Right now France is hosting a sporting event called the Rugby World Cup. It’s an 8 week tournament held every four years that has a huge following in Western Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. Dave has been a fan of rugby for a long time and thinks the World Cup is the best sporting event anywhere. And he has fallen in love with the French team, called Les Bleus (for the color of their uniforms).
France has never won the World Cup but has come close several times. Last Saturday, in the tournament quarterfinals, France shocked the best team in the world (New Zealand) in a huge upset. Because of that win, tonight Les Bleus play England to decide which team will play in the final next Saturday at the Stade de France in Paris. Like Dave, the country has fallen in love with the team and its enormous long-haired grizzly adams enforcer, Sebastien Chabal. At Abby’s school, the headmaster has taped photos of the team all over the windows of his office. Everyone is very hopeful.
All this week people have talked about the match with England. Basically the comments boil down to “It’s OK to lose to anyone except England.” Or “I don’t care if we win the tournament as long as we beat England.” Or more simply, "I don't like England.”
We don’t have anything like this in the United States. The “rivalry” between France and England extends back almost a thousand years to 1066 when a French noble - William the Conqueror - successfully invaded England and crowned himself king. Since that time, almost non-stop, France and England have been at each others’ throats and, frankly, most of the time it's been England at the throats of the French.
Tonight they’ll be at it again. Dave has been wearing his team t-shirt all day, and tonight we're watching the match with some friends, along with twenty or thirty million others in France. Allée Les Bleus!
Labels: Culture. Shock?, Frenchies We Love