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The Restless Native The Restless Native

Euro 2016 and its Discontents

Written by  Jun 16, 2016

I don't know if you've noticed, but the European Football Championship is on at the moment. Yes, it is very difficult to miss. It is screaming at us from the billboards and colouring all our advertising space with colours of our national teams. You would think a diehard football lover like myself would be elated. In a way, I am. All those matches on's an absolute dream for many of us. Meeting my parents for coffee yesterday, I asked my father if he saw any games in the past week. He simply said "All of them." - with a proud grin across his face, while my mother rolled her eyes and sighed. What a great summary of pretty much everyone's feelings about the Euro.

However, there is another side to this story. It seems people have a tendency to lose track of some of the important goings on in the world and at home during big sporting events like this one. We Croatians are definitely no exception to this rule; in fact, sometimes I get the feeling we are worse than the majority of other nations when it comes to forgetting our troubles. Our politicians know this very well. The most cringe worthy moment for me happened last week when I saw a clip of our president appearing on one radio show where she demonstrated her singing ability by going through a few Croatian football fans' songs. By now most of you know I am not very political in my writing, but seeing our head of state engaging in quaint PR stunts while our government is falling apart and the country going towards special elections worries me. Sometimes, we shouldn't have the luxury of taking a month off to stare at the screen and spend all our time arguing about who scored the nicer goal, Payet or Modric (Modric, by the way).

Oh yes, I can already hear my countrymen groaning about being preachy and not letting people have fun. That's a valid point, you need to have fun in your life and sports are the perfect way to do so, but when do we get to be serious? When is a proper time to stop and talk about important issues in this country? It's not during big sports tournaments, nor during the holidays, and less talk about work during summer, the better. So, when do we get to face our real problems?

Perhaps we ought to have European Macroeconomics Championships every two years, with all the bells and whistles our football or basketball tournaments enjoy. People could buy jerseys with the name of the President of Croatian National Bank or the Minister of Finance printed on the back. We could have action replays of our guys and girls finishing financial reports before the opposing team and celebrating the victory with the fans. Maybe then, after we fail to qualify for all major competitions in the sport of macroeconomics and get our butts kicked by virtually all the other EU nations, maybe then the people will start taking it seriously and make our national squad invest a bit more time in practicing and a bit less time having their pictures taken around the country and arguing in the parliament. One can only hope...
Bozidar Jukic is a Dubrovnik local with too many interests to name them all, with writing being at the very top of the list. He is a lover of good food, music and film, and a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. His professional orientation is towards tourism and travel so it comes as no surprise he spends most of his time alongside Mrs. Jukic running their own local tour company. Their goal is helping travellers from all over the world get a more intimate experience of Dubrovnik and what it has to offer. To find out more about their work, visit their website or Facebook page.

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