Yet Another World Cup Post

By JoAnne Hewett | June 27, 2006 5:32 pm

Well, it seems that World Cup fever is everywhere – even with me a hardcore baseball adict. For the first time, I find myself checking the schedules and the progress. I haven’t graduated to watching the games yet, but I am still following it. Partly because I’m in Germany this week (yet another committee meeting). Today was my day off and I went to Cologne to photograph the cathedral. (It rained. All day. Persistently. All my photos show dreay dull grey skies with a rather dark pollution stained cathedral in the foreground. Ho hum…) But, first thing I noticed upon walking out of the train station is that Brasil was in town! Go Brasil!!! They must have been on their way from Dortmund to Frankfurt. They gotta win – they’ve got the most outrageous fans! (And my pixels didn’t even catch the people with the yellow green & blue hair!)

  • Leo

    Welcome to Cologne JoAnne! Isn’t that a nice place? I love the lived pluralism now during the World Cup, people from all over world celebrate together and have a great time. Be sure to stay till Friday when Germany beats Argentinia! You will see a city going nuts. Ah, and don’t forget to visit Düsseldorf, the undoubtedly most beautiful city in the world :)

  • Simon

    You’re in Germany and you’re not going to see a match?

    If you’re still in the country on Friday, you owe it to yourself to watch Germany play, even if just for the people studying oportunity. Find a bar showing it (and realistically, the difficulty would be finding one not showing it) and soak up the atmosphere!

  • Urbano

    Well, as a Brazilian, I should acknowledge the “extra support” :-)! I (of course) hope we win, and that the victory deserves a whole new post here on July 9th 😉

  • B

    Hi JoAnne, welcome to Germany :-)

    Two days ago I read a funny story in the FR about two British guys who went to Cologne to see a soccer game. They parked their rental car somewhere around the cathedral. Since they were afraid they wouldn’t find their car later, they wrote down the street name. It didn’t help very much though, they weren’t able to find the car and had to ask the police for help. What they wrote down was ‘Einbahnstrasse’ (One way Street) 😉

    Here is the original (German) article

    Best, B.

  • JoAnne

    I would love to watch the Germany-Argentina game on Friday – how could I miss that since I am here in Germany! It’s at 17:00, and I’m stuck in a meeting until 18:45. This is going to be an incredibly dumb question, but how long do these “football” matches last? I must admit that I’ve never actually seen one. Will I be able to at least catch the tail end? The sacrifices one makes for physics…. (OK, I looked it up on wiki and see there are 2 halves of 45 min each, so I might catch the tail end allowing time for time-outs and commercials and stuff and assuming I can run to the hotel bar quickly. Yes!)

    B: That is really funny. I could see myself doing that, afterall, if it ends in a “strasse,” it must be a street name, right?

  • of Brum

    commercials? lol, they don’t stop football for commercials. There is a 15 minute rest at half time though. If there’s extra time you’ll make it for that I expect, but not the regular 90 mins. Sorry!

  • Q

    What ‘meeting’ in Germany could ‘possibly’ be more important than Germany vs Argentina in a ‘collider’ eliminator scenario, sorry on a soccer pitch.
    Are you sure anyone else will be at the meeting. And if they are German will they not insist on a ‘giant’screen, and either postpone the meeting or bring the meeting forward.

  • Matthias

    There are no meetings in Germany at that time….you must have mixed up the dates or something :)

  • JoAnne

    I am desparately hoping that the German participants will ensure that the meeting ends early! Otherwise, we are locked in a windowless (and TV-less) room until 18:45….

  • Chip

    …didn’t know you were hard-core baseball!

  • Chip

    …didn’t know you were hard-core baseball! That soccer thing…that’s the round ball that people kick, right?

  • chimpanzee

    I saw some TV coverage, I think there have been some fights/riots already in Germany (I remember there were some big ones at the last World Soccer Cup). I view the World Cup like Particle Physics: groups of big-name teams (Harvard, Caltech, Stanford, Fermilab, Argonne, CERN, et al) with some cinderella teams (Oklahoma St, Florida St, et al) going for the Big Prize (“Big Discovery”). It’s Game Theory in practice, highly competitive but at the same time some cameraderie/sportsmanship: Competition is good for the raises the skill-levels. National Pride (university reputation) is on the line, lots of emotion.

