The last thing in the world I’d want to be this weekend is a Greek Australian.
Honestly, I wouldn’t know what to do.
The Greek National Soccer Team is in town— not only meeting and greeting with community leaders and kiddies at soccer camps… but playing against the Australian National Soccer team— aka the Socceroos.
I honestly don’t know what I’d do.
Who do I cheer for? Greece, my heritage country… Or Australia, my birth country? Add to the complicated mix that the Australian National Soccer team is coached by a Greek named Ange Postecoglou, and things get even more complicated. Because technically, when I’d cheer for the Socceroos, I was technically cheering for the Greeks too, because of coach Postecoglou.
I mean, it was always easy to cheer for the Aussie National Team when they’d play Uzbekistan or the Cameroon… or Germany. But Greece?
My head is spinning. I’m dripping sweat balls.
Do I wear my bright yellow Australian jersey or my Greek jersey with the last name CHARISTEAS across the back?
Do I wrap myself in the Australian flag or the Greek one?
Do I cheer when Greece scores? Or do I cheer when Australia scores?
I think the president of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, Bill Papastergiadis, summed up the situation the best in a quote to the Herald Sun:
“There will be conflict and identity crisis throughout Melbourne over the next few days,” he said.
My anxiety would only pass after I keep telling myself— “it’s only a friendly, it’s only a friendly.”
I mean, can you imagine if this were the World Cup?? I’d need some Xanax. Or I’d probably leave the country.
But after careful deliberation… being Greek Australian this weekend wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all.
Because the two nations I love most, the nation of my birth and the nation of my heritage— which I love equally, are sharing in a match of the world’s most popular sport. And for a few hours— a celebration of everything that defines me would be expressed by saves and goals and cheers from the crowd.
In the end, I think I’d get decked out in yellow and blue and white and celebrate being one of the luckiest people on the planet— a product of two great nations and a place that I’m allowed to be 100% Greek and 100% Australian— and even though the math doesn’t add up… it would be perfectly OK because that’s how we roll. The best of both worlds.