Soccer….Family Style


What to do when the French Mock Your 1-0 Loss #USMNT #AOinParis
November 12, 2011, 4:33 am
Filed under: International Soccer, Supporter Culture, Uncategorized, US Soccer | Tags: , ,

My trip in Paris has been really lovely, but I’m typically pretty incognito as an American in Europe. Most Europeans assume that all Americans have long hair, and I speak enough French and plenty of German, which is not typical, so I was surprised to see how my interaction with Parisians took a nose dive once I was in my USA gear for the game. Then after the game, on the Metro back to my hotel, still face-painted and decked out, but in good spirits, the drunk French boys were a little ridiculous.

Four of us Americans stopped for food next to the stadium to let the Metro traffic die down, and around the stadium, the French were pretty nice. People shook hands, took photos with us, it was relatively friendly. Jason, a supporter from New York, and I took the Metro most of the way home together. When I left him, I had a transfer and one stop til I was back at my stop, “La Fouche” (my new favorite word to say in French). I beat the gate closed for the second time (is there anything as exhilarating as making the last train with only minutes to spare?) But then I was trapped on the platform, waiting for the last train, with a bunch of drunk French kids who hadn’t bothered to go to the game, but felt they knew enough to be obnoxious with me.

Here’s a lesson kids, even in a foreign language, it’s tough to out insult me. So here’s my guide for dealing with drunken, obnoxious French fans:
1, Be friendly. I think it was Jason that initially said “When we travel, we let the away team have one goal, to be a good guest.” Most people laughed and shook our hands. But a few were determined to changed my mind back to the belief that French people are really just a bunch of d bags.
2. When the comeback is “Yeah, but you still lost.” My next comeback was “You didn’t even go to the game, and I had a great night there. It was a good game.” Which they’re supposed to see as, dude, it’s just a friendly, lighten up.
3. But some didn’t, and to those, you must start speaking English very quickly, although still with a nice tone “Look, you won by one point in a friendly, big effin deal. I’m an American, you think I’ve never been to a loss before, get over yourself.” You can rattle on here as long as you want, but as you walk away, slow down your English a little and say “Hey, in the 2010 Coupe du Monde (World Cup in French…and you must use French just there), where were you guys in the 2nd round? (You can hold up 2 fingers, just to make sure they get it). Granted, I didn’t have a huge sample set, but that wiped the smile off 100% of drunk French boy faces. Except the one guy, who was particularly amused watching me fend off one particularly drunk fan. As the drunk fan stumbled away with his sad face on, I caught him smirking, and asked if he spoke English. He said yes, and we just smiled and laughed about the whole “drunk guy getting hauled off by his girlfriend” scene. All in all, it was a great night in Paris.

One more day here, then it’s the night train to Florence for 2 days there. I speak zero Italian. Should be interesting….

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