Flying to the Sun on Wax Wings
October 12, 2005
Greece’s loss to Denmark over the weekend has all but doomed its chances of making next year’s World Cup. Mathematically, it still has a chance of making it with a few teams losing, but it has lost the ability to decide its fate. As a fan of all things Greek, our pessimism is shared with an entire culture. We’re a people that enjoy rare success, like the recent double in European soccer and basketball, but more often is used to being on the short end of things and coming disappointingly close after a promising start. (Remember the Kenteris/Thanou scandal of last year’s Olympics.) We’re more like the fans of the Boston Red Sox than the New York Yankees, although we don’t have any Curse to have blamed anything on for centuries. Being Greek and coming up short doesn’t end with sports and Greek-Americans are not immune, despite all the differences between Greeks back in Greece and its expatriates.
How close have we come to having a Greek-American President? (It’s been almost twice or three times depending on whose lifetime in our demographic you use as a benchmark.) Ironically Vice President Spiro Agnew was out of office before Nixon or the job was probably his. Most of us remember what happened to Dukakis and four years later we all watched as Senator Paul Tsongas won the New Hampshire primary as was considered the front-runner but bowed our early after the Clinton campaign started to roll. (How much different would this generation’s view of the office of the Presidency be if Tsongas has stuck it out and found a way to win?) When we’re not coming close to putting someone in the White House, we’re surprisingly obsequious on the national stage.
Leaving sports, politics, and for many of you, ancient history, think of the disappointments since the turn of the century. Nia Vardalos follows My Big Fat Greek Wedding with My Big Fat Cancelled Sitcom After Six Episodes. (This will be the TV equivalent of what Greece is about to do in failing to reach the World Cup.) Constantine Maroulis doesn’t even make it to the final five finalists in last year’s American Idol, although he’s inked a deal for his own sitcom on ABC and last year’s winner is doing Kit-Kat commercials. Miss Greece came in second in the Ms. Universe competition just weeks before we launched this site in 2001.
We hope that somehow Greece does what it can with a win in its next World Cup qualifier so we can eat our words. To ask for consistency out of anything Greek would be too much to ask though, so we’ll continue to ride the highs and lows as fans of anything Greek are used to doing.