuts of meat while Wagner's disc 11 of Der Rings Des Nibelungen blares on the speakers.  Dare to dream.    

St. Pauli 3  Bochum 1  See you next season.


At May 22, 2017 at 5:23:00 PM EDT , Blogger Bobdontgiveaf#ck said...

Ich verspreche ewige Hingabe an den Fußballverein ☠️

At May 22, 2017 at 8:26:00 PM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

Unsere Hingabe dient als Beispiel für alle anderen

At May 26, 2017 at 10:29:00 PM EDT , Blogger AZ said...

You and Ken settle your bet between them and FC Köln?

At May 26, 2017 at 10:55:00 PM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

F Koln


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