While I was in Serbia Novak Djokovic, the star Serbian tennis player was playing in a tournament in Belgrade. This was a very big deal for the country, they had opened a new arena and there were two #1 players in the world and they were both from Serbia. Uncle V was very excited during this time. He wanted to watch all the matches on television. At or around this time we were staying at his place along with Cousin T (his daughter). He was glued to the t.v. during one of Novak’s matches. Cousin T took exception to this, because she was looking for some attention from her daddy.
Before I get to their exchange, let me say a few things about the relationship between Serb parents and children. The parents want the best for their kids, and what parents don’t? But, they want the kids to get the best for themselves, they don’t necessarily want to give it to them. Parents want the kids to get a college degree, but not just a degree. “Why did you just get a Bachelors? Why not a masters, or a CPA, or a doctorate? Is that all you are capable of? You should do more with your life, don’t be so lazy, work harder”. And so on and so on. For most Serb kids, if they aren’t millionaires by the time they are 25 then they are abject failures. But then it would be “You’re only a millionaire? Not a multi-millionaire? Not a billionaire? Please.” It’s not that nothing will never be good enough, it’s more a fear that kids aren’t living up to potential, or the Joneses. A bit of both.
So, Uncle V is watching Novak Djokovic very intently. He is proud of a countryman succeeding and excelling in his sport and enjoying the match. Cousin T wanted some attention, so like only a daughter could do to her father she gave him a hard time.
“You talk about him like he was your son! You wish he was your child, not me”.
“At least he has done something with his life.”
And that was pretty much the end of the conversation. Point. Set. Match.
Well played Uncle V.