Adam Gopnnik: 61-68, 86-105, 144-165


In the section "Rules of the Sport" Gopnik concludes

"If talking about the bureaucracy takes the place of
talking about sports, getting involved with the
bureaucracy takes the place of exercise." (67)

Would you agree that this is true? Is it common for men
to sit around and discuss politics? Is it common for
men to sit around and watch sports on tv? How about the
spirit and attention given to Les Bleus? Does the
soccer team get more attention than other sports in


Gopnik narrates the incident of the American woman who
orders people to sit down so that the "little kids can

Then he explains how Americans believe that "any
troubles are simple misunderstandings" and so would
voice out their thoughts immediately to rectify a

From his writings on the French, it seems to me that
they tend to approach circumstances in a quiet,
understated way? or that they tend to be more subtle in
their reactions and comments? For eg, when he narrates
how the chair was in place for his son to play pinball,
and when the receptionists at the gym had "hurried,
hushed conferences" about him wanting to visit the gym

What do you all think? Is this a somewhat accurate
description of Americans and French in general?

For the french students,

I am curious about the idea of sports in France. It
seems, from the Gopnik reading about sports, that sports
does not serve as the universal link between people when
thye have little in common like it does here. Instead,
politics take the place of sports in everyday
interaction. The French soccer team seems to ahve
enormous amounts of support, but maybe that's just an
American misconception. How does the support for the
national team balance with the lack on enthusiasm for
sports in france?


Yes, I too am curious about sports. In America, schools
and universities have many sports teams. In my high
school, maybe half of the kids, if not more,
participated in after-school sports. I am told that in
France, however, school sports teams are not common.
Does this mean that there are independent sports clubs,
not affiliated with schools (which are also common in
America), to which kids belong, or to most kids just
play sports with their friends, not in an organized
fashion? What about adults? Do many people do jogging?
Or is running around the city the whole day enough to
stay in shape? (I think that part of the reason why
health clubs are so popular in the US is because many
people live in the suburbs and always use the car to get
around, thus not doing any physical activity).

According to our TA, school sports teams are just not as
common in France. Although there is a gym requirement
for the Bac, she indicated that serious sports
committments like those seen in our high schools and
colleges are not as prevalent. Apparently there are
high schools more geared towards sports (especially
soccer) and it seemed like the student athletes did a
less rigorous academic program. Also, she was telling us
how she had started jogging once she came here to tell
here friends how she had gone to the US and gone
jogging. She seemed to think it was quite a novel
experience. -sayumi


Pour certaines personnes (comme moi je l'avoue) le sport
est très important (Par sport, j'entend biesûr regarder
des matchs de football à la télé avec mes amis et de la
bière). En France, le football est le seul sport majeur
contrairement aux Etats-Unis ou il y a le Foot US, le
Basket (Spurs and Mavs rule), le Baseball et le Hockey.
De même, se plaindre de l'administration est un sport
national en France et sur l'inefficacité d la
bureaucratie, il y a beaucoup à dire...




En France (et depuis la glorieuse dâte du 12 juillet
1998), toute la France aime le football et les joueurs
de l'équipe de France (sauf peut-être Karembeu et Anelka
parce qu'un des deux est très mauvais et que l'autre a
un sale caractère).

Jonathan, qui encourage Thierry Henry, le grand Patrick
Vieira et les gunners.



En France on ne fait que rarement du sport au lycée ou à
l'école sauf lors des cours obligatoires. Mais il y a
beaucoup de clubs non-affiliés aux écoles. De même, on
joue souvent entre amis.

Jonathan, qui aime et aimera toujours les gunners malgrè
leur défaite à Manchester.


J'ai été au Lycée avec des jeunes qui pratiquaient le
sport (natation, football, Kayak...) a un très haut
niveau et c'est vrai qu'ils avaient souvent moins
d'exigences académiques que l'élève moyen. C'est
d'ailleurs regrettable pour eux car aujourd'hui, ils
n'ont aucun diplôme...


Jonathan, Were the students you speak of in a special
sports program? If so, how does one get into such a
program? -sayumi