“This is it. Don’t get scared now!”
– Kevin McCallister
Big Day today, the opening of European Football Championships, known as Euro 2012 hosted byPoland together with Ukraine. 5 games will be played on a newly built National Stadium in my city, first of them tonight. Hundreds of thousands of people are suppose to come here from all over Europe during the period of next three weeks. This has never happened before. This is going to be a crazy June. There’s nowhere to run. We need to face it.
This tournament is one of the biggest sport events in the world and Poland has been preparing for it for the last five years. It was a great challenge for our country because we had to built almost all from the scratch. Four new stadiums, new higways, new train connections, renewed railway stations, repaired roads and so on, and so on… Normally, it would take us 20 years to build that all. I’m sure that nothing is 100% ready but let’s be honest: we’re not in Germany 🙂 Poles are not the champions of organization and I’m really, deeply amazed that we’ve achieved that much. I’m sure there will be a lot of minor shortcomings, but generally all should work fine. I’m not worried about organisation issues, the only trouble can be made by some idiots so “proud” of their nationality that they can offend any person coming from the outside world.Well, like anywhere else in the world, we’ve got some ass-holes here too…
Out of 16 national teams taking part in the competition, 12 are camped in Poland, even those that are about to play their matches in the Ukraine. So right now we’ve got here the large collection of absolutely top world and european football stars. Thousands of people come to see their open training sessions and local communities in the villages and cities where the teams are stationed are excited as hell. The Polish team… Well, milions of people belive our team will be successful and at least will be promoted to the play-offs. But I would call it wishful thinking. It’s the best team we’ve had for years but still not good enough to beat Germany, Russia or even Greece.
Yesterday, we saw the opening of huge Fan Zone in the middle of the city. The vast area around the Warsaw Palace of Culture is the place where football fans can watch all the games on huge displays, drink, eat and have fun in general. There’s enough space to hold up to 100 thousands of people there. The first day it was visited by 50 thousands, although no game was played yet! That can tell a lot about the excitement many Poles feel about the upcoming tournament.
There are of course many bad sides of being the host country of such event, but let’s say this post is about more optimistic feelings I have about it. Anyway, tonight at 6 PM in Warsaw we’ll see the beginning of something very special. Wish us luck!