OPINION

Burst balls, empty heads

Just like every other time. Just like always. Sad faces, dressed in the heavy mantle of hypocrisy and lament. The lamenters are ministers, deputy ministers, the federation of Greek soccer, the Super League (like a Greek name just wouldn?t do), the police, top team officials (those present and those eyeing the reins), rival directors of fanatical sports newspapers, the owners of deeply factioned websites, coaches and the soccer players, fan clubs that were supposed to have been disbanded. No one is listening to their lament; after all they don?t listen to it themselves. No one hears the hypocritical lament, which will last, at best, until next Sunday, the next soccer match we so idiotically dub a ?life-or-death game.? After all, who dies, other than reason?

Just like every other time. Just like always. The police, addicted to using chemicals, are accused alternately and simultaneously of exerting excessive force and being too passive. The owners of ?historic? fan clubs who peddle nothing more than sentiment, could empty Marathon Lake with the amount of water they use to wash their hands. The sharp sharks of ?sports journalism,? who smear their front pages with words of war, sexist cartoons and offensive titles, portray themselves as critics. They appear on TV and give advice on how to crack down on hooliganism, together with the small-time officials who have already discerned themselves for their barbarity in the stadium, which is all very well and good for those who like to vent their frustration in the open air.

Just like every other time. Just like always. Those who promote the idea that sport is only about winning and all the rest about nobility and sportsmanship is a load of codswallop fit only for intellectual types, those who profit from violence, publicly denounce it and privately congratulate themselves and count their titles and winnings. Those who hatch grandiose plans to prevent violence ask themselves, agog, how on earth flare guns and fire bombs made it into the stadium. Even if you?ve been to a soccer game once in your life you know that there is nothing easier. The security search may uncover coins in your pocket, but the flares? Never.

Just like every other time. Just like always. ?Tough measures will be taken.? ?No more.? ?We will get to the bottom of this.? ?No effort will be spared.?

Those of us who once loved soccer are tired of hearing it all. Aren?t they tired of saying it? What are they waiting for? Do people need to die? Oh, yes, they already have.