It is July 2nd, 2010, at the end of one of the Quart Finals during the football World Championship in South Africa: The Netherlands vs. Brazil. In the 54th and 68th minutes (both Sneijder) the Dutch national team had caught up and taken the lead over Brazil, which had been leading since minute 10 (Robinho). People had crowded, coloring the little squares and sidewalk cafés in orange, now champing at the bit for the game to end successfully, and a (hopefully) exuberant party to start.
About 15 minutes before the end of the game, electricity broke down in most parts of the center of Nijmegen (including my neighborhood), with air-condition devices (July 2 was one of the hottest days of that year with temperatures in the 90s), beer pumps and all non battery-run broadcasting devices going on black res. falling silent.
Imagine the panic to arise in such a moment: your team is about to win a game of a lifetime, and suddenly all you see is your club colors reflected in your favorite pub’s blackened mega screen.
Yet headlessness reigned only for the wink of an eyelash, giving way to the pragmatism that people suggest is a character trait of this country and its people. In no time the crowds had rearranged, with supporters now flocking around portable radios, smart phones and other mobile sources.
In a street next to my house, a police patrol was doing the neighborhood a special service. Parking their car at the roadside, they were broadcasting the last minutes of the match via their built-in megaphone, with people gathering around, and suspense becoming almost unbearable before exploding into joy and excitement at the 2 : 1 final score.
Three minutes extra time …