THE ONE ABOUT FOOTBALL (THE REAL ONE, OK!)

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By Didier Allouch, host of Rendez-vous d'Amérique

My dear francophiles, francovorous and francophageous friends, I’ve got a question for you: what is the language of football?

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My dear francophiles, francovorous and francophageous friends, I’ve got a question for you: what is the language of football?

First of all, to avoid any confusion, I’m talking about the real football, the one Americans call soccer. One day, I will have to work seriously to understand why they stole our sport’s name for their own sport. Don’t get me wrong, I really like American Football (Go Rams!), but football is football.

So now that it’s clear that we’re talking about football, in which language should we continue this discussion?

I guess that for a Spaniard, football speaks Spanish, for the Brits, it’s English, in Amsterdam, it’s Dutch, Portuguese in Lisbon, etc.

But for me, football speaks French. No question, it has always been like this. When I was a kid in my kitchen, I was listening to my parents’ radio for the French league games with unforgettable radio commentators like Jacques Vendroux or Eugene Saccomano.

I lost my voice screaming “Allez Les Bleus” in the Parc Des Princes in 1984, on the day of our first victory in a big tournament, the Euro 1984. 2-0 against Spain, I was there (I was very young OK). I partied like crazy after the World Cup victory in 1998…

Even now that I live in the U.S., football still speaks French in my home. I’m always watching the French league games on TV5MONDE, especially if the great Didier Roustan is commentating (Didier is a master at his craft), and I’m always listening to the game on French radio, live on the internet, in my car, or on my Alexa, etc.

Right now, probably like a lot of you, I’m watching the Euro games on ESPN. But I turn the sound off and put on the French radio commentaries on my Alexa. It’s a nightmare to synchronize everything, but I don’t mind. In my house, football has to speak French.

I know it’s a bit dumb, but I also know I’m not the only one. Lots of my football friends are using the same strategies.

Yes, I know, it doesn’t really matter and it’s a lot of work to go through all this just for football, but what if it wasn’t?

What if it is just more proof that francophonie is more than an academic notion, that it permeates every aspect of our lives, and that it is more than just formal culture? It’s a part of us, from the more important parts of our lives, to the more futile like football in French. These are our roots…

Oh, and one last thing: ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!!

To learn more about Francophonie, tune in to Rendez-vous d’Amérique on TV5MONDE USA. Click here for more information.

Exploring cultural diversity through film, art, and so much more, Rendez-vous d'Amérique invites you on a journey to discover Francophone culture in America. Your host on this cultural experience is Didier Allouch - reporter, cinephile, and a familiar face on the red carpet. Click here to learn how you can subscribe to TV5MONDE USA and never miss an episode!