The View
from Here:

    Ellen Lampert-Greaux lives in Petite Saline and is the new editor-in-chief of Harbour Magazine, and when she's not organizing the St. Barth Film Festival, or writing for various magazines, she turns her all-seeing eye upon local happenings.

    July '06

    Allez Les Blues !
    Screaming "Allez les Bleus" has been the national pastime in Saint Barth since the World Cup soccer matches started in Germany early last month. It translates to "Let's go Blues," which is something like yelling "Let's go Tigers" at a Princeton football game. American football that is, which is not to be confused with soccer, which of course the rest of the world calls football, which of course only confuses Americans a little more than the rules of the game itself, which no one can understand unless they started playing "football" somewhere around the age of six. The "Blues" is the nickname for the French national team, so called for the first color in the blue/white/red sections of the French flag. But today (Sunday, July 9) was like a day of national mourning in all of France, including Saint Barth, where the hysteria leading up to the World Cup final had been building for over a week. At first nobody gave the French team a shot at even making it to the finals, much less winning. The team was referred to as over the hill, with at least two of the star players in their last international competition, or any competition for that matter, before retirement. That includes Zinedine Zidane, nicknamed Zizou, born in Marseilles of Algerian descent, who was the all-star captain of the French national team, until today when he was expelled from the game after head-butting one of the Italian players (who did their fair share of dirty dancing on the field if you ask me...). Poor Zizou, instead of going out in the glory of another World Cup win- he lead the French to victory in 1998- he left his team without a leader, and they lost in overtime "penalty" kicks, where the players have a one-on-one free kick and try and knock down the goalie (at least that's what it looks like to me, but of course I think the whole think looks like one of those table soccer games with lots of little men flailing their feet in pursuit of the ball). In any case, everybody in St Barth seemed to be tuned in to the match. Many restaurants and bars advertised large screen TVs. After the French won in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, there was immediate hysteria on the island, horns honking, people screaming, dogs barking! People had French flags painted on their faces. Today the island was ready for another big win. They had French flags flying on their houses and their cars, and not another flag was to be had on the island (but I'll bet you could probably get a couple pretty cheap today...and the silence after the game was deafening). One of the most interesting things about the French team is that France's one-time colonial power is reflected in the power on the playing field, with at least a dozen players from the French West Indies and French Guyana (not to mention Zizou and his Algerian parentage). This makes the Saint Barth natives even prouder of the French team, for they may be French, but they are West Indians, just like the stars of their national team.

    More to come,
    Ellen Lampert-Greaux
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