The 2012 Euro Cup is Half Empty

Well, that didn’t go so great. The 2012 Euro Cup Group of Death continues, and the Dutchman is an unhappy Dutchman at the moment. However, all is not lost. The Oranje play Portugal on Sunday. It’s time to settle the score after the Battle of Nuremberg in 2006. This is the famous World Cup match in which a record four red cards and an unprecedented 16 yellow cards were issued between the Portuguese and Dutch teams, thus setting a new record for number of cards shown during a FIFA game.

Disclaimer: Now before anyone actually thinks I know anything about soccer, let me go ahead and clear that up. I don’t. I mean look at me, I refer to it as “soccer,” not “football” or even “voetbal.” It’s just that when you are married to a Dutchman, you kind of need to learn these things: Like how to make kroketten and bitterballen, how to get used to Dutch “directness,” how to make a sprinkles sandwich, and how to accept the color orange when you previously thought it was such an awful color that only tacky Florida Gators wore it with their jean shorts ensemble.

This two-year-old kid knows more about Dutch soccer than I do. The poster of the Dutch National team poster has only been hanging in cute little Noah’s room for two days, but he knows all of the names of the players:

I think I need to take a lesson or two from him. In the meantime, I am sticking to the things I do know: I started a new sewing project. I am making taggie blankets for some friends with new babies.

While Bert and the boys get ready for Sunday, let’s all enjoy some moves by my favorite player, Wesley Sneijder.

Oh yeah, please wish me luck. I am going back to Georgia to surprise my Dad for Father’s Day and hang out with my family for a couple of days. So in other words, I am going to attempt to watch the Netherlands vs. Portugal match with my parents (two people who even know less about soccer than I do). This means I will be the soccer “expert.” What a scary thought.

Orange vs Oranje

Alright, it’s that time again. Time to put out the flag, set the Tivo, and drape anything that won’t move in orange. It’s time for some Dutch soccer! Hup Holland Hup!

Now I am a Southern girl and I live for SEC Football. Football in the South is second in attendance by its faithful; only slightly behind weekly church services. I love my Georgia Bulldogs. Junkyard Dawgs, Herschel, Vince, Irk, Larry Munson, the Redcoats, playing ‘tween the Hedges, Sanford Stadium, Uga…need I go on?  I am pretty sure the blood running through these veins is red and black. I grew up with an English Bulldog named Georgia Dawg, for goodness sake. As long as you don’t wear orange (that means you Tennessee Volunteers, Auburn Tigers and, ugh, Florida Gators), you are alright by me.

However, I have come to embrace the color orange. Sacrilege!

I was raised to think: “Who would actually WANT to wear orange? Such a garish color, it will blind you if you stare at it a little too long!”  However, once my husband came into my life, I began to understand how significant the color orange –or oranje as the Nederlanders say– was to the Dutch. The Royal House of Orange, the Orangemen, Go Orange!, etc. Once I understood that this particular color had such a long, storied and proud history with the Dutch people, I began to soften…albeit slowly. Orange tulips from the market appeared on our table, orange earrings were worn with my favorite black sweater, and soon I began carrying an orange Kate Spade purse.

Honestly, orange is a great color…as long as it is for representing the Netherlands. It’s still a tacky, hideous color if it is associated with any rival football teams that play my beloved Bulldogs.

So, here we are, a couple of days before the 2012 Euro Cup begins. The Dutch flag is hanging up in our home and the bunting will come out tomorrow. The menu full of Dutch delights is being planned, and my Wesley Sneijder #10 orange jersey is in the wash as we speak. The first match against Denmark this Saturday is Tivo’ed and ready to go.

Go Orange! I mean, “Go Oranje!”