With a bright orange Hup Holland flag prominently displayed over their front door — meaning Go Holland — and a household of family and friends dressed in bright orange jerseys to represent team Netherlands, the whole Postma family watched the World Cup final on Sunday afternoon.
Both John and Janet Postma are first generation Canadians, each of their parents having immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands in late 1950s, and they still feel a strong connection to the country, which is highlighted when the World Cup is on. Their children and other family members are also in on the excitement.
“I think as a family we do get together a lot and we are huge into sports,” Janet said. “It’s part of our heritage.”
But hockey is important to the family as well, with her son Paul Postma being an Atlanta Thrashers draft pick in 2007. He was training in Atlanta and wasn’t able to watch the game with the family, but she expects he kept an eye on the score of the World Cup final.
All of her children switched their Facebook pages to include the Netherlands orange colours on their pages. As part of the gathering they had sour fish — herring that is pickled — being served and dropies — a Dutch candy that has a salty black licorice taste.
Throughout much of the game everyone’s eyes barely move from the television screen and tension mounted throughout the game as neither team scored throughout the first 90 minutes, moving the game into extra time. The tension grew in extra time as neither team immediately scored. Eventually Spain got a goal.
Sid Postma, who is better known as Opa (or Grandpa) to most of the group, was wearing a large hat with the colours of the Netherlands flag. He and his wife Jenny started out the game by singing along to the Dutch national anthem. He has seen the Netherlands play during the World Cup twice in 1974 and 1978.
“It would have been nice if they would have won, but when you look at all of the other countries they did well,” Sid said.
The Postmas were just one group of many fans watching the World Cup around Central Alberta on Sunday. Joep van der Ende, who lives on a farm around 20 km southeast of Red Deer, also had a crowd of people over to his home to watch the game. He has lived in Canada for more than two decades, but still has a bond with his former homeland.
He and his son Owen, six, and daughter Erin, almost 11 months, were all wearing orange. His wife had opted out on the event to go scrapbooking. Among the delicacies on offer at the snack table was kroketten, a breaded snack with creamy meaty filling.
Jeroen Schalkwyk was there with his wife Nadine and their two sons and a daughter. Jeroen has followed the World Cup since 1986 when he was a teenager and has gone back to the Netherlands to see the European Cup.
For his wife Nadine, who grew up in Canada where hockey is the favourite sport, it has been a learning experience, but she has had fun and was decked out with an orange lei and shirt on Sunday. On Canada Day they had their Canada flag up and then the next day they put a Holland flag up for the remainder of the World Cup.
Down the road Lenie de Jong, her husband Cees and some neighbours were watching the World Cup final on Sunday. “I drive them nuts with it,” she joked.
Lenie was following the World Cup the entire time, getting up at 5 a.m. to avoid missing a moment of it. She had decorated the laneway to her house with orange streamers and white, red and blue balloons, the colour of the Netherlands flag. As the game was on she and her sister in the Netherlands were sending messages back an forth by texting on their phones.
“I like to be a Canadian, but this is still in your blood and you want to watch it,” Lenie said.