Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Where are all the Greek men...



A report in today's papers claims that there is a shortage of men in Greece. Well, I'm sure that we won't see that shortage today as all the bars and cafes fill with the male species flocking to see the Champions League final between Liverpool and Milan. I am no real football fan, but having grown up in a country fanatic about the sport, shared a house with three men at Uni, and now living with a football crazed man, I seem to have got the point. No world is complete for a man without a sport to be obsessed about. British men have football, rugby and cricket...Greek men have football and occasionally basketball. Unlike other countries though, the obsession here is only with 3 major teams in fact. If you ask anyone who they support 99% of the time they will answer either Panathinaikos, Olympiakos or AEK. When I first came to Greece, I was surprised at how passionate people seemed to be about their team, even to the point of not talking to members of their family for days if they were on opposite sides. Football and politics seemed to be on a par. Men would be in cafes, either squabbling about their teams or their political party. If you watch men carefully their reactions are somewhat like that of lions protecting their territory. Conversations begin lightly, while they test each others' boundaries. They play a little with words, seeing how far they can go. Then, when they see an opening they pounce in, competing on who will have the loudest roar, and of course, the last word. As a woman, not a feminist, I like to look on, but I cannot say that I am ever impressed with what I see. Nowadays, though, hooliganism has hit Greece, and its football mania, in a big way. More and more people are injured at games, and as fans of opposing teams are not allowed to leave the grounds at the same time, the police are on alert for hours on end. It makes me wonder sometimes, why the fans don't just arrange a date and time to meet up, beat each other to bits, and then be able to watch the match without any risk involved. Or maybe they should put up a warning around the football stadium....Being a supporter is bad for your health...




So anyway in response to the Greek governments' dilemma on the shortage of Greek men, tonight they will all be down the pub watching the cup final...(and they won't be causing trouble because their teams aren't playing) and being a Brit deep down inside I now who I'll be supporting (Walk on...walk on...)

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