On Sunday, the definition of “tragedy” was rewritten. Mainz 05, the local football team lost the race for the third promotion spot to Germany’s premier league, Bundesliga, by a single goal, and a single second, to local rival Eintracht Frankfurt. Both teams had scored 59 points in 33 games. Befor the last, and decisive, game, they were separated only by goal difference: Eintracht Frankfurt’s was one goal better.
The race was too close to call. At half-time, Frankfurt led 3:1 and Mainz led 2:0 against their respective opponents. Nothing had changed. But then Mainz scored twice while Frankfurt got two goals. Frankfurt would have to score four goals now – or three, should Mainz get one. A rather improbable scenario 80 minutes into the games.
Nonetheless, this is what happened. After Mainz got the 4:1 Frankfurt scored three goals in seven minutes, the 6:3 literally in the last second of the game’s extension leaving Mainz’ players and supporters (like myself) in a numbed state somewhere between disbelief and denial.
It was heart-breaking to see so many people burst into tears – again. Pretty much the same thing happened about a year ago in Berlin. It just was not fair.
But life often isn’t – despite our Hollywood inspired tendency to believe in happy ends. In life, we have to fight the obstacles without guaranteed success. But if we’re lucky, we have someone who fights with us. And I suppose the team of Mainz 05 is lucky.
They will never walk alone.