It began as all adventures do: with the requisite preparations and the expected mass hysteria.

The school (not all of itjust its most noisy elements) was headed to Basel to watch the US team taking on Switzerland in soccer. I nearly stayed homemostly because people had signed up for seating in neat little groups and I found myself groupless. But I went anyway and didn’t regret it!

I thought my evening might have been doomed when I arrived at the stadium with a car-load of painted ladies only to realize that I had removed my ticket from my camera bag back home in Riedlingen. I was now groupless AND ticketless.. But I decided to persevere and went to stand in the ticket-sales line in the hope there might still be one available. A kind Swiss man with a friendly smile saw me standing in line and came up to me holding out a ticket. I told him that I’d love to buy it from him, but my cash was in the car…and he said, in Swiss German, “Just take it. It’s yours.” And off I went with a big goofy smile on my face!

Trauma number two came quickly. The security people informed me that I couldn’t take my camera into the stadium. EXCUSE ME?? Unless you have experience arguing with Swiss security guards, I highly recommend that you refrain from ever attempting it. I tried out my entire arsenal of pleading, to no avail. So off I went to check my camera (ouch) before climbing into the nose-bleed section of the bleachers: last row, dizzyingly high, disappointingly quiet.

I was now groupless, ticketless, cameraless and cheeringless. One more “less” and I might have needed an Valium. I remedied one of the “lesses” fairly quickly by finding an empty seat in a MUCH rowdier section (right behind the Sonne moronsterm of endearment), which made my heart crinkle with happiness.

But how was I supposed to immortalize the evening without my camera in hand? I despaired…and then I remembered that I’d scheduled my VCR to tape the game on Swiss TV. And it’s because of that brilliant (thank you very much) move that I can share with you the following pictures! Pardon the lack of claritytaking photos of a television screen isn’t conducive to great resolution…but isn’t it fun that we made it into so much national coverage? I guess that much patriotic “uncoverage” (ie. partial nudity) pays off.

The national anthem began and, as the Swiss are foreign to the whole concept of patriotism, none of the organizers had apparently planned on having flags displayed for the players to turn to. The players looked around in confusion:

They had no idea what to do and just kind of rotated, looking for “the flag”…

Then one of them spotted the three million five hundred and twenty five thousand flags we were holding at our end of the field. (Mild exaggeration…) He pointed them out to his colleagues:

Twellman’s pointing at us!  Actually, I’d like to believe he’s pointing at me…

And they all turned toward our section of the bleachers (we’re so proud) to sing the national anthem. All together now:  Aww…

I must say that our student’s zeal as United States fans was a tad tinted by their inability to sing the national anthem without making up some lyrics and leaving out entire sections. Oh well. Their hearts were in the right placeeven though some of their hands were covering the wrong side of their chests.

The fabulous evening on TV was interspersed with great shots of the BFA crowd being…well…BFAish. Some of our MKs, quite confused by the whole nationality thing, brought flags from other countries to wave. They were confiscated by security, to be retrieved later.

BUT here’s the important part: WE WON. The only goal of the evening came 8 minutes from the end of the game, and though it owed more to dumb luck than to athletic genius, it clinched the game!

And it’s with happy hearts, weary bodies and exploded vocal chords that BFA’s cheerers headed home from an historic and memorable evening.





  1. I’m SO GLAD you went!! Great post. Almost makes me wish I was there!! What a weird cross-cultural experience it must have been..

  2. That is AWESOME!! Mish!!!! What a great time!!!! Man, I’m so proud of BFA 🙂 Love you!

  3. hey, i actually was watching this on wednesday night here in North Carolina on TV! i knew it wasn’t live (since it was 9 pm here) but i didn’t realize that they played just hours ago. i’ve been to St. Jacob’s park and i kept telling people who walked by that this game was going on 15 min from my house in germany.

    i wish i had known you would be there (and 299 other staff and students). i would have been crowd searching for you. haha, to be honest,i was really cheering for Switzerland. that is actually quite ironic because if i was in switzerland with BFA’s crowd I would have probably been cheering for America, but since I’m here in America i was cheering for Switzerland. gosh.

    did security really confiscate the other flags? haha, that cracks me up

  4. Hilarious good times. I’m so glad. I love that ya’ll led the team in the national anthem. I still don’t know which hand to put on my heart.

  5. michelle, thanks for keeping all us alumni (hateful word) up to date with life in the bubble, itz so great to see something which carries not only the events but the emotions of that school. and can you do me a favor, and next time u go over there, tell all the girls how wonderful they are and that i love them and miss them? thanks

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