    MIT & Caltech (undergrads) have this HUGE rivalry, one-upmanship to outdo the other..”pranks”. The famous one was back in ’84 Rose Bowl, when Caltech undergrads broke into the Rose Bowl control room (totally illegal) to figure out the radio-frequencies for scoreboards. Late in the game, when UCLA was creaming Illinois (my alma mater, BTW) 45 to 9..UCLA was replaced by “Caltech” & Illinois was replaced by “MIT”. Some Caltech spoofers should be “hired” for the Argentina/Germany game: spoof the scoreboard with CERN vs Fermilab.

    The whole Video-on-Demand (“you watch WHEN you want, WHERE you want”)revolution is the perfect answer for Joanne’s schedule conflict. TIVO is based onthe concept of time-shifting: you can leave the room w/o missing anything. To extend that “time-base correction” concept further, you have VoD (Video on Demand). The last ’06 Rose Bowl was put on a video-podcast the next-day (ABC actually showed a video-iPod during the broadcast). Just like I put some lectures on the SUSY ’06 video-podcast, the World Cup should be doing the same thing..especially for people all-over-the-world who can’t watch games because of odd-hours. The last Winter Olympics had a lot of website videos (ice-skating competition, of certain competitors)..which was a success: You could selectively watch your favorite competitor (as opposed to be watching LIVE TV, where you were forced to watch stuff you weren’t interested in).

  • chimpanzee

    Baseball. I remember in the late 60’s when I was in grade-school, & the St. Louis Cardinals/Bob Gibson (Joanne’s team) were in the World Series. The P.E. teacher brought a radio to school, & everyone gathered around it. One of my HS classmates was a huge Cardinals fan, & he/family just ditched school to goto St. Louis to watch playoff games. Playing Hookey. When I was a grad-student (’78), I brought a radio to my office to listen to the playoffs. The infamous Yankee/Red Sox game, where Bucky Dent hit a dramatic home run. I used to audio-tape baseball games (Pirates, over KDKA), & playback highlights..still have those tapes. At this ’83 conference, I wore a Pittsburgh baseball-cap & t-shirt..everyone else was formally dressed. Another guy (U. Mass/Amherst) was dressed in a jogging-suit, so we became good friends aftterwards since we were the “conference rebels”. I can still remember a couple of gals (NYIT & Penn) smiling/laughing at my attire (some old stuffy “suits” in the back had facial expressions of “dissatisfaction”). I wore the same baseball cap to my PhD final, so my baseball fandom was a constant thing during Academia.

    BTW, that conference was the week of the NCAA finals (Univ of Houston/”Phi Slamma Jamma” VS NC State Wolfpack). This was the famous game, where Jim Valvano/NCState was running around the melee after their last-minute basket gave them the win (seen constantly on ESPN highlights). I nearly stood up & asked an evening special-session be postponed so I could watch this game.

    Back to Baseball. There was a Science Channel episode on Baseball. A Brown University Physics professor came on & commented “The physics of baseball pitches is tougher than Rocket Science”. He is referring to sub-sonic aerodynamic flow, turbulence (“Chaos Theory”). My dad (CFD/Computational Fluid Dynamics specialist) told me this area is “controversial”’s not well understood. He was on the Search Committee that brought S. Wolfram to UIUC (triple appt: Math, CS, Physics), & one of his early papers was on dad’s influence I think. (I think there is a Cellular Automata model of turbulent flow in ANKOS). I heard the term “Monte Carlo [ Method ]” bandied about in the recent SUSY ’06 conference, I think they are referring to Computaional Statistical Mechanics: FEM (Finite Element Method) computer-modeling . The modeling of subsonic flow (“downforce” for Formula 1 wing-designs, the whole wing-thing came from a Caltech grad Jim Hall) is very difficult, it seems to defy Monte Carlo modeling (“Wind Tunnel on a computer”). The Formula 1 teams use mainly wind-tunnel testing (“empiricism”, trial & error..Ferrari has 2 wind-tunnels running 24 hrs/day), although they do have a team of CFD experts on staff. So you see, the same situation is for modeling subsonic flows around a dang baseball: it’s more difficult than Rocket Science (supersonic & hypersonic flows are better understood). How a pitcher can make a baseball “dance” 60 ft away (fork ball, curve ball, splitter, knuckle-ball, slider, etc), is a real mystery in terms of “theory”. “Real World Knowledge” scores a point here, over “Book Knowledge”.

