Saturday, April 13, 2013

"The Punishment Room is My Hunting Ground"

Today's post is not for the faint of heart. There is some really ugly stuff ahead. First, I am going to write about football, and then it will get worse. You have been warned.

Football is a subject that seems to come up about once a year on this blog, even though, as I keep affirming time and time again, I am not a football fan. And it's true, I really could not care less about football. One reason is that I don't watch a lot of sports in the first place. Another is that, when I do watch sports, I prefer individual sports to team sports. Yet another is contrariness - the cliché is that all Germans are crazy and knowledgeable about football, so I make a point of being neither. And don't even get me started on the lost football bet that led to me getting thrashed by Kaelah and Leia-Ann Woods...

Having said all that, I don't actively dislike football. It does not interest me, but I don't disdain it, either. Every two years when there is a European Championship or a World Cup, I watch a few matches of the German national team out of a feeling of patriotic duty. Until they inevitably lose in the semi-final or the final, an experience the English fans never have to make because England always goes out earlier.

Because I only watch football every two years, the following tidbit of potential kinky interest had never occurred to me until recently: the penalty area, the rectangular area in front of the goal within which... special rules apply*, is called "Strafraum" in German. Which literally means "punishment room". Even though I am not a football fan, I should have picked up on this earlier. "Punishment room"! How did I manage to miss the obvious kinky vibe of the term for all these years? I have no explanation.

(* In the penalty area, the goalkeeper may handle the ball and a penalty is awarded for a foul by the defending team. I just looked it up, and yeah, I actually knew this. I thought that more extra rules might apply in the penalty area, but apparently, it is only these two.)

What finally made me notice the "Strafraum" thing was reading the newspaper the other day. There was a humorous article about footballers turned singers, a subject as ripe for ridicule as few other human endeavours. I mean, it is such an obvious, easy target, it is almost unsportsmanlike to mock it. Almost, but not quite! So here we go: do any of our British readers remember Head Over Heels in Love by Kevin Keegan? Yes, you guessed right, that is a collaboration with Smokie. It even got to number 10 in the charts in Germany. Who says we Germans don't have a sense of humour? Well, maybe we just have really bad taste.

Actually, that bit of 70s soft "rock" might be pretty bland, but it isn't as outrageously, puke-inducingly bad as some of the other stuff by footballers who could not suppress their lack of musical talent any longer. Franz Beckenbauer's Du bist das Glück ("You Are Happiness") and 1:0 für die Liebe ("1:0 for Love") are proof that even Der Kaiser is capable of the worst blunders. German Schlager music is sappy, sentimental tosh at the best of times, but when sung by a footballer, it becomes a crime against humanity. Do not listen to both songs from start to finish, it will give you brain cancer. Let's move on to something not quite as horrifying. When Jean Marie Pfaff was the goalkeeper for Bayern Munich back in 1984, he put out this little gem: Jetzt bin ich ein Bayer. The music, as one would expect, is utter crap, but the lyrics have some redeeming qualities:

Ich war ein Belgier und jetzt bin ich ein Bayer
Ich trinke Bier und esse Leberkäs' mit Eier

(I was a Belgian and now I am a Bavarian
I drink beer and eat Leberkäse with eggs)

I actually think that is kind of cute. I, King Ludwig of Bavaria, approve this message! But I have tortured you long enough, so let's get to a song that can at least be misconstrued as kinky: in 1997, Austrian striker Toni Polster teamed up with an all-female German pub rock band named Die Fabulösen Thekenschlampen ("The Fabulous Bar Sluts") to record Toni, Lass Es Polstern. The song title is difficult to translate. "Polster" means "pillow", and "polstern" is a new creation of a verb that could be translated as "to pillow". So, you could translate the title as "Toni, let it pillow", or less literally as "Toni, let it rip". Either way, the implication is clear: Toni is not just dangerous on the football field, but with the ladies in the pub as well...

In one line of the verse, he sings: "Der Strafraum ist mein Jagdrevier" ("The penalty area punishment room is my hunting ground"). To which the chorus of the Fabulous Bar Sluts replies: "Komm, Toni, bitte jag mit mir!" ("Come, Toni, please go hunting with me!"). If that isn't kinky, then I don't know what is.

Enough with the punishment. If you have read this post all the way to the end and clicked on more than two of the song links, you are officially a masochist. Congratulations.


Anonymous said...

I must admit that I am an avid fan of football. I want add that the keeper does take a lot of punishment during a game from strikers. Again, another kinky expression. And, what can be more humiliating than receiving a yellow card by a ref in front of thousands of people. A player is forced to stand in a submissive position while they are admonished for their actions.

Interesting post.


Guvnor said...

Xlent Ludwig Bloody Xlent :-)


Julia said...

Haha, I didn't have to click on the links, know them. Lol. You are funny, my sister has been bombarding Facebook with her favorite soccer team, seems very German to me, but I just never got into it, at all. Happy Weekend!


Try being a Cricket fan instead. The last big name to retire from the game in the UK was Freddie Flintoff and he decided to become a boxer instead. No crooning for Freddie :)


Lea said...

I am somewhat of a fan of what I call football but not the sport you call football. I didn't know that former soccer players were known for their terrible singing. Reminds me of when Shaq came out with a rap album.

Donpascual said...

Nice Ludwig,

you evidently spent some time on this post, deriding these "crimes against humanity". However, in order to do this, you had to listen to them.
Doesn't that make you a masochist by definition, too? :-)).

vincent said...

"an experience the English fans never have to make because England always goes out earlier."

In a lesson on the subtleties of English - "because England always goes out earlier."" - is completely unnecessary.

It can be taken as understood without explanation.