How sad and em­bar­rass­ing

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY PAN­TELIS BOUKALAS

AC OM­MEN­TARY / s the Greek na­tional an­them­sounded in the back­ground, sig­nal­ing the start of Satur­day’s Greek Soc­cer Cup fi­nal, the play­ers of the two teams, AEK and Atro­mi­tos, were look­ing around in­stead of con­cen­trat­ing on the mo­ment, try­ing to fig­ure out where the deep roar that swept through the Olympic Sta­dium was com­ing from. The “lads” in the stands, car­ried away by the an­them’s gal­lant lyrics which they have adapted with such an ar­ray of col­or­ful lan­guage in their battle cries, were poised to revolt: against ev­ery­thing and ev­ery­one, against the fans of the ri­val team (with whom at some other time they might share a cof­fee, work for the same boss or stand in the same un­em­ploy­ment line), against gen­eral in­jus­tice, against life-suck­ing so­ci­ety, against the po­lice that cure their folly with chem­i­cals, against dom­i­neer­ing par­ents and against a state that, in the words of the los­ing side’s coach, is a house of ill-re­pute. How sad. How em­bar­rass­ing. Monotonously re­peated at any game in any sport, this revolt is born like a vi­o­lent ri­tual that re­veals so vividly and so de­press­ingly the ero­sion of the so­cial fab­ric and the col­lapse of the state, and any ef­fort to deal with the prob­lem only makes it worse. Now, af­ter the “dis­gust­ing” events have been loudly con­demned (even by the moral in­sti­ga­tors, the real cul- prits, the ones that con­stantly turn a blind eye and those that keep stok­ing the fire), we will ex­pend our­selves on ex­plor­ing whether last Satur­day’s events were a symp­tom of a broader sen­ti­ment or a mere set­back, and whether the just pun­ish­ment should be two games with­out fans in the stands or a “hefty fine” – which no team will go to the trou­ble to pay any­way since they owe a ton of money right and left. The fact is that when the Ar­gen­tinean, Sene­galese, Pol­ish, Moroc­can and Brazil­ian play­ers who took part in the fi­nal go back home, they will have so many tales to tell of their ex­pe­ri­ences in what they no doubt knew from their school books as be­ing the cra­dle of democ­racy, the birth­place of no­ble sports­man­ship, of phi­los­o­phy, drama and so much more, among which, let’s not for­get, is also the much-touted “win­ner gene” that has been re­spon­si­ble for so many bar­bar­i­ties. One of the for­eign play­ers, Marcin Baszczyn­ski of Atro­mi­tos, said af­ter the end of the match that he would laugh when some­one ended up dead one day. Of course he didn’t mean that he would be amused; quite the con­trary. But who pays heed to the com­ments of some for­eign player? He wasn’t born in the cra­dle of all things vir­tu­ous and great as we were – as we like to de­lude our­selves.

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