by Irma Havlicek
Powerhouse Museum Web Producer
Giorgos Moustakas, our host at the Kantouni restaurant and pensione, last year organised a soccer match between his team and Team Zagora – a team cobbled together from among the archaeological team. Last year we played on a pitch in Gavrio at night – and it was freezing.
But a tradition was born, and this year we played again. This time during the day last Sunday, when it was warm and pleasant, on a playing field up the hill at Batsi.
Keen play in a spirit of sportsmanship
The game was played keenly and hard by both sides – but definitely in a spirit of fun and sportsmanship. Suffice it to say, when the Batsi team reached a certain number of goals, we sort of stopped counting. Team Zagora played creditably for a team that had been cobbled together from among people most of whom had only known each other for a few days and had never played soccer together before. Add to that, the players had spent the last six days working incredibly physically hard on the Zagora Archaeological Project and Sunday was their ‘day of rest’. I think the fact they even made it to the sports field was pretty impressive. But our team did kick a few goals, and our hardy goalkeepers (Paul Donnelly, Marco Schugk and Kate Boyd) did manage to stop some of Team Batsi’s goals from going in.
Thrills and spills
There were thrills and spills but nobody had to be stretchered off, so that was a relief.
Some fancy footwork
The game started at 4pm, and Team Zagora had to get back to a weekly review meeting at the Kantouni at 6pm. Time was called about 5.30pm (with Batsi as victors a foregone conclusion). But the players were having so much fun, they kept saying: ‘We’ll just play to the next goal’. But after the next goal, they once more said ‘We’ll just play to one more goal’. Then it was about 5.50pm and we really did have to leave to get back to the meeting.
Credit must go to Lydia Beaumont-Cankaya who led the cheer-leading in a fetching outfit, using pom-poms she had hand-made for the purpose. She enthused our spectators to get behind her with the cheering, and it certainly bolstered our players.
In the spirit of the whole occasion, Lydia decided it was unfair that there were no supporters for the Batsi side – so she led cheers in support of Team Batsi as well.
And the winner was – great sportsmanship and fun
Many thanks to Giorgos for organising this, and for his Batsi friends for welcoming us into their community and enjoying this game with us.