Sports

Super Bowl 50 (Or: Yay! Expats can watch too)

Guess what I am currently doing at 12:11 am? Watching the Super Bowl on our Apple TV via the CBS sports app!

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The best part is that it is through CBS so you get access to the commercials as well. For a few years we had an NHL app and the commercials were blocked on there due to it being shown internationally.

Marco and I both have the day off tomorrow so we can stay up extra late, provided the stream cooperates. But it is fun to be able to watch NFL again, and fun to see the commercials. I’ve missed it. For a few years we could see the big game on Dutch TV but with Dutch commentary. It sucked. They spent most of the game explaining how football worked. (Looks like it is available again this year through Fox, still with the horrible Dutch commentary.)

But we will see how long this lasts. The stream keeps failing. Grrr. ūüôā

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Bike tricks (Or: Pro Freestyle in The Hague)

Last Sunday Marco and I came across the Pro Freestyle event being held at the Spuiplein.

The Hague Pro Freestyle 1

Performing tricks for the crowd

The three day event attracted about 35,000 visitors and featured freestyle BMX, skateboarding and more.

The Hague Pro Freestyle 2

The silhouette of a biker

The Hague Pro Freestyle 3

Once you’re done with your run you have to carry your bike up the stairs and do it all over again. Bonus: the awesome sky.

 

 

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Huh. That’s weird. (Or: Ado Den Haag at the top of the standings — briefly)

So while Marco and I were at Roger’s we happened to check Teletext¬†(a television information retrieval service). Imagine our surprise when we saw that Ado Den Haag won their game 4-1. Not surprised that they won per se, but surprised that this meant the football team was at the top of the standings for the¬†Eredivisie¬†(“Honor Division”, the highest Dutch football league).

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Of course the standings were recalibrated a few minutes later to include Ajax’s win, but for a few minutes there we were on the top of the world!

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Football (Or: Police and ADO Den Haag fans square off this Saturday)

Quick. Name one thing you do NOT mess with in the Netherlands.

 

…if you guessed football you would be correct.

In most if not all European countries, football is the sport. Fans eat, sleep and breathe football. Sometimes viewing multiple games on multiple devices (television, smart phone, tablet…) at the same time. It is a way of life.

Unfortunately you can expect issues if you try to get in the way of that. Even if you’re the police. The police have been striking at various times¬†over the least few months. I wrote about it back in May when 1,500 police officers protested around the Binnenhof. Of course it makes sense – they just want better pay. It’s not that much different from the farmers¬†striking in Belgium and France by¬†driving really slow on¬†highways and obstructing traffic.

But, again… it’s football. You just do not mess with football, people. Someone forgot to tell the police that. Most of the opening games for the Eredivisie are postponed due to police planning to strike during the scheduled game times – police actions which threaten not just ADO Den Haag’s game but also other games across the country this weekend. (Note: Dutch police threatened to strike during the opening days of the Tour de France in Utrecht, but that did not go through.)

Now ADO fans have a plan of their own. ‘Wij geen wedstrijd, hun geen staking‘¬†which¬†translates to¬†“No game for us? No strike for them.”¬†The plan is to have as many people as possible meet at the Plein in The Hague at the scheduled time of the game. A large group of people would require a similarly large police presence, which means that at least some of the police cannot strike during their planned strike time. It is an interesting tactic if you think about it!

Wij geen wedstrijd, hun geen staking

From Volkskrant.nl (linked above, Dutch article)

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Exhibition football (Or: The Netherlands vs the United States)

Friday night I went with a small group (Marco, Roger and Roger’s mom) to an exhibition football (soccer) game. The game was between the U.S. and the Netherlands and held at the Amsterdam ArenA. No, the last A is not a typo!

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The stands, before most arrived

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Orange streamers before the game started

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A note about the above picture. It looks like a flyer but if you look very closely you can see lines, each about an inch or an inch and a half apart, where it can be folded. It is a pretty thick cardboard, so when it is folded it becomes a very thin but powerful noisemaker. You smack it against your hand instead of clapping. And there was one at every single seat. Thanks to the stadium’s acoustics it is LOUD. Unfortunately it is nowhere near as powerful outside the stadium!

