Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Polska 2 - Belgia 0

I'm not a huge football fan. I can easily sit through a football match , and even enjoy it at times, but it's not something that really gets my pulse racing. For obvious reasons though, the Poland-Belgium match on Saturday night held a particular attraction.

Marek was exhausted after partyi- I mean training, with his colleagues the day before and mainly kept quiet as I sang along to the Polish national anthem (thank you university choir for teaching me the words) and then provided a very unfocused commentary along the lines of,

'That Artur Boruc goalie looks a little bit like that actor in the film I watched last night, Maciek Kochan-something what's his name? He's in Kriminalni as well, not that I've ever watched it. Did he just say Giraffe-ski? Is that someone's actual name? Look how the shadows of the players change as they move betwen the lights. That one has four shadows but that other one has three. Have you seen that snow all around the pitch? The supporters must be freezing. Do you think faulować (to foul) is a proper verb?'

The match wasn't the most exciting I've ever seen and the Poles waited until just before half time to score the first goal.

'Oooh, it's Żurawski! Not Giraffe-ski after all. Is that related to Żurawina? Cranberries?'

Marek came back to life. 'No, more likely Żuraw, crane.'

'The machine or the bird?'


'How weird that the same word in English stands for both objects and the same word in Polish stands for both objects. I wonder why.'

'It's like German schloss and Polish zamek. They both mean castle and lock.'

'Wow. [thoughtful silence] Do you think these are the kinds of discussions other people have during football matches.'

'Possibly not.'

'I'm glad we're both word geeks. Maybe that's why we never watch football with other people.'

The second goal came just five minutes into the second half and then nothing really happened. I continued giggling every time the commentators mentioned Bąk (pronounced 'bonk', for those of you who still haven't got the hang of Polish letters) and half expected them to carry on in the same vein, shouting 'kapow' and 'wheee' as the ball bounced around the pitch.

I also noticed how they mentioned Polish players much more than the Belgians. Marek's theory was that the Poles had the ball more often, but I think they just wanted to avoid trying to pronounce the Belgian players' names. I wonder how the poor Belgian commentators got on with Blaszczykowski.

Poland deserved to win, and they did. They will now play in the Euro matches for the first time ever. I won't pretend I'm not a little bit chuffed for them, although perhaps the fireworks, tears and claims they were champions of the world (at least that's what that bloody Queen song they always play over and over says) were a little exaggerated. Or premature at least.

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