Road Trip Kiev: Where Landon Donovan makes an appearence
KIEV, Ukraine -- Okay, so it wasn’t Landon Donovan and it wasn’t the new uniforms, but I spotted a Donovan jersey on the street near the Fan Zone earlier today. A small child wore the item in question. He was discussing the proper way to say “Euro 2012" with his equally small, American friend, presumably so they could impress their friends upon their arrival back in the States. I was tempted to ask them what they were doing, but their mom was close and no one wants to be the creepy, unshaven older dude asking a pair of nine year olds why they are half a world away. I also didn’t take a picture for exactly the same reason. But trust me: The Stars and Stripes are well represented on the Kiev streets.
The Fan Zone itself is remarkably sterile. I guess that’s not surprising, but adidas, Carlsberg, and the rest of the Euro 2012 sponsors have managed to remove any aspects of Ukrainian culture that might seep into the area. While this isn’t bad -- it’s a fun place with three massive screens showing games and highlights, constant action, plenty of food and beverage options, and a bride and groom celebrating their wedding (seriously) -- it could be in any city in the world.
And I guess that’s the point: There are similar Fan Zones in seven other cities. The one in Kiev is bigger (capacity: 70,000) but I’m sure the ones in Lviv, Gdansk, etc. look exactly the same. Tonight we’re watching the games in a Ukrainian bar. We gotta get a little culture before we depart tomorrow.