It’s an unwritten rule. From those who tune in to those who watch the games from certain positions, wearing certain clothes, eating certain foods, spitting their butts every two phases – well, you get the concept, we’re talking about those who are extremely proactive.
So does the aforementioned “rule”: it is strictly forbidden to be an optimist obviously about his team’s progress in any tournament, with the appropriate solution being to say “We’re going to screw up”, “We’re out of luck”, “So we’re not going anywhere”, “Where did you see the glass half full guys? The whole aqueduct is half empty’, ‘Have you seen what others are downloading?’ and so on.
This is exactly what is happening with our National Team in this year’s EuroBasket: despite the fact that we have the best roster for 15 years (since the wonderful, unreal armada of Giannakis in the 2006 MundoBasket) and even though we have the top two -way player in the whole world, no one… dares to say boldly that yes, indeed, we are going for a medal and to have basketball funerals.
In the most daring of cases we say (everyone, almost zero excepted) “We are among the 5-6 teams that will fight for the medals, but the crossings, the weather, where Mercury will be on the day of the crossings and many more will play a role still”.
The reality, of course, does not change: this particular team is made for (very) big things, even if a gentle, prudent bull steps on our tongues and does not let us say what we would like.
This was primarily seen in the titanic battle against Serbia for the World Cup qualifiers (where with 20,000 moon-struck people against us and with the referee not telling us and we very well lost in overtime), but also for at least 2 periods in today’s game against to the Croatians for the Eurobasket premiere.
Yes, yes, okay: our national team lost a very big margin of 17 points and it took our soul to come out in the end and Giannis to prove why he is called the Greek Freak with a … freaking cut and foul basket in the 10 seconds for the expiration to get the pink sheet.
But, a) We are talking about a premiership and the stress indicator always hits dark red, b) we played without a center essentially after the absences of Kostas-Papagiannis, against a team whose firepower is right there (Zubacs-Saric and Hezonia with the constant posts) and c) We had unprepared – despite the fact that the children played and gave their soul – and Sluka-Papapetrou, who are two of the most important (in the sense that they are firmly in the rotation, even if they are not in the starting five) players.
Despite the myriad (obviously the “number” is an exaggeration) issues and although we found in front of us a tough team with tons of experience and NBA players, our national team for 20 minutes spread tangible terror and showed that its blue and white ceiling is made of gold , silver or copper.
In case someone rushes to write the usual about ball that we take it and boil it to smell the sport a little, an asterisk: no one claims that based on today’s game and the picture we had especially after the 3rd minute of the 3rd period until 60 seconds to go, we are the firm favorite for the top spot on the podium. No.
But the team has all backgrounds even for the gold: the best player of the tournament (along with Jokic and Luka, some will say, ok, but basketball is not only the attack…), what she lacked from the era of the wheel or so (shooting) and found in face of Dorsey, a top-shelf coach who knows, finally, what he wants us to play and how we will play it despite the odds, and a supporting cast for our superstar who blinds even the most experienced orange eye with his brilliance .
The fact that we put Croatia down (as we did, even with Antetokounmpo wearing the superman suit in the photo-finish) Croatia today and there were moments when we literally broke them apart and made them look for the basket with basketball binoculars, says a lot.
If Papagiannis finds a rhythm (something, however, difficult for such a heavy body that has been out of training and matches for a long time) and approaches his 80%, if Kostas gives precious breaths and if Papapetrou and “Slou” (there were moments today when it was super…) turn on the engines at the end, then it would be good for the opponents to hide the women and children.
We know what you’re thinking: how many ifs didn’t add up menshouse.
They got together, yes. But there are also many non-negotiable constants of the team: the alien Giannis. Itoudis. Dorsey’s cold blood. Kalathis, even in his bad match, is a player of undisputed level. The defenses of Papanikolaou. The inexhaustible energy of Thanasis. The heart of everything. The bond that seems to have all of us.
If you think that these are “things” that many teams have in this year’s Eurobasket, you are sorely mistaken.
The National Team, showed it tonight, is a team for the podium – despite the challenges that will arise along the way and the undeniable stress that we will have in the “8” cross (don’t forget that we haven’t won such a game since the 13th century or so) .
Will he manage to climb?
Logic says that it is too early to answer with certainty.
The heart, which sometimes knows best, says it’s time to dust and crumble that unwritten rule.
The glass is clearly half full.