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You can see the football in the bottom right (the white streak) as the Dutch advance. About 2 seconds later they scored to go ahead 2-1.

Speaking of the score, with about 5 minutes to the Dutch were ahead 3-2. And then the Americans scored twice to win the game. With 5 minutes to go…

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Score at end: 4-3

Marco said it was because the American national team’s coach is from Germany and he was a great forward in the 1990’s. The Germans have a habit for coming back from behind at the end of the game. Regardless, it was definitely a fun experience.

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World Cup/Netherlands

ARGHHHHHHJHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Yes! Yes! Yes!

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Orange fever (Or: Dutchies take first place in group B)

Nederland 2 – Chili 0

The game between the Netherlands and Chile was closer than the score would show – the first Dutch goal was in the 77th minute by Leroy Fer and the second one was in extra time by Memphis Depay.

With this win, the Dutch take first place in their group (B) and play again Sunday at 6PM local time. Go Dutchies!

Blokker winkel orange World Cup decorations

‘Blokker’ store in The Hague with decorations

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Oranje tompouce (Or: The Dutchies win again!)

oranje tampouce in celebration of the World Cup

“tompouce”, a type of cake that goes with coffee. Here with a festive orange color due to the World Cup going on.

Nederland 3 –¬†Australi√ę 2

Woohoo. A much closer game but we survived. This time someone in the neighborhood had a lot of fireworks and set them off after we went ahead 3 to 2 (a bit premature if you ask me!). But we made it – and they set more firewoks off after the game was officially over.

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Wow (Or: Go Dutchies!)

oranje leeuw met voetbal

Spanje 1 – Nederland 5

Wow. Very cool to watch! After they scored, we would sometimes turn off the volume briefly and just listen to everyone shouting outside.

And as much as Marco likes to say otherwise, he was shouting at the tv too!

I have to say my favorite goal was the “flying Dutchman” goal by van Persie – a header right before the half to tie the score at 1-1.

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From Marco (Or: Christmas countdowns and Zonderland’s gold)

Niki mentioned a few times that for our various trips we’ve had countdown clocks to well..count down to the moment we’d be together again.
When she came over in December 2010 (and only Roger and I knew about her arrival) I decided to mix things up,¬†make an advent type of calendar. Every day a new little ‘treat’, another (lower) number.

It started out as a joke, when it snowed on December 1st, and I drew the number 24 in the snow (24 more days until Christmas in NL)
Then it grew from there and I tried to come up with something new and original every day.
Often the number was either some randomly found digit, a few times I made one myself (like a 17 out of ‘hagelslag’ or a 3 out of jalapenos, or a 24 out of chicken fingers) and I even used a flyer for the pizza place across the street because it had a big seven on it.

The final picture of course, December 24 –one day till Christmas– was taken when Niki was already here (she arrived on the 23rd)
We have only two more countdowns ahead of us. Well, not true. I’m sure we’ll do more.
Counting down until the weekend, counting down to vacations, anniversaries, etcetera etcetera.

Soon of course the final countdown will start (cue the cheesy Europe song) Wooohooo.

In other news; During the Olympics we often get to watch sports we usually don’t see on tv.
Gymnastics is one of them. Today a Dutchie wrote history by winning ‘our’ first ever gymnastics medal, and it’s gold.
OMG. I know little about the high bar, but his routine was so much more spectacular than his fellow competitors.
The aerial moves he did have never been done before (in competition) as he combined 3 difficult moved into one crazy flowing display of awesomeness.

Do yourself a favor, look around for a proper video. And IF you can, watch it with the Dutch commentary.
The man goes nuts, and rightfully so. Amazing. It makes the routine even more spectacular.

[Edited to add by Niki: There’ s a proper video at nos.nl but it’s not viewable if you have an American IP address. Try this YouTube video but it might disappear at any moment.]

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