The Olympics Are Over, Now Get Off the Couch
September 20, 2004
As the days pass since the Olympic Flame was extinguished over Athens, the excitement for those who went and those who didnít have faded as quickly as the tans of those who made the trip to Greece this summer. For those two weeks for those of us who were stuck here it was a rare opportunity to privately celebrate our Hellenism while the rest of the world was exposed to it for the very first time. Greek-Americans are communal by nature, defining themselves through their interactions with the other Greek-Americans around them. Whether it is through Greek Nights, Greek festivals, church, or other social or family functions, it seems that you canít be a Greek-American alone. But during the Olympics, whether it was following the news from Athens on the Internet, or watching the games in Primetime after work, it didnít matter if it was a Tuesday night in the middle of August and nothing Greek was going on, you could still be a Greek-American with no one else around.
For those two weeks, I had a regular weekday routine. Iíd get up a little before 7:00 A.M. and turn on the Today Show to catch tidbits from Athens. Just seeing how bright the mid-afternoon Greek sun was coming across the airwaves was energizing in and of itself Ė if UV rays could travel through the screen I would have been a nice golden brown by the end of those games. During lunch at work, Iíd check out the feature articles on Greece that were rampant on the Internet. In the evenings, it was more Olympic viewing on NBC with some segments on Greece thrown in for good measure. It didnít matter that there were no other Greeks around, or that I wasnít wearing some Greek Night outfit, or there wasnít the smell of souvlaki in the air or the sound of Byzantine chant in the background. With barely any Greek events going on and most everyone else in Greece, it was nice to know that a Greek-American identity could survive on its own. Contrast that with the weeks after the Olympics, with little or no talk of Greece on TV or the Internet. Without Greek events or church, that sense of real social interaction, one could get so wrapped up in their secular non-Greek-American life, that Greek events you swore to yourself youíd never attend start looking like the greatest thing in the world again.
We realize that sites like DCGreeks.com, while facilitating many out there in finding out about what events are happening, allow many Greek-Americans out there to "cheat" Ė to have a voyeuristic view of the Greek-American community around them without having to get off the couch. So many people use sites like ours to see who was at the last Greek event, send messages to other members and view countless profiles, but never will you see them interacting with the community in any other meaningful way. For the times of your life when you are too busy to stay involved with the Greek American community, a site like DCGreeks.com is a good substitute, but when you have the time to get involved but instead you find yourself using the site as your exclusive means of obtaining the Greek-American experience, itís time to put down the mouse for a few hours, and make it out to an event. The good thing is that when you get there, youíll know everyone, or at least youíll think you know everyone from having seen his or her profile or picture on the site. If you wouldnít know what to say to these people when you meet them in person, just go with, "Hey, havenít I seen you on DCGreeks.com?" If theyíre not on DCGreeks.com, well then you just helped us out by introducing one more person to this site, and have helped yourself out in having made a friend that you can say hi to at the next Greek event you attend.