Eight Days of World Cup Bliss: World Cup 2006 in Review: by Ultimate Sports Wife, Nicole

Eight days of World Cup extravaganza may be all that I can take. The beer, the brats, the Fanfests all require the endurance of a seasoned frat boy fatten by a school yearís worth of beer-bonging.

This is my second World Cup and the Germans were truly gracious hosts to the world. When I say "world," I don't mean it in the figurative sense like the Olympics. I mean: the entire World seemed to show up to this World Cup. This was quite a contrast to the previous Japan-Korea World Cup in 2002 where distance and fear of Hooliganism impeded Japan and Korea's ability to let loose and embrace the spirit of World Cup Football. In order to find English-speaking fans to chat with, we found the one Irish bar in Tokyo (a difficult task) in order hang with the Scots, the Brits and the Irish. Plus, the Tokyo police were standing outside the bar in full riot gear on the chance that cheering for a team might erupt into bouts of hooliganism. In fact, the Japanese purchased a large quantity of enormous, XXXL handcuffs on the chance that football thugs might terrorize the country.

Given this previous experience, this World Cup was truly amazing in contrast. Here is what struck me most about this World Cup: You could cheer on your team, paint your face, fake tattoo your entire body, all in honor of your countryís team, and this is perceived as positive and good-natured - rather than hostile and something to fight over.

Since I am a Bears fan (who hates the Vikings and Packers) and a Cubs fan (who hates the White Sox and the Cardinals), I am not used to expressing pride for my team without exhibiting hatred for my rivals. So, watching the Brazilians or the French parade through the streets while wearing their countryís flag as a cape...well, that sports fans, is merely one step away from achieving world peace. Not to mention, every game that I saw had a stadium-wide wave that would circle the 70,000 person venue 9 or 10 times around. It didn't matter who was playing - Ghana, Tunisia, France, Germany or Ecuador, the World Cup waves were truly the universal symbol of peace amongst fans.

Enough of the camaraderie of the World Cup, let's talk about something far more emotionally packed than world peace or harmonious cultural relations; letís talk beer. At this World Cup, when you weren't in one of the stadiums, you were probably in the Fanfests or in the pubs. Regardless, Germany was one big beer garden to explore. This meant doing some heavy lifting, of course: Liters of Beer (see picture below) as well as indulging in some brats with your beer.

Hence, there is a tear in my eye: the world peace, the spirit of harmony, the smell of brats and the taste of a Liter or two of beer...well, call me a light weight but eight days of this bliss is just about all I could...or should take.