We've been watching the quadrennial European soccer championship for the past three weeks, but we didn't even bother looking for Jews. Face it, European soccer and Jews just don't mix.
If we did attempt to find Jews, the last person we'd consider is Mario Balotelli. On the field, he is a brilliant player whose two goals against Germany led Italy to the title game. So, yes, Italian. Yes, black. Yes, mohawked. Yes, downright nutty.
Recently, Balotelli was playing with fireworks — indoors — setting his house on fire. When questioned by the English police why he was carrying 5,000 pounds in cash, he answered, "Because I'm rich". He threw darts at a youth player, calling it a prank. "I am not crazy, but sometimes I do strange things," he says.
Balotelli's upbringing was quite strange as well. Born in Italy to Ghanaian emigrants, he had major health problems as a child, and was adopted by a foster family, later taking on their name. Earlier this year, after the Italian team visited Auschwitz, an improbable truth came out: a somber Balotelli revealed that his adoptive mother — "my mother", he calls her — is Jewish.
There is absolutely no evidence that Balotelli himself was raised Jewish, which hasn't stopped various hate groups from attacking him. He's taking it all in stride, with a demeanor one would not assume from his off-the-field shenanigans.
So, we're back where we started. No Jews at the European soccer championship. Well, maybe in another four years...