The global takeover of French handball begins in Miami
The Marlins settled for