I first saw them coming on to the field dressed in their conventional garb of white on black. And maybe I should have gotten the hint.
The contenders were the same as those of the Euro 2008 final. Germany vs Spain. Back in 2008, Spain was a strong team. Now, a fraction of that genius team remains supported on the able shoulders of Casillas. But then somehow, after the showing against Argentina, the German side looked infallible! Fine, so you trounced England 4-1. But in comparison, England was a weak side. And then you beat the side that was expected to win the World Cup 4-0. And that was when the dream got ignited. I rooted for Germany even before the Euro final, and spent a day after Germany's loss feeling very sad. I flew the German flag on a car, spent hard earned money buying a German jersey. I believed in the team. And then came Paul!
Now, Paul the traitor German octopus, who perhaps has a bigger audience than the German team itself, had been correct in all its predictions thus far. But if you looked at precedents, he had predicted a German victory in the Euro final and he had been wrong. So when newspapers screamed of Paul predicting a German loss, I felt that maybe he was half German and half Spanish, and so, his psychic powers were going skewed when it came to choosing between Germany and Spain. I felt that he was wrong in 2008 and maybe he would end up being wrong this year. My flag and the use of my jersey sooooo depended on his being wrong.
And then they turned up not in their black on black garb, but rather in their conventional white on black outfit. Red flags and panic signals went off there and then. I wondered why. If the black on black clothes hadn't been washed, big deal at least the stench might have kept the Spanish defenders away! And then it appeared as if the German team wanted to prove Paul right. It looked as if they had a duty towards ensuring Paul was right. As if Paul had pleaded to the team saying, "Please let my projection be correct, or my owner will sell me off to the sea food restaurant." And I must applaud the compassion of the German team. Man, had Maneka Gandhi or PETA seen their resolve towards protecting Paul the octopus, they may have received the Magsaysay award for social good! And they managed to keep Paul alive, by losing pathetically to a Spanish team that in a crunch match played like a team possessed. Although thus far, their game had been strictly mediocre, suddenly yesterday, they stepped up their game to the 'Germany-Argentina' level. And complacence or compassion ensured that Germany played football with only foot and no ball!
At the end of the day, my jersey is still tucked in, as good as new, with no occasion to wear it. I don't want to walk around wearing it with people saying, "Oh they lost soooo badly to Spain!!!" I've had enough of derision and sympathy on Facebook to want any more in the real world. The flags, however are still flying on the car, not because of any reason, except that no one can find any more Spanish or Holland flags at any store anywhere! And Germany still cowers with pain at the mention of the word Spain.