German-isms and Fußball.

As I mentioned the other day, we’re deep into EuroCup madness over here. This led to an amusing conversation in my lesson on Monday, when one of my students mumbled something about “Arschkarte,” and the rest started giggling like small children. And of course I can’t just let them go… I fully support them distracting the lesson as long as they do it in English. Also I allow swearing as long as they do it in English. It’s my entertainment. But back to the asscard. 

With a little help from his classmates, my student was able to explain this German expression to me.* In football and in German, the ‘red card’ is sometimes referred to as the ‘ass card.’ The explanation for this is that in the olden days (not in former times), when TVs were black and white, people couldn’t tell which card was being pulled on the players. So they started putting the red card in the back pocket instead. Hence, ass card. Logic, I love it. The complete idiomatic expression for this is, “die Arschkarte ziehen,” – or – “to pull the ass card.” It’s the German equivalent to “getting the short end of the stick,” or however you prefer to say “to be unlucky.”

To be honest, I’ve never paid that much attention to where the refs pull cards from, so I have no idea if the cards are still in the back pocket, or if my students were just yanking my chain on this whole thing. Some days I’m not sure. Tonight is the final match of the first round, so you can bet that I will be paying extra attention to the Germany/Denmark game to see just where those cards come from! 

German flags on display are a rare sighting… except during football time.

 *Feel free to correct me on any of this if necessary.


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