After a long nine weeks, the Bundesliga returned to action this weekend with much anticipation, albeit behind closed doors.
Along with soccer fans from around the world, I was incredibly excited about the prospects of live soccer, even in a league I did not typically follow as closely. While I have been a very casual Dortmund supporter, watching the occasional match following Christian Pulisic and have been enamored by the Yellow Wall (Signal Iduna Park is very high on my list of stadium visits), as many new Bundesliga fans looked to find a team to support, I did as well.
I settled on Borussia Monchengladbach, the originators of DOOP, because I like supporting clubs who focus on youth development and club culture. As the weekend came closer, the prospect of a Saturday morning filled with live soccer was tantalizing. Especially with the morning starting off with the Revierderby between Dortmund and Schalke I hoped that the day would be filled with excitement. Above all, I hoped the return of live sports would be a slight return of normalcy and a signal of hope for our own league’s eventual return.
However, I was longing for sports as they used to be, and what we saw was nowhere near what soccer fans are used to. As I watched Dortmund dominate Schalke 4-0, typically I would have been ecstatic, but what I felt was hard to put into words. I truly appreciated watching the game unfold, but without fans in the stadium, the lack of atmosphere left me wanting more. As the final whistle blew, I was unsure how I felt. Am I happy that soccer is back in whatever form that is? Or am I disappointed and sad that the game I love won’t be the same for a very long time, and I am clinging to match day memories?
I am sure fans around the world are grappling with the same questions, and it is something we all must discern ourselves.
Regardless, Saturday morning was a reminder that just like everything in our lives, soccer in 2020 is not what we are used to and that is going to take some time getting used to. However confusing it may be, the beautiful game has returned, and maybe this is just the sort of hope we all need to get us through the months ahead.