This weekend marks the biggest American holiday, the 4th of July. Every fourth my family and I do the same thing. We do the things that are most commonly American, we grill, watch fireworks and of course, go see a baseball game. While tonight will mark probably my 20th time at a baseball game on the 4th of July I’d rather tell you about a different tradition…that would be the greatest sport in Greece, football (soccer).
I will never forget my first PAOK game. In Thessaloniki, there are two prominent teams, Aris and Paok. These two teams are like two gangs, against each other til death. I held witness to this. When you go to a PAOK vs. ARIS game, you need to know things. 1- Do not fuck with the your opposition, it’s unwise. 2- Do not go to a game alone. 3- Have men with you. A woman is not a typical sight at a football game and it will show. 4- This is the biggy…BEWARE OF FIRECRACKERS.
PAOK fans, also known as Paokaras, are known and WELL known for their extremist action at games. We’re talking toilet paper, Firecrackers, you name it. Paok is a family and one that’s very close knit. It’s not uncommon to see Paok tattoos. It’s also not uncommon to know people who won’t wear opposing teams colors. Another of PAOK’s rivals is Olympiakos, a team from Athens. Serious Paok fans won’t wear yellow (aris) or red (olympiakos). Just to give you all an idea, here are some photos.
I was lucky enough to become part of the PAOK family. My dream is to work for PAOK one day. Luckily, I have an in with my love. I’m thrilled to know I have not only a future in sports with my degrees, but I have an appreciation with my family in Thessaloniki. PAOKARA for life.