Wanja talks to his children, today about…
The luck of the Germans and their bad luck?
It was wonderful living in Putoia and a little reminiscent of “The Truman Story”, although one was allowed to wonder if it could all be true? Whenever there was a football match – and there were many, big, small, youth, girls’ and ladies’, amateur and professional – after all, we were on the planet that had written the message “here we play football” as the entrance sign to the universe, visible from afar. Everyone also liked to watch these games, on site or as a broadcast on the still existing television or on the giant screens in front of the stadiums, where there was always a veritable party, from the so many supporters of the game, who nevertheless adorned themselves in the different club colours, but never waged war among themselves, as it used to be – as Wanja liked to tell his children and also others of the second generation on the planet here, time and again, when the police had to escort the fans on their own routes to the stadium so as not to have to fear an escalation before kick-off due to a possible encounter between the different fan camps, which could nevertheless not be avoided in all cases because the fans made themselves unrecognisable, invented their own routes and sometimes even arranged hostile acts in the form of physical confrontations and thus cheated the police. All of this would have been unimaginable here, yet everyone listened with open mouths to the scenes and stories so vividly described by Wanja, just like watching a scary film every now and then, well aware that goose bumps would run down your spine, but nevertheless exposing yourself to it. Scary-beautiful, or afterwards you feel better when you return to an ideal world…!
In any case, they often sat together in the evenings and Wanja always had something to tell and the children loved to listen to him because they were simply fascinated. As we have known for a long time, his stories almost always started with Adam and Eve and he introduced them like this: “First of all, the ball was invented and it was moved around with the hands, as one logically does as a human being. One day, the idea came up to increase the degree of difficulty – after all, one has the greatest skill with one’s hands – and one looked for the conceptual opposite to the hand. This was found in the word ‘foot’ and the misleading, but nevertheless quite handy term ‘football’ was invented, which should actually be called…” the finders cut him off and added “… everything-but-arm-and-hand-ball. We already know the story.”
Sometimes he began his story like this: “In the very beginning there was the Second World War, which Germany had started and lost without a sound. And only nine years later, when the country was still pretty much destroyed and had only just begun to rebuild, they nevertheless won the World Cup under extremely fortunate circumstances. It was thought at the time, in the country that had been so badly battered – which had brought this state on itself — that this was a signal, a new beginning, a great message that was sent to the world ‘we are who we are again and there is more that matters except losing wars’, and yet this title win proved in some ways fatal for the future.”
This was the first time the children had heard this introduction in this form, or rather, Vanya had not yet recited it in epic breadth, so they asked: “Why was it fatal? What could be bad about winning a World Cup?”
Of course, Vanya had been waiting for this question, eliciting it from the audience – often enough, friends, acquaintances, his own and the younger generation were sitting there – and so he was given permission to finally make this connection: “Well, it wasn’t just the winning of the title, but it was the lucky circumstances that led to it, and subsequently a misinterpretation of this luck by crediting oneself with this luck as one’s own merit”. Although a clear definition of “happiness” is still missing here – which can gladly be supplied later, as ambiguous as any definition of a pure concept would remain –, the children could nevertheless effortlessly add … “but luck remains luck, no matter how much you yourself have contributed to the ultimate victory in the form of a good performance”. Yes, we understood that, we already know that.”
“Well, according to that, you had claimed a lot of luck with the final victory and actually you had to feel sorry for the Hungarians, who were simply the clearly better team. From then on, a myth was created in Germany and not only that: they seemed to have a certain subscription to this luck. At major tournaments, they always went very far and won several tournaments, reached the semi-finals, the finals, without being the slightest bit better than the others. The consequence was that people seemed to refer to this luck, or rather the view was completely transfigured that it was indeed luck.”
“And what were the further consequences of this?” the inquisitive sitters wanted to find out. Here, too, Wanja knew an answer: “The problem was not primarily encountered when there was another title win, but when the team was eliminated early – which was actually a matter of course, given the equality of many top nations, and many others have also been affected x times.” “And, what happened when Germany was eliminated early?”