    If you could solve the problem of subsonic-flow, & demonstrate Feature/Benefit to Auto-Racing & could make a LOT of $$.

  • B

    Hi JoAnne, one way or the other you won’t miss the important facts. Just open a window and hear whole Germany burst in ‘OOhhs’ and ‘Aaaahs’.

    (Btw, the last time I saw a soccer game on TV was about 20 years ago. I am afraid I will be tied down in front of a TV on Friday. My ex insists I am not allowed to miss it. About the only thing I know about soccer is that the ball is round and some people kick it.)

    Best, B.

    PS: Yeah, the one way streets are confusing (same in Frankfurt around the Cathedral). What is scary though is that the British guys apparently didn’t know what the sign means. But then, they always drive on the wrong side of the street anyhow, so who cares.

  • Nicole

    I made a similar mistake when I first moved to Germany (was there for 2 years). I knew the word for street (Strasse), and saw about 3 signs before I remarked out loud to my German boyfriend, “That’s strange, there’s another street named ‘Einbahnstrasse'”. Then I had the misfortune to realize my error. Sometimes ignorance is more comfortable.

    I’m watching the World Cup with a bunch of Europeans from various nations. The enthusiasm is catchy, but the faked injuries and dives almost ruin it for me. It’s cheap. If the crowd could only see the instant replays as we can on TV (they can’t, can they?) then perhaps the booing would force them to stop. But when it flows and there’s a beautiful goal, it’s very exciting.

  • Will

    A quick comment, as someone who lived in Cologne for two and a half years, the rain is normal! It’s a wonderful city though, I love it.

    The world cup has been a lot of fun so far!

  • JoAnne

    We just asked if we could use the beamer to show the World Cup game during our meeting, and were given very stern looks accompanied by a solid NO. So, we’ll just have to talk fast and try to finish early!

  • Amara

    Hey, that’s funny. I experienced the one way street name confusion when I moved to Germany too (1998-2002), but I rode only a bicycle at the time so the danger factor was reduced (maybe). The best way to enjoy that game tomorrow evening, JoAnne, will not only to be surrounded by Germans and Argentinians but to also be savoring a hefe-weizen dunkel with a slice of the best bread in the world. Enjoy!

  • JoAnne

    So, during the meeting today, I (and everyone sitting next to me) followed the game on my laptop. The meeting finished with 2 minutes left in the regular game. We were all tremendously pleased that it went into overtime and we could watch part of the game! We were supposed to leave for our prearrange dinner – but then the kick-offs started….None of us got up for dinner and the pre-arranged taxis had to wait until it was over. I have no idea why, but I desparately rooted for Germany during the match.

  • Amara

    July 4th in Dortmund!

  • Leo

    YEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! We did it!!!!! Thanks for your support JoAnne!

  • adam

    Wayne Rooney, chav extraordinaire. Thanks for nothing.

  • chimpanzee

    I just watched the Portugal/England game, it also came down to a PK shootout. I flew back to Frankfurt on Lufthansa, & they had this great video about the World Cup: famous German player, & lots of coverage of Portugal. I liked their comments so much, I wrote them down on my notebook. I’m a fan of sports tactics/strategy (“Win as a Team, Lose as a Team”), because I feel that Science lacks the Discipline/Teamwork that Sports has. I plan on writing a manual, that shows interviews & transcripts of championship teams: Baseball, Football, Soccer, Hockey.

    Sports (or any) competition is basically “Chess on the Gridiron”, i.e. Game Theory in Practice.

