Monday, June 02, 2008

Who do you want to win?

We are not a sporting family, but there are some major sporting events, like the World Cup or the Olympics, where you can’t help wanting your country to win. But being a dual-nationality family we are sometimes split on which team we support. When I hear the British anthem being sung, or see Prince William and Henry in the crowd, I can’t help but join in with the chorus of God save the Queen! Seeing the England team run out makes me want to get out the English flag. Jacques has the same effect when he hears the patriotic La Marseillaise.

Which team should our children support? Mummy’s or Papa’s country? It’s tense in our house when it’s an England v France game. There’s always someone who asks the children who do you want to win? England and France are often come head-to-head in the last few matches of an international tournament. In general, Marc and Nina support France, while Gabriel and I are cheering for England (this could be linked to Gabriel having an England football strip that he wears for all sporting events). Should I feel let-down that two of my children don’t support my country? Sport is, after all, about bonding and feeling part of a team or a nation. They live in France now and at school hear kids talking about famous French sporting celebrities.

Luckily there are some players who are admired by both countries. David Beckham. Eric Cantona. Thierry Henry. The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, and five players (who are French, so Marc informs me). French rugby player, Sébastien Chabal, plays for a club in England, even though he cried in public when England beat France in the semi-finals of the Six Nations competition.

Even though we play to win we’ll happily swap sides when our team is knocked out of the game. At the recent Rugby competition last October, when England famously kicked out France in the semi-finals, we all cheered for England in the following match. I would have done the same for France. I was weepy when France lost to Italy in the 2006 World Cup.

That leaves the intriguing question – if one or more of our children was really talented at a sport which country would they play for?

No comments: