The fact that the Chancellor and the national coach spoke to the nation on the same day last week was a mere coincidence of the crisis calendar. Nevertheless, the messages that Angela Merkel and Joachim Low brought to the public on Wednesday had something in common: their drastic and emphatic unprecedented role in the work of these two representatives were of the highest rank – and they obviously moved a lot of people, albeit on very different ways.
While Merkel spoke in her television speaking about the greatest social challenge since the Second World War and asked the citizens for solidarity and support with unprecedented emphasis, Low painted an almost dystopian picture when he attested to the world a “collective burnout”. He had the feeling, said the national coach, from Freiburg, at home, that he watched the video of the German Football Association’s press conference in Frankfurt, “that the earth is a little resisting and defending itself against people and their actions. Because people always think that he knows everything and can do everything. “
These were big words, which also had a strange overtones, somewhere between esoteric and religious, as if the Corona curse, if not if it were due to anger from the gods, was at least due to an ominous effect of the world spirit. But on the other hand, it is indeed one of the findings of rationalistic science that humans and their interventions in the biodiversity of the planet, their penetration into the sphere of (wild) nature are responsible for the emergence of pandemics, possibly also in the future.
Low scourges society’s values
Above all, Low seemed to have hit the nerve on another level. When he, in the black existentialist sweater, scourged the values that would have determined society in the end and urged to deal with one another differently. “The pace that we set was beyond beat,” he said. “Power, greed, profit, even better results, records were in the foreground”, environmental disasters and diseases, on the other hand, have been marginalized. This also sounded a bit wrong from the mouth of a person whose job profile consists first of all in producing results and records. On the other hand, it was probably what many are thinking, regardless of Corona. And that Low, like Oliver Bierhoff, had apparently given his employer the signal to waive part of his salary, came into the picture.
It is not the first time that Low dares to take a strong socio-political throw-in. As a result of winning the 2014 World Cup, he increasingly positioned himself in this field, for example at the awarding of the German media prize in the same year when he described the national team as “foreign ministers playing football” and their role model for integration and against racism, anti-Semitism, violence and Highlighted xenophobia. Or in September 2017, when German fans in Prague caused a scandal with Nazi slogans.
One only likes to forget these moments because the ball – at least until just – kept rolling so quickly and because Low then retreated back into his cocoon just as quickly – a bit like the Chancellor. As it seems at all, he oscillates between unconditional empathy, which he had sorely missed in his time as a player, and a self-contained distance. The international players of his generation of world champions have often praised the human side as Low’s special quality, moreover, he also led him on the politically wrong track at the beginning of the Ozil-Gundogan affair before the 2018 World Cup. When it was a question of listening to the team and winning them over to a solidarity campaign in the face of the crisis, Bierhoff was asked again.
Therefore, and because in moments like these Low is not only empathetic but at the same time a little overdriven, you can get the impression that it is always about clarifying your own relationship with the world, small losses of control, internal shocks that are not sovereign but show a seeker. It was certainly not statesmanlike what Joachim Low said this week, so Angela Merkel should never say. The fact that it still touched many people was due to something else: it was the voice of a caring citizen and person. And who wouldn’t that be these days?