OPINION

Delusions

It was a tense three days, packed with sports action. Yet neither basketball nor soccer came close to diverting people’s attention from the political and economic woes around them. If the government had any secret hopes that the excitement over the Greek soccer cup final or the Euroleague Final Four in Berlin would overshadow the global economic crisis or the government’s attempt to avoid Aristotelis Pavlidis being indicted through the use of blank votes, then it failed. The only gain was probably the prime minister’s ephemeral joy at seeing his favorite club lift the trophy in the German capital. The political delusion came with an athletic one. One is tired of hearing that the Greek Cup final and the Final Four tournament promoted the image of Greece’s sports. If the past is any guide, we should avoid bragging about our achievements – and not because of the repeated doping scandals that so often have us banging our heads against the wall. Sure, such scandals are rare in soccer and basketball. Nevertheless, before crowing over the enhanced image of Greek sports we should first take a look at the parameters that were overshadowed by the sparkling trophies and mass excitement. The soccer cup final at the OAKA stadium between two multinational squads (only nine players were Greeks and none scored) was full of unexpected twists and turns that made it feel unreal to those accustomed to the boring games of the domestic league. The clash between the two local powerhouses in Berlin was thrilling also. However, both games were marked by an irregularity: The Greek fans who traveled to Berlin behaved not because they decided to honor their Olympic DNA but because «the Germans don’t put up with such crap.» Meanwhile, in Athens the stadium was filled with fans of both clubs thanks to cup final protocol, not because these people decided to coexist in peace. And one more thing. Thank God few people understand Greek. Or they would come to believe Greece is a nation of sexually deprived people – or the opposite.