Having the opportunity to host a soccer tournament as big as Euro 2008 should be a moment of pride for all of Austria come next summer. And it may be. But some Austrians have decided that they might have a better time without their own team.
Dismayed at their national team's poor performance, fans have started a petition to have their team withdrawn from the tournament. Talk about national pride! Started by four fans aged 33-40, the petition has been signed by more than 4,000 Austrian fans since it launched less than a week ago.
Yes, the Austrian team is pretty bad - they've lost 8 in a row. And they've got no real shot at winning the tournament. But isn't there some benefit to having the host country play in the tournament? The writers of the petition, who claim that the Austrian team shows true skill "about as frequently as meteorite[s]" hitting the earth, would disagree.
It cannot be denied: the performance of the Austrian team is an insult to your sense of aesthetics as well as to what you expect from this sport. Their participating in the EURO 2008 is to you a contradiction in itself. We understand.These fans don't care about their team. They just want some good soccer!
By signing this Petitionyou urge the Austrian Football Association (Österreichischer Fußballbund; OEFB) to voluntarily resign from participating in the EURO 2008.These fans may not care about their country (or at least their team), but they care about the sport. Nonetheless, shouldn't they show some resiliency and stick by their team? You wouldn't see Cubs fans jumping ship and starting a petition for them not to play. Heck, you wouldn't even see most of them root for the White Sox. These fans aren't likely to get their wish, but at least they're having a good time trying.
Austria was once a country with a keen sense for aesthetics. „...a people gifted for beauty“, as a verse of our national anthem states – an anthem our players barely manage to stammer along to, as they palefacedly contemplate yet another grueling encounter with the ball and the opponent.