I was in a Hotel room more than 4000 miles away from Greece. I’m not Greek and haven’t played for a Greek team in more than 5 years. But the connection I have with the country of Greece and then it’s people is undeniable. It’s tough to explain why or put in words the bond and admiration I have for Greece. I guess in life, some connections are relationship are unexplainable, they just exist.
As I sat in this hotel room, I was watching CNN daily morning news program. As I was watching, the mood of the news program starts to shift, I read the headline, “Wildfires in Greece,” I come closer to the TV and turn up the volume. CNN began to show the images and videos of fires. I was in shock and awe watching all the devastation and destruction. They started to interview survivors, and as they gave their first-hand accounts of what had happened, many of them in tears and covered in smoke and fire debris, a slew of different emotions came over me. I looked at my wife, and we couldn’t believe what we were watching and hearing. Stories of families seeking refuge in the sea for hours trying to escape the fires, people who got lost from other family members and friends who are still currently missing, parents missing children and children missing parents. It was all too heartbreaking to bear.
Throughout that day, it was difficult for me to think about anything other than these images and videos I had watched earlier in the day. I was supposed to be on holidays with my wife, celebrating our anniversary, but I couldn’t enjoy it. Thoughts in my mind kept going to back to the victims and their families. I watched on social media and talked to one of my friends who lives close to Mati. They sent me videos, showing the aftermath and how the whole town was destructed. They told me that they have never witnessed anything like this before. The emotions I felt, was like I was watching a family member or close friend go through these tragic events.
Even though I’ve only lived and played in Greece for two seasons, but too me it’s feels longer than that. Greece almost feels like a second home and the people I’ve meant there feel like extended members of my family. Not only just in sport but in life in general, Greece has to give my family and me so much joy over the years. So to watch from afar as the county and it’s people go through these tragic moments was difficult for me.
The thing I know about the country of Greece and it’s people is how strong and resilient the people are. I witnessed this first hand during my time living there, as people were going through a massive financial crisis that literally impacted families and people overnight, leaving many without jobs and homes and money just to cover their basic needs. I watched as the people who were affected the most, stayed strong and united with others to fight and continue to live. I know both tragedies aren’t comparable, as losing money is nothing over losing a life, but the fighting and resilient spirit are the same.
So, to the world out there, this is Greece; a small piece of this world that have learned the toughest ways what means to stay strong and keep surviving. Right now its people, everyday people fighting to keep - or even worse to recreate - everything that’s obvious to all of us, need our prayers, need our help, anyway, we can.
They say that in times of disaster and tragedy, it’s human nature to be kind to one another to survive. In the worst times, our greatest characteristics come to the forefront.
I am still in this Hotel room, 4000 km away from Greece. As I said before I know I’m not Greek and my words are coming from an outsiders perspective. But I do feel I understand the spirit of Greece. It’s something that many people from the outside may not understand. Greece is more than a country with beautiful islands and historical tourist attractions. It’s a country full of fighters and courageous people. I’m a first-hand witness to this. I know Greece and it’s people will recover and remain stronger than ever.
Stay Strong Greece