Tag Archives: french football

>FIFA world cup as seen by the Girl in Guadeloupe

14 Jun

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I may have heckled Oakland A’s fans when they played the Red Sox at Oakland. I may not so silently have wished that USA would win the gold medal over and over again during some Olympic games. I also bought two Red Sox baseball caps for les Monstres. (which got them quite a lot of criticism from grown men in Disneyland – dude, the kid is 5 and he speaks French so back up, no really) ..and I MAY …may.. have been a cheerleader in high school…for hockey. Go ahead. Re-read that. It’s there. I said it. It’s best to save the horrid details for an entirely different blog post. As it is, with that small line I suspect I shall be the recipient of The Pirate’s famous smirk later on, followed by clever set-ups into which I will walk blindly, so that he can get some good punch lines in at my expense. So be it. This, my friends is what you do for love.

Despite all of this, I am not a sports fan. I don’t follow any team. I don’t idolise any player. I never had posters of athletes in my bedroom as a teenager. Just Michael Jackson’s thriller poster. You know the one, yellow around the edges, he’s all dressed in a white suit. I see now that a tribute to Joan Jett would have been far more explainable in years to come. Sigh.

Here I am – in soccer – sorry FOOTBALL – country. French football country. As the local paper accurately pointed out: what will have Guadeloupeans in front of the television more so than all possible road bike races combined? You got it: The FIFA world cup!
I have noticed many signs around town offering ‘Football sur le grand ecran’…Soccer on the big screen! This is really something for Guadeloupe, which is not at all set up in the American sportsway, tv’s in every corner of every establishment under all circumstances at all times hell or high water whatever you do don’t begin a conversation that needs to be longer than this commercial….
So it’s big, is what I’m saying. People are excited. Groups are gathering. Bets are being placed. Big bets, a friend has twenty grand on Argentina over France. Beers and rhum are being consumed. Women who don’t watch are getting some free time from their pirates. Oops! Did I say that? I did. Sure, sometimes I take advantage and leave The Pirate to roar ‘Aaarrrrrr’ all day with his mates, but sometimes I’m happy to join in. Why not? It’s social. It’s fun, and it’s a good mental challenge this year with the location for the World Cup being in South Africa. What I’m talking about is the vuvuzela, an African instrument which, when multiplied by thousands of people using them at once, sounds like a never silent angry beehive. I find it a serious mental challenge not to hear this and a challenge to focus on the game instead.
I enjoy the connection I find during this time due to the world cup. When I go on facebook there are comments and friendly eggings-on. Lucky for me I’m connected to a few big time followers so I can follow their status updates and be in the know. Great way to seem like you’re into it, you know what I mean? I’m not fake. I’m simply trying to participate in a conversation with my limited knowledge.

As it heats up I admit to wondering how the US team is doing. Perhaps deep down I have a need to heckle. I need a team to cheer on so that I can really participate, instead of hearing the proverbial record come to a scratching halt when I start over-reacting to something I thought was live but was an instant replay. Sigh. I’m not sure how into it I’ll get, because to be honest, what is more interesting to me than the match itself is how people respond to and support the teams. It might be a good way to get to know people, once you see who they’re cheering for, maybe there is an interesting story as to why. Soon we’ll be in San Francisco for vacation and I look forward to walking through North Beach, past the bar where all the crazy Italians watch football and drink expresso when the time comes, arms flailing, cigarettes smoking, fists pounding the tables in bad times and hugs and cheek kisses in good… Ahh…nostalgia. See? Even for a non sports fan it’s memorable. Sports are like music – everyone can enjoy even if not everyone can play.

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