NEITHER the Greeks, nor the Gorillas, nor the union bosses. The only ones able to bring the masses onto the streets are the members of the national hockey team. No matter that the world championships are in no way truly global, and that even in many of the participating countries people don’t have a clue the event is going on. Time and time again a medal causes a national craze that even sceptics find hard to resist. This year’s silver (striebro) is no exception.
The explanation is simple – there are not many fields in which Slovakia can compete with the US, Russia, or even its Czech neighbours. And sport naturally has more appeal than concerns about austerity measures, European crises, or political mega-scandals.
That is fine, and in a country plagued with a totalitarian past and a corrupt present, athletes can serve as much-needed positive role-models. Still, it would help if some of the attention, energy and enthusiasm going into hockey celebrations could spill into the public domain.
“Speaking is silver, silence is golden,” says an old Slovak proverb. Maybe this year, the hockey team will do its bit to help the public appreciate the value of silver.
25. May 2012 at 0:00 | Lukáš Fila