German Superiority

I’ll give you one guess at what this list is getting at:

Sausage, beer, soccer, orderly and effective public transportation, yodeling, small hatchback cars, techno music and field hockey.

Hillary Clinton’s Facebook interests?”

Well, maybe, but not really.

What, then, is this list about, you ask? It’s a short list of things Germans do better than Americans.

Yodeling, soccer and techno are more or less beyond debate. Sausage and beer depend on your taste buds. Public transportation and very small cars are something you can’t really appreciate unless you’re there.

But field hockey too?

Yes, yes, field hockey.

After a trip to Hamburg, Germany over the winter break, these were all observations that became concrete for me, but the field hockey experience was surprising in an odd way. Even to me.

I was familiar with the high caliber of field hockey prior to my recent trip, but it had never really sunk in until seeing some games in person.

I’ll be the first to admit my experience with field hockey is limited –– I had to play the sport for five weeks in high school P.E. and saw several varsity games in high school, but have since seen only one or two games at UVM.

Considering there have been a few incredible Catamount field hockey players — most notably Danielle Collins in recent seasons — this is shameful but I digress nonetheless.

From November until April, German field hockey is played indoors. This, as well as watching men play field hockey, was as impressive as the outcomes of the games themselves.

See, there’s something about watching one club’s German Bundesliga-level men’s and women’s sides thoroughly beat the respective Italian national teams that I find incredible.

I’m no expert on Italian field hockey current affairs or past history, but the fact that the teams from this German club could so easily handle a country’s national team in an exhibition series is something I feel comfortable in saying.

I’ve seen enough games in other sports to be able to appreciate the remarkable nature of games that the German players did not talk about seriously.

While the players from the Uhlenhorster Hockey Club (ice hockey is not simply called hockey, as it is here) were not overjoyed with triumphing over the Italians, the atmosphere was wholly different four days later when the women’s A-team had a rematch with Braunschweig.

The scene reminded me of a Vermont high school playoff basketball game, with close quarters, team colors and lots of noise, but the game looked like a cross between ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer and golf.

Who would have thought, Germany made me a field hockey fan –– and a soccer fan, and a beer fan, and a … techno fan?


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