I’m back from a sports week in France ahead of the World Cup and am struck by the irony of nostalgia for the past—in this case, 1998—which very much celebrated the future.
1968 was a year that shook the world as protests rocked the United States, Mexico, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Tokyo, and points in between. By mid-May in France, workers joined student protesters in a nation-wide strike that shut down much of daily life. Often overlooked was the role of the sports world during the “Events of May,” as the movement is still referred to.
I learned more on women's football at the Upfront and Onside #HiddenHistory conference in 48-hours than you can possibly imagine. And I'm struck by many similarities and differences to both the men’s game as well as other global sports like basketball. Here are a few key take-always as I continue to process the vast quantities of information and ideals downloaded:
Instead of suffering the post-Olympics blues, I’ve been crazily inundated with global sports. From the second window of FIBA World Cup qualifiers, where France secured their berth in the next round of playoff competition, to the start of the She Believes Cup, it’s been a big week, one that’s not yet over! Sunday Les Bleues play the USWNT here in the New York area, conveniently setting my mood to finish a paper I’m giving next week—more on that soon. But before I dial back into women’s football, I’m eyeing the West Coast Conference in Las Vegas today and its 2018 Hall of Honor inductees, including one French basketteur, Ronny Turiaf (congrats!).
The annual extravaganza kicks-off tonight with the Rising Stars Challenge where New York Knicks’ Frank Ntilikina will make his debut with Team World. It’s yet another ‘first’ for the 19-year old rookie Frenchman, who is starting to settle in to the league—helped possibly by the echoes of French in the locker room (teammates Joakim Noah and Emmanuel Mudiay are both fluent). Like generations of other ‘Frenchies’ in the NBA (who have similarly arrived more or less fluent in English), Ntilikina still has an aura of starry-eyed optimism surrounding his desire to succeed.