    “Risk Management..”
    Bobby Baldwin, youngest Poker Champion (at the time)

    Mark Wise/Caltech physics prof (he stood in for D. Politzer a few yrs ago, for the Nobel Prize) is a fan of Finance & “risk management”. During any game, & the Portugal/England game, I heard the commentators refer to Portugal’s strategy of “hanging back”. I.e., they were taking a conservative approach..NOT taking unnecessary risks. Risk Management. Taking risk for an offensive-chance, may give the opponent (England) a “transition opportunity” for a score. I noticed Figo (Portugal, came out of Int’l retirement) took himself out of the game late..because of exhaustion. This is a reflection of Portugal’s conservative strategy (like Chess: Beginning Game, Middle Game, End Game): “if you go too hard in the beginning & middle, you may run out-of-steam at the End”. Games are often won at the end (“if you’re gonna lead a lap in auto-racing, you must lead the last lap in order to win”), so I think Portugal’s coach realized this. Marathon runners are famous for conserving their energy (“some fuel in their tank at the end”), & make a big “kick” at the end.

    Both teams had opportunities late in competition, they were going for a goal..which would have been devastating for their opponent (with time running out). As it turned out, Portugal won the PK shootout..their goalkeeper Ricardo came up BIG..stopped a number of chances. There you go, a good goalkeeper (especially, one who gets HOT during the playoffs) is like GOLD. If he is a “total wall” (utlimate defensive stop) the opponent, then your team will most likely win. It’s just like in Baseball:

    “You can always find good hitters, it’s hard to find good pitching (& defense). You can never find enough good pitching”

    That’s why during playoffs, teams scramble to trade/acquire •experienced• pitchers. A few yrs ago, the Oakland A’s top pitcher just basically ran-out-of-steam during the late-season, he was beaten by the California Angels in a critical showdown series. The whole thing about Endurance/Attrition came into play.

    “Good players play, but TOUGH players wind Championships”
    Tom Izzo, Michigan State coach

    The team that wins the World Cup, may not be the BEST team on paper..but the one who stays away from Injury, Penalties, Who-Wants-It-The-Most (Emotion is a big part of this). An Enduring team.

    “Victory belongs to the most Persevering”
    — Napoloeon

    I remember the last World Cup, when Brazil beat Germany..the German goal keeper said:

    “Yes, I made a mistake [ Ronaldo score on him to open the floodgates ], & we were PUNISHED”

    I like this quote, because this demonstrates that German team understands the concept of “Negative Reinforcement”. This is something sports-teams practice all the time (benching players, firing managers, etc)..& what Academia has a PROBLEM with. I just heard a bizarre story coming out of Caltech Physics, from a former LIGO grad student. (tell you later, it’s about an out-of-control physics woman prof there who abuses grad students & the Provost..throwing things!). Academia can take a real lesson from Sports teams:

    “We really appreciate your “contribution” (saracasm), but we’re really going to miss you [ you’re outta here! ]”
    John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach, aka “Wizard of Westwood”

    [ as told by Bill Walton on PBS show, legendary UCLA center ]

    The problem with Academia, is they don’t have a program of “Checks & Balances” to weed out the deadwood & troublemakers. (“The difference between a Tenure Professor & a Terrorist, is that you can negotiate with a Terrorist”, as told to me by my old prof who became Dept Head/EE/Univ of Michigan, the day before 9-11)

    I’d like to see Brazil & Germany in a re-match from the last World-cup playoffs, that would be a GREAT game. Can you imagine the fan-interest all over the world? That game could have ratings “thru the roof”. I’m beginning to like Portugal (their young Ronaldo who sealed the PK shootout, & their goalkeeper Ricardo who has the “right stuff”). I remember Germany in the last World Cup, they looked REAL TOUGH..always applying pressure (offense & defense)

    “There are 2 types of Pressure: that which is Felt, & that which is Applied”
    — John Fox, Carolina Jaguars head coach
    [ he learned under the legendary Bill Parcells ]

    I think Germany has the right “pressure points” to go all the way. “Deutschland uber Alles!!”

  • damtp_dweller


    This stream of consciousness style of writing that you have is bizarre.

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