My Australian friend has long maintained that Australians and Poles are similar. Admittedly, he has seen his three score summers and younger Australians might not share his view. The Australia of his childhood is probably not representative of the country now, having discovered its role as a Pacific power. The mind set of the people may well have changed dramatically, the genes certainly have. But, what matters is that as an Australian transported to Europe, where he has spent the greater part of his adult life, he freely admits to having a sense of low self esteem when faced with the English. Matched, though rarely excelled, there can be fewer more delightful, educated or generous souls to be found even in England. This sense of inferiority seems groundless. Even so, it exists in his mind.
Last night I was discussing the Poland Russia game with a bright young Polish friend. At a certain point he said,” The trouble with us is that we have such low self esteem.” My Australian friend would agree. In his view Australians and Poles both have a “chip on their shoulders” about being colonial countries, second rate. Second rate compared to what? The old imperial powers? This seems absurd in today’s world. And yet.
No doubt my Australian friend will struggle with his complexes until the end of his days. But the young Pole has a real opportunity to out grow the past. Certainly, the Russian team was far superior to the Poles. It was a team. Yet, they were held to a draw, another “miracle on the Vistula? Given the approach of the Poles, perhaps.
Isn’t time to replace the old thinking and doing and raise the ceiling of aspiration with a “can do” attitude based on fact rather than myth?