A pink taxi

A pink taxi

June 23, 2010

Blue Heroes

In the wake of its disapointing loss in the World Cup 210, my brother and I feel the need to reassert our support for the French soccer team.  My brother has added some remarks to this entry, but we essentially shared the same views throughout these games.

My eldest son didn't cry tuesday when France was defeated by South Africa. We both had wiped some tears already when they lost against Mexico. He didn't call for "La France" in his sleep as he had when they drew against Uruguay. We were both standing by the screen, almost there on the bench with Thierry Henry, cheering our heroes until the last minute. My brother sat with us during the three games, wearing his vintage Coq Sportif jersey. My youngest son ran around wearing a hand me down Zidane jersey that had belonged to his brother six years ago.When you support a team, you support them through thick and thin, is what we believed throughout the games. Even if  they lose. You recognize their failures, you acknowledge the odds against them and you hold steady. Where is the passion and loyalty otherwise? France reflected their dreams and aspirations on the French team,  and what they got was a reality check: a miror image of themselves.

In the posting "Can I just have one month of cable please?", I attempted to convey the emotional attachment I've had to "Les Bleus" since 1998. While I stick to that memorable year of my marriage, I believe in the recommendation that has been given to the team: "Tuez la mere" (kill the mother) which means they must find a new game, let go of the Oedipus complex and move on from the victorious Zidane. Innovate. That recipe won't work again. The sports commentators should stop referring to '98. Most players on the team are new and did not play in '98.

Take Frank Ribery for example. Example is chosen because we have encountered him twice personally in Dubai, when he trains here with Bayern Munich. My son asked him: "Why do you play with a German team? He simply answered "because they need my help". That same Ribery kindly posed for pictures with my two sons, on two separate occasions, a year apart,  and told my eldest son: "Of course I remember you. Weren't you at X location last year?" Ribery didn't disapoint this World Cup either. He ran up and down the flank, lonely, with no partner to share the ball with, till finally Domenech allowed Henry to join the field.

What the French team did this World Cup was that they colored the sport with drama and tales. Locker room conversations, strikes and personality clashes shone in the headlines.  Perhaps the players inherited that rebelliousness from Zidane. They won't submit passively to bureaucratic authority. The rest of the world calls them "banlieusards" referring to the residential projects they grew up in. What is wrong with that? Their origins, like the favelas of Brazilian players or the gecekondus of Turkish players, gave them their aura. Where did we expect them to come from, private academies?

Therefore, when they are in the locker rooms and faced with head on rigid stubbornness from above, they rebel and they curse like any adult would. I am not questioning the fact that Anelka was suspended after the insult and I am not defending the team for striking in his support (even though we have to grant them team spirit for doing so, when all speak of selfishness and individualism). I can't help but admire their "culot" or nerve. Perhaps pride describes best Anelka's sentiment , as we see him walk out of Domenech's gordian knot, in this photo, head high, with the same stride as Muhammad Ali!‎​​

I love heroes in defeat. Their vulnerability makes them human.


  1. I was watching the French disasterous games,with comments coming fresh from French TV!Disappointment!Disaster!Let down!were amongst the many adjectives used by the wailing stations!What was worse was the news deidcated at 8Heur to the games,the stories behind them.The FFF trying to justify the defeat,the Minister of Sport trying to mother the team and on the light side was the fun made through puppets on Canal+!I wish my French was better to grasp the totality of the comments,but then I got the jest of it.The French team played the worse amongst the Euro teams,yet the German,Italian nor English fared much better.I think those stars have become so arrogant and money-minded,that they forgot that they were playing for a national team.
    In 2014,hopefully they would have learnt their lesson and played with esprit sportif!

  2. I don't believe that arrogance was what led the Bleus to lose. After this awful run that they had in South Africa, they have been shockingly received in france with rotten tomatoes and racist commentary . I find that attitude from the French, unacceptable and repulsive. They were willing to call them French when they win, but when they don't they become dirty immigrants? This is very sad, and wouldn't happen in any other country. Le Pen's people are taking this story out of proportion and turning it into propaganda against immigrants and blacks.
    Without these African stars and Arab players, the French team wouldn't even have qualified for the World Cup or ever have won. What of Zidane? Is he not a "beur" de la banlieue? He was their hero then, but now does he no longer represent the spirit of France? What I fell in love with in 1998, while in Paris, was the spirit of solidarity the country embraced around their team. It was a team of young men from various races and of the poorer strata of society but they made it to the top as French. If these same men, some of them different today, can win as French, the supremacist racist French must accept the fact that they must also take the risk that these same men will lose as French.

    Domenech, their white French coach is to be blamed 100 percent. A coach makes or breaks a team ,especially when the individual players are winners in all other soccer clubs.

    Les Bleus won in 1998 and almost did in 2006 as French and they also lost as French. Whoever calls them anything else should be ashamed.


  3. riberry schmiberry french deserve to go home...whats more shocking is that the Italians are leaving as well!! Boooooooooo