Now it’s been decided I can enjoy the rest of the summer break and pre-season. And now I can finally get on with making the video from the last game. It wasn’t so much knowing if he was leaving or not. It was just the uncertainty of it. Whether it was the last video ever or just the last of this tournament, that I needed to know before putting to together. This time I have to admit I did doubt if he would stay, depending on which news sources you listen to however there may be other changes in the offing. What exactly that means (if it’s even true) who knows. There’s really no point in speculating. I know exactly the change I would like to see but I doubt that’ll happen. And I doubt even less that I would get my actual dream come true and Hansi would come back. That would be way too perfect, which is precisely why it’s never going to happen. But there’s no need to get greedy, Jogi is staying, that’s the main thing.
Little update – upon catching up with the latest news it seems I’m not the only one with the idea of Hansi returning. Oh that would be too awesome to even contemplate.
At this rate I wasn’t sure there was going to be a first post of the year, let alone need to worry what it would end up being about. I would have said that Hansi won the day but with Hoffenheim losing 4-1 to Leverkusen that’s not strictly true. It’s Freiburg who are the real winners of the day, beating Leipzig 2-1. As happy as I am about that victory (not so much because of the three points but more getting to beat Leipzig) I wasn’t even sure my first post would be football related. The past week I’ve thought more about handball than football and it’s the other Bundestrainer that’s been the focus of my attention, it’s not a Jogi week but a Prokop week. And funnily enough before becoming the coach of the national handball team Christian Prokop coached none other than Leipzig. I didn’t really get handball before but I have to admit it’s exciting to watch. And interesting in the sense that it too uses VAR though it seems to be used a little quicker and more effectively than in football. Despite the time it’s been taking up it’s not a new obsession exactly, well maybe it is, but it’s not one to compete with the ones I already have. If it were then I wouldn’t have cared about Hansi’s interview today or the fact the presenter was Peter who’s one of my favorites.
Whatever the last post of the year was about I wanted it to be Jogi related in some way. I should have written this post after I got back but somehow never found the time, and with today being the 31st I guess it’s the perfect time. I still can’t believe that it actually happened, that instead of being in my room watching that stuff on TV I was actually there. I just wish I could have gotten more pictures and video. Unsurprisingly I’m not too good with a camera, turns out twitchy people and cameras don’t mix. The cold didn’t help either, nor did the fact I was trying to keep hold of so many things at once. Should I go autograph hunting again I will definitely be better prepared next time. Still I did at least manage to get some good pictures of Jogi and video too. Unfortunately I didn’t get one of Matze, he was standing right in front of me. Whilst he was signing the shirt I could easily have snapped a picture right then but I guess I wasn’t even thinking . I was a little awed by the fact he was right in front of me and he was so much taller than I expected.
As important as getting a Jogi autograph was getting one from Matze was definitely the best part of the whole experience. That’s probably the one moment of the trip I’m actually quite proud about. It’s not a word I use often, not a word I like either. But that’s how I feel about that moment. The reason being it’s one of those rare moments in my life when I spoke up for myself and it paid off. Had I not called out Matze’s name as he walked to the bus he would have carried on walking and I never would have gotten his signature, never would have got to see him standing right in front of me.I got quite a few signatures in total, Mario Götze, Julian Draxler, Lars Stindl, Per Mertesacker and a few others I can neither remember nor identify. And not forgetting one from the DFB president and Oliver Bierhoff. As for Jogi I didn’t get one signature, I got three separate ones. One on the very special piece of paper I wanted signed (a list of every Freiburg game I’ve seen going back to September 2014), another in my book and this is the best one of all, my match ticket.
Despite not getting off to a very good start overall I think the trip went well, there’s definitely room for improvement and a few parts of it I wouldn’t want to repeat under any circumstances but the positives outweigh the negatives. Getting lost in London wasn’t fun at all, it was scary enough the first day in daylight when I had a vague idea where I was, the second time was terrifying. Yet it has it’s good points, I was alone and had no-one to rely on. So if I was going to find my way I had to ask for directions and figure it out. How I managed to do that I still don’t know.
The second day went better than the first, I spent the afternoon before the game waiting outside the team’s hotel and it paid off. I got a few autographs before the bus left (though not Jogi, he went straight to the bus) and watched the bus leave. I almost missed kick off because of having to rush back to the stadium but it was so worth it. Now on that point I had planned ahead, my hotel was close to the stadium so I had just enough time to drop off my stuff and get to the game. The part I was most anxious about turned out to be not so good. I was anxious enough about the prospect of queuing to get inside, I could have done without getting spat at by a no doubt drunk England fan who mistakenly thought I was a German. Same as I could have done without the Auschwitz chants on the underground on the way there. But they were the exception to the rule, almost everyone else I encountered was nothing like that.
