stdClass Object ( [image_intro] => [float_intro] => [image_intro_alt] => [image_intro_caption] => [image_fulltext] => [float_fulltext] => [image_fulltext_alt] => [image_fulltext_caption] => )
When we left Dimitsana, a village in the municipality of Gortynia, on the road for Stemnitsa, we saw the village's football field. There was a football match taking place between two amateur teams “Athletic Union” of Dimitsana (red shirts) and “Glory” of Tripolis.
Very few fans
At an altitude of a thousand meters and in the complete serenity of the mountain, one could hear the voices of the players and the coaches echoing. Among the very few fans were 3-4 children, who were competing over who will catch the ball first when it comes out of the court. When a player made a hard misplaced kick towards the goal which was at the edge of the cliff, the ball fell into the abyss of Maenalus and was lost forever.
It was extremely cold that day, with freezing air coming down from the forest. The running football players were warm, but the coaches and the very few fans were jumping in place and constantly wiping their runny noses.
They share the cost
It's been many years since the team of Dimitsana has received a subsidy from the General Secretariat of Sports, forcing the Municipality along with the players to share the expenses in order to cover the costs of the games. Despite the difficulties, though, the people of Dimitsana once managed to win the cup of Arcadia and they also won the amateur championship four times.
The average age of the athletes is above 30 because the younger boys study or work in the big cities. A player's injury in the field is one of the most memorable incidents in its history. The football player belonged to the team of Neochori and had swallowed his tongue after hitting his head. Everyone’s blood froze until Elias Stathopoulos, the coach and heart and soul of Dimitsana’s team, brought the football player back to life with his quick and skillful moves.
TEXT-PHOTOS: GEORGE ZAFEIROPOULOS