A lesson for all

Our national soccer team’s epic achievement in the European soccer championship in Portugal is a lesson that fortune not only smiles on the brave but also on those who put up a passionate fight and work systematically and steadily to achieve their aims. This is not a new lesson, but it is certainly valuable for us to remember this principle. Especially we Greeks, who, through custom and national idiosyncrasy, tend to become not just overenthusiastic, but also fall too easily into despair. We will not go into soccer tactics and the unquestionable contribution of the German coach, Otto Rehhagel. But it is worth noting that the chain of great successes we have celebrated over the past few weeks are owed to a great extent to the talent and passion of the Greek players being fused with certain principles necessary for any goal to be reached. Discipline, exhaustive preparations, team spirit – as opposed to vain individualism – and, of course, fighting toward victory til the very last minute are newly acquired virtues. Without these, the team would not have had the psychological or competitive maturity to win. The most impressive thing, however, in this march of triumph, is the ethos and seriousness that our players have displayed both on and off the pitch. With few words and moderate statements, they have provided a comparison that shows up the outbursts of vanity and petty official pretenses that have followed relatively minor successes in other aspects of our public life. Unfortunately, among these we include the field of politics, which determines both our everyday lives and the future of our country. The way in which Greeks across the world celebrated the repeated wins of our national team shows how real our need is for positive role models and achievements that can make us feel proud. In this regard, all of us owe a great deal to these men. Not only because they have propelled us to heavens of delight but because they have cast doubt on the depressing domination of the belief in favorites. They have taught us that everything is possible, as long as you work hard and systematically in order to achieve the target. As a nation and as a society we have a great need for this lesson. Because, like our soccer players, we are not short of talent, nor abilities, nor creative enthusiasm in all fields. What we lack is focus on the target, discipline, careful preparation, team spirit and psychological endurance. It is time, at last, for us to take the necessary steps to overcome these traditional weaknesses and free our traditional strengths. This is the message that, more than anyone else, our political leaders should adopt and translate into everyday acts.