On the subject of meeting people that was one of the big surprises of the whole experience for me. Now the social side of things didn’t go so well in one regard, but there were enough unplanned encounters to make up for it. Whilst waiting outside the hotel I got to meet and talk with several different people. It was cool being just a fan among other fans, not being the “weird” one for a change. And I even got to meet a few Germans, though some of them curiously enough seem to be baffled why I’m a fan of Jogi. Being the only fan of his there after the game certainly worked in my favour though. Then all the attention was on the players but I was waiting for Jogi, convinced that I wasn’t going to miss out this time around. Normally in social situations all I do is watch, this time I was able to make that ability work for me. I watched and waited, and finally got my chance. For once in my life hyper-awareness worked in my favour and did something other than make me anxious.
The day after the game I was meant to go on a pre-booked tour of Wembley Stadium. I didn’t end up doing that, having decided the night before there was something much more fun to do. And that was going back to the hotel in search of more autographs and pictures. I am so glad I did go back because that was when I hit the jackpot, getting the cutest pictures of Jogi ever. Getting an autograph from Lars Stindl made it worth it too. And the best part of all, I got to meet Uli the Sky reporter and get an autograph, that was unbelievably cool. I got to talk to him about a few things and one very important subject in particular. The night before I managed to catch up on some of the news online, seeing his report on TV I heard him mention Hansi. As it turned out Hansi was actually there, Uli confirmed that part. But he wasn’t staying at their hotel and I didn’t get to see him. Still it was cool just knowing he’d been there.
Many things didn’t go as planned and a lot of things could have gone better, but none of that matters. There will always be things that go wrong or don’t go exactly to plan, this trip was proof that things can still go right afterwards. This trip cost me a lot and I don’t mean financially speaking, it really wiped me out in terms of energy but it was worth it. Even the delayed meltdown/stress reaction when I got home was worth it. I’m already thinking about another trip, about going to Germany next time. Before that seemed the very definition of impossible, I’m not going to lie, it still feels a little daunting now. But less so, the prospect of it no longer seems quite so terrifying. And even if it is scary, the rewards are worth it.
They definitely kept the best till last as far as the stickers are concerned, Toni Kroos is a pretty damn good Christmas present to get. Though I’m plenty happy with my real life gifts too. That’s one of the best things about a German Christmas (other than Bratwurst at the Christmas market that is), getting your presents a day early. It means I get a head start on playing my new PC games, at least I’ll have plenty to occupy myself with whilst the Bundesliga takes it’s winter break.
I don’t want to write about anything bad on a Jogi day, which leaves me wondering what I am going to write about. It’s not that anything bad has happened today, more that nothing has really happened at all. It’s not really possible for anything bad or good to happen when you’re asleep. Besides today isn’t the day I need to worry about anyway, that’s tomorrow. Jogi day is not the only reason I shouldn’t write a word about that. Whatever I do or don’t write it’s not going to change what happens, there isn’t anything to do but wait. Obsessing over it isn’t going to help. One thing I can’t help but obsess over is related to the title. Behind door number seven was one sticker; Mario Gomez (not happy about him being in there but that’s another story) and two cards. All normal so far, until I look at the cards. In this order I find Joshua Kimmich, Joachim Löw and Joachim Löw – two of the exact same card. Now I can’t believe I’m objecting to this but I hope they really didn’t screw up here, as happy as I am having an extra Jogi card all I can think about whether or not one is missing now. And of course I have to wait until the 24th to find out just who if anyone is missing, it’s not very Germanic of them that’s for sure. I won’t be losing any sleep over it, but only because I don’t expect to get any tonight anyway. Right now I’m watching Epic, which is ironic given that one of the main themes is balance. I’m watching it because I love Christoph Waltz as Mandrake, it’s something safe and familiar, something I know the words to. Mandrake is sick of balance and of the green, the good guys. I know the feeling, it would be easier to just let the dark side take over. But I can’t write about that now, no bad or depressing stuff on a Jogi day.
At least I didn’t miss seeing Hansi tonight, though it would have been better if he had looked a little happier. But then today wasn’t a very happy day for him and Hoffenheim, for tonight marked the end of their European campaign and they couldn’t even go out in style and win their last game.