OPINION

The latest miracle

It was a great surprise and an even greater joy. The celebrations went on all night, helped by the summer weather which makes Greek anarchy attractive to even the most cool-headed, rational of northerners. Yet Greece’s achievement at the European soccer championship in Portugal has nothing to do with the anarchic way the country functions. The Greek national team is the ultimate expression of method, organization and self-discipline. Discipline is its greatest advantage, team spirit has been elevated to the highest level and, of course, the team members are determined to distinguish themselves. They have played every game with a strength and competitiveness envied by the most organized of teams. Greek football players, though not the best in Europe, have succeeded because they are dedicated to their goal. The national soccer team is an expression of another Greece that does not attract the spotlight except when connected to a show, as in this case. Given the right opportunity, it outdoes itself, achieving things no one could have imagined. There are many examples of this phenomenon. Greeks do well everywhere in the world when they find themselves in a competitive environment with rules, principles and scope for organized, coordinated action. That is perhaps the most important lesson the country and its leaders can learn from this latest miracle. The country needs goals, disciplined administration, collective effort, persistence and a plan. It has the abilities and the people, but what is missing is the organization, persistence, continued effort and competitiveness. The fact that it is a small fish in a big pond provides it with opportunities, as they say in economic theory. Today, Greece is in the happy position of operating within broader environments that it could exploit to the full if only it could adapt its efforts to the demands of that greater whole.