volley

details of interview

Role of the Interviewed: student / high school volleyball player

Age: 19

Gender: female

Nationality: Greek

Type of radicalization: racism, social radicalization

Historical period collocation: 2015

Date/Country of the Interview: 03/10/2018, Greece

Interviewer: Municipality of Evrotas

Municipality of Evrotas

Have you witnessed or experienced personal situations of radicalization during your activity in sport organizations? What kind of radicalizations have you detected? (Gender, politics, religion, racism, crime, homophobia…)

student

I will share with you one bad experience as I want my voice to be heard and maybe help other girls who may be in my shoes. The story, I am going to narrate, happened 3 years ago, when I was 16 years old and in the 1st class of High School. Today that I have become more mature, I consider that I started following the pathway to radicalisation.

Telling your story. What has happened? How has the story started? How did you realize what was going on? What kind of signals could you detect? How do you explain radicalization, referring to your experience?

My grandmother is the one who raised me and my brother since I had never met my father and I have no information on him and when I was 8 years old and my brother 10 years old, our mother abandoned us and got married to someone, who we had seen only once just before she left us. Both me and my brother we were hurt and we are still hurting by our mother’s abandonment but thankfully our grandmother, this lovely, admirable and caring woman, is the biggest blessing in our life, she has been both the best mother and father to us. Unfortunately, she is quite old and she is just receiving her pension. Especially, when me and my brother were younger and still at school and we could not work, we barely had enough money for our basic needs.
As far as I am concerned, I have always been an active and restless youngster, always trying to understand and help others and contribute to my school community and to the society in general. I am humble, honest, and shy, but not always low-profile and I adore truth and justice.
It all started 3 years ago, when I was at the age of 16 years old. During a gym class, our physical education teacher proposed to all of the girls of my classroom to form 2 teams and play volleyball. Our teacher explained to all of us the basic volleyball rules and terminology and we got started. That day I had the best experience in my life, as I enjoyed very much playing with my classmates with whom I had always the best relationship and I understood how much I loved to play volleyball. In the meantime, I knew that in our school we were having a high school girls’ volleyball team, which was composed by schoolgirls of all of the three grades of high school. Therefore I decided that since I love and enjoy so much playing volleyball, I should talk with our physical education teacher and do whatever it takes to join the team.
Our physical education teacher talked to me quite strict and negatively and seemed that she did not want me to join the volleyball team, something that still today I cannot understand and justify. She approved my participation in the team with great difficulty, while the rest of the girls on the team were extremely opposed to my introduction to the team. The first day of my appearance in the team, the majority of the girls instead of welcoming me, indicated their dissatisfaction by grimacing and demonstrated their upset. In short, from the very first moment, they were keep making insulting comments about my economic, social and family background, talking in front of me loudly and with emphasis about how warm family they have and how much they were loved by their parents and the gifts that they were buying to them and how they are spending their free time and weekends with their parents.
As a consequence, I felt sad and that I was treated unfairly, I got too angry both with my teammates and with the physical education teacher who was training us and was watching what was going on without any intention of interfering and putting them in their place and in the meantime I quit the team. There was no effort neither from my teammates nor from our teacher to bring me back to the team. That made me even angrier.
Thereafter, I was very frustrated and I had convinced myself that I have to take justice into my own hands. I started searching on the web and the more I was reading, more passionate I was becoming. At one point, I actually though that it would be better if I also find some other young people, with similar experiences, that are willing to administer our own form of justice. So, I started searching in forums, where different people were expressing their opinions, beliefs and life experiences and I was chatting and aiming to meet face-to-face with whoever was matching this profile.

Have you tried to cope with this situation? What was possible to do? What have you done? Have you involved other people/organizations? Who was involved? Did you feel you had the skills to manage this kind of situations? Which was the most difficult part of it? Have you had any form of support?
End of the story. How did the story end up? What have you learned from this personal experience? What would you say to people who are living similar situations?

Lucky for me, my brother who was 2 years older than me and always very mature, had noticed all the change in my behavior and had his eyes on me, so one day he sat down and discussed with me. I told him everything; I described every single incident with great detail, as well as the behavior of my teammates and the attitude of our teacher. I also expressed to him my beliefs and that from now on I had to deliver justice since our teacher was not reacting. My brother advised me and made me see that this was not the right way to handle and control things. At the same time, as he was too worried about me, he also informed our grandmother about the situation, because as our guardian she should also acknowledge the facts. That period, my brother was constantly around me, hanging out and spending lots of free time with me, in order to make sure that I have left all these behind and I was thinking straight. If it weren’t him, things would have gone and ended pretty badly, since usually anger urges to harm others or ourselves.
Today I am studying at University and in the meantime I am working and I have started thinking of finding and joining an amateur team and playing again volleyball, which I love so much. After all these I have learned that all people sometimes may be treated unfairly and get disappointed and maybe frustrated and sad but this doesn’t mean that we have to overcome this situation in this way. There are many ways to cope with such issues without the use of violence and unwanted means.

reacting to social discrimination