Arzbach – Droitwich Trip 2012
Britain has been invaded! Well, Droitwich anyway. Yes, our little town was commandeered by our German counterparts, all the way from the picturesque dwelling of Arzbach, bringing with them familiar faces and new ones. Laughter and smiles were the anthem to the trip, with plenty of banter over the upcoming European Champions competition. While we differ in language, the similarities between us are endless from, a love and pride in our football to a different kind of love for beer.
For all those unaware, Droitwich Spa Boys & Girls has an annual trip to Arzbach, Germany as part of the Twinning Association. We take it in turns to visit each other and this year, it was Arzbach’s turn to visit us. This is the sixth year the exchange has taken place and it certainly has come a long way from 2007, the first trip where a mini bus of a meager fifth teen travelled to Arzbach. This year there was a party of over fifty.
The arrival on Wednesday was ultimately British, with the Cricket Club being transformed into tea room in honour of the Diamond Jubilee. There was tea, coffee and enough cake to keep even Marie Antoinette happy. Thursday, our German visitors took a trip up to Ragley Hall which unfortunately was washed out by the rain, barbeques were cancelled and instead half of the party descended on the Hungry Horse for dinner and merriment.
Friday arrived and the traditional football tournament was upon us. However in true British fashion so was the rain. But we soldiered on. It was all hands to the barbeque, even if it was just to keep warm and the demand for hot drinks was so high that the lovely ladies who offered to serve them didn’t have a moment’s peace.
There were three age groups of teams; with the youngest being eight and the eldest being fifth teen. The teams were a mixture, with Germans playing among English and girls rising to challenge the boys in terms of skill and pace. There was a range of talents, with players stepping out of their comfort zones to try out new positions, working with different people and creating some memorable moments for all involved, including goals scored from almost half way, saves made by some who were almost half the size of the goals and skills and tricks you would expect to see from the likes of Ronaldo.
The rain and wind were persistent. However so were we. Mums dressed in fluorescent wellington boots, clutching umbrellas, stood on the sideline and cheered for English and German alike. Dads coached in dripping waterproofs with nothing but enthusiasm and encouragement. And of course, the players who fuelled the tournament with their tireless energy, as they continued to run around in their sodden, muddy football kits and chase a ball despite the efforts of most to get them to sit inside and warm up.
A moment should be taken to mention the numerous umbrellas that were tragically lost during the course of the day.
The healthy rivalry between the German and English almost outshone the sportsmanship as the old saying “It’s not the winning but the taking part that counts” went out the window. Teams battled incessantly through the pouring rain and the howling wind until only the final was left to be played.
Shivering and huddling like a colony of penguins, dedicated parents stood to watch as the efforts of the day were congratulated. Every participant received a medal, although everyone there deserved an award for sticking it out in the rain, which suspiciously stopped after everyone had left.
Friday night after drying off and warming up, the German visitors were treated to a night out at the Norbury Theatre to see a performance of Much Ado about Wenlock, and enjoyed an evening of entertainment.
And then in almost no time at all, it was Saturday and our final evening together. A party of 140 people crammed into Salwarpe Village Hall for an evening of barn dancing. At first many shied away from the idea of getting up and doing a “dose-do”, but once the first couples were up it was infectious and as entertaining to watch as it was to be involved.
The evening accumulated with the arrival of two flat screen TVs in order to watch Germany play Portugal in the opening rounds of the Euros. Lucky for us Germany won and it didn’t spoil the end to a fantastic weekend.
It would take ages to thank everyone involved, so let’s just say a heartfelt thank you to all.
Those who organised everything, everyone who worked behind the scenes, anyone who took people in and offered out their homes, anyone who stood in the rain to cheer on the players and everyone who made this weekend memorable.
Article by Megan Harrington