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Stephen Faris • Businessweek
When there are too few jobs for an entire generation.
Nikos Kotsalos, 33, has been unemployed since November 2011, when he lost his back-office job at the national postal service. Until then he had never been without a job for more than a few months. In September he expects to finish an undergraduate degree in physics from the National University of Athens -- a credential that's barely sufficient to get an entry-level job. (To cite one example, the government recently announced it will be laying off all university security guards, except those with a master's degree or a Ph.D.) "Sometimes we are angry. Sometimes we are sad," says Kotsalos. "I'm 33. It's not normal that I live with my parents. My father, when he was 33, he already had two children."
For young Greek adults, the sense that their lives have been put on hold is palpable. Rare is the conversation that ends on a happy note. "It's not only a financial crisis," says Marianina Patsa, a 34-year-old Athens resident. "It also has a severe psychological impact. People feel like they're losers."
LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images
Chris Jones • ESPN the Magazine
The fate of a star 16-year-old pitcher in Japan.
Then his manager, Joko, makes some vague, almost invisible gesture, and Anraku releases his customary acceptance of command -- a chest-thumping shout that starts deep in his gut -- bowing to his manager before he sprints to the mound.
And while this might sound like mythmaking, like some hinterland baseball legend that's told by scouts to their children to explain why they are never home, this is a true account of what happens next:
The entire field goes silent. Not quiet. Quiet is not a strong enough word to describe this instant temple. It goes dead silent. What had been a consistent, heavy chatter just stops. Anraku's teammates, the opposing players in their dugout, the umpires, the mothers and fathers and tea-brewing booster club up on the hill -- nobody says a word. Nobody claps or chants or boos. An opposing player noiselessly pulls out a radar gun, but nobody else moves. Even the two girls, gripped tight against the rightfield fence, stop their lovesick parade.
Suddenly, there is a monster in their midst. He nods at his catcher, a tiny, brave boy built like a whippet. Anraku's huge hands lift slowly over his head, and he starts his big, leggy delivery, classically Japanese, a full-body unwinding that culminates in a fastball thrown right down the throats of every last person here.