Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Death of a Nation

Ante-Scriptum: The following comments have been exaggerated to make a point. Although I don't love France, I don't pray for an English invasion. Not every day.

I've never tried to hide the fact that I detest France. I hate the French attitude. I despise French people. Should I remind you? I'm French...
I was born in Paris, and sure, I respect its long history. I recognize the magnificence of its culture: in paintings, literature, and most of all cuisine. But I find France, as it is today, repulsive. After a glimmer of hope with president Sarkozy's election in 2007, it looks like France is on the right track to stay the same it's always been. Behind.

Except... except I love the French soccer team. I've never missed a game where l'Equipe de France played. I know all of the players. I subscribe to a $12-a-month cable channel only to watch the 2 or 3 games they broadcast, with a delay, every year. Until today.

Today, France loss its game against Italy, and was eliminated from Euro 2008 in the first stage. In this tournament, for the first time, France, the soccer team, looked an awful lot like France, the country.

The coach, first. Raymond Domenech's attitude mirrors in every way French managers and politicians: seeing good things in a defeat ("What an effort from our 10 against their 11", he said today), being content with a draw ("We're right where we should be", he said after tying Romania in the most boring game of the decade), always happy with what it has, and never hoping for better.

But the comparison goes for the players as well. In a dead ring for every French worker, les Bleus seem never to care, always to wait. They never seek opportunities, never try to obtain the means to get ahead. You can find them most of the time chilling, surprised to see things move around them, happy to be where they are, not understanding why they should work to get better.

Thierry Henry: "I could be in Hawaii right now!"

"Work more to earn more", promised Sarkozy, and France disagreed. Not just because they don't want to work more (they certainly don't), but because they don't even want to earn more!
More than ever, the French work ethic seems to be: "Get comfortable. Wait. Wait... Retire".

Well, I don't care for the French team anymore. Watching them play their last few games, I fell my love for them slowly die. Two years ago, after Zidane head-butted an opponent, showing to the world how French people deal with pressure and competition - freaking out and cheating - I didn't care for their victory anymore. But still liked the team. Today, now that its soccer players have joined all other Frenchmen and women in a glorious tribute for laziness and indifference, I'm happy to severe the last tie I had with the country where I was born.

I will support the US team... well, at least watch some MLS on TV... or root for Italy? No, I can't do that... I wonder if Ribery's injury is bad... Maybe he'll be back next year... There's always 2010...

Allez les Bleus!!!