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Greek Violence Signals End of Sports?  by Stan Silliman     humor sports comedy cartoons articles


Silliman on Sports
By Stan Silliman
Greek Violence Signals End of Sports?    

      Sports began in Greece – track, wrestling, boxing, jumping, soccer – and if fan violence surrounding it continues, it may end there.

    All sports in Greece have been curtailed for two weeks. Here’s a quote from   government spokesman, Theodoros Roussopulos: “Violence in sports is something that effects…”

(Editor’s Note: We told Mr. Silliman there was not room to both print the entire quote and… the name of the spokesman.)

    The cancellation was a result of a brawl between fans of rival women’s volleyball fans. The battle involving 300 fans using clubs, knives, stones, and pick-axes took place near Athens between fans of Olympiakos Piraeus and Panathinaikos when one group of fans said Olympia Beer was less filling. The other group, of course, thought it had better taste.

(Editor’s Note: We told Mr. Silliman we thought that joke was, frankly, kind of tasteless.)

    In case you might think violence in Greek sports is a new phenomenon, let us remind of earlier events and of the fact there are harsh hooligan laws already on the books. In March, 2002, a soccer referee was badly beaten by fans. Following that incident the home team involved, Panathinaikos Athens, was ordered to play their next four home games without fans. Nobody was allowed to watch the games.  The same penalty was imposed, playing in an empty stadium for three games, to Olympiakos Piraeus in 2005. In 2001 a soccer referee had to be escorted from the stadium by riot police after fans threw bottles and stadium chairs. After leaving the stadium the referee turned around to find both Greek masks reflected tragedy.

(Editor’s Note: We allowed this joke based on subtlety.)

    Why are Greek fans so passionate and so violent? And since the entire concept of sport began in ancient Greece does this mindless violence – excessive rioting over a women’s volleyball game?—signal a society revolving around sport may be disintegrating? Can the pursuit of excellence, another Greek concept, and the culture of winning above all else, still another Greek concept co-exist in today’s media conscious and high paced world? Greeks love their sports. We know this because we asked one, Milos Xenophanes, who said Greeks love their sports but also love beauty, another Greek concept, and that Greeks prefer their sportsmen naked… or nude, yet another Greek concept. Milos says the violence, the rioting is primarily because modern sport conflicts with their love of beauty, especially in women’s volleyball, and that if the sportspersons were in the nude, the violence would subside.
Greek Violence Signals End of Sports?  by Stan Silliman     humor sports comedy cartoons articles
    We feel that this idea, of course, will not work. Especially with the threat of hooliganism, athletes have even more to fear competing naked. For instance, hooliganism even broke out during a Greek water polo match. Now, if any sport screamed out for naked participants, water polo might be it. You can be naked and still under-the-water modest but if fans are throwing sharp objects and molotovs into the pool, you’re going to want to play cross-legged.

(Editor’s Note: We asked Mike, the cartoonist, NOT to draw this picture.)

    Just so you know the two week moratorium is not as drastic as you might think. One of the two weeks is Easter week where no games were scheduled anyway. We have to ask why shouldn’t fans be subjected to frisks, x-rays and searches? If they’re going to come down hard on teams for the actions of their fans, why not weed out the bad apples among the fans?

(Editor’s Note: We told Mr. Silliman you wouldn’t like it if he finished on a serious note)

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