How sad and embarrassing

As the Greek national anthem sounded 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 culprits, 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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