Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Madam Rides into Town on a White Horse named Voukefalas

So, what if it had been an oil baron – one who has never displayed any sympathy toward the environment in which we must all dwell – who had saved the little town’s wonderful team?
by Charlie Leck

Voukefalas (the name also of Alexander the Great’s favorite horse) is her hometown team. They are not a glamorous team; nor do they play at a very high level. Think of the home town baseball teams spread across Minnesota, like the Arlington A’s or the Mudhens who play at Jack Ruhr Field in Miesville. The Voukefalas, of Larissa (Greece), play what we call soccer. The team has been down on its luck lately and they’ve been struggling to meet their bills (like much of their nation). There are costs, you know – even for a small town that tries to field a team to compete against other small town teams. There are uniform costs and fees to use the small stadium. One must purchase soccer balls, as well. And those goal nets are not cheap.

It’s the same way down in Miesville (here in Minnesota). Uniforms, baseballs, bats, bases, umpires to officiate at games – it all costs money and teams go out and try to find support. There’s nothing much more in Miesville than the ballpark and a bar, of course. Just beyond the outfield fences are acres and acres of cornfields – stretching on as far as the eye can see. Miesville has a population of only 125 or so. They bring some ringers in to pitch and hit from some of the surrounding towns that haven’t had the gumption to build a ballpark or gather the talent for a team. The small local bar helps out with the team’s costs and the bar's owner has talked the Miller Beer Company into throwing in a few bucks, too.

No one in town thinks it’s indecorous that a team is sponsored, quietly, by the bar and a big beer company. It’s very American!

Madam Soula Alevridou provides some of the moola required to pay the bills for the Voukefalas. It has caused quite a stir according to a story in the Washington Post.

You see, Soula is a madam, if you know what I mean – that occupation as old as humanity itself! To be absolutely correct, she is a former practitioner of the art and I think that factor counts for something here in considering her sponsorship. Now-a-days she only owns two “luxury brothels” there in Larissa.

I mean, times are tough in Greece. It’s difficult to pay for each day’s necessities, you know, without worrying about how to pay for those little extra treats in which a fellow would like to indulge – you know, like playing on the town’s soccer team or getting a little somethin’ somethin’ on a boring Thursday evening.

“But local officials in this once-rich farming area are hardly thanking her for her efforts. In fact, her gift of about $1,300 so far, in part to buy bubble-gum pink training outfits — has caused something of an uproar as officials debate the appropriateness of having a brothel owner step in, even if it is to make up for a bankrupt state and an economy that leaves few businesses with the cash to help young men play...”

Oh, my! The delicacies of it all! Boys will be boys, you know! They’ll hang out at the local bar in Miesville and spend nearly every last dollar they have on a pint or two of Miller Light. The boys down there in Miesville will get a hardy laugh at what follows.

Madam Alevridou had proudly provided uniforms that include bright pink shirts that carry the name of one of her brothels, Villa Erotica, across the very front. The official league office, which would be something like the offices of Minnesota Town Ball, has protested and told the Voukefalas that it is going to keep a sharp eye on them to make sure there are no actions on the field during games, and even in warm-ups, that would in any way “defame the sport.” The league is also disturbed that another of its teams is sponsored by a funeral home, of all things!

Never mind that Greece’s own professional soccer championship is sponsored by OPAP, the state owned lottery and betting company.

Let’s see, what shall we promote spending our money on? Hmm! Grandpa’s funeral! Gambling? Sex? In a nation as broke as hell itself, these are important questions. After all, there are hardly any loose drachma lying around anymore these days to spend on loose women or expensive lottery tickets.

“Sports,” the Larissa mayor proclaims, “keeps young men out of trouble!”

Madam Alevidou also sent some money along to the local elementary school recently. They were having trouble paying for text books and they needed a copy machine. The school returned her check.

Oh, as they say in Greece, “the mucking hypocrisy of it all!”

Read the story by Dimitris Bounias. It’s a mucking riot! In the meantime I’m checking on the cost of a flight to a city near Larissa. It might be fun to run down there to see a ball game in a small town in Greece. Mightin’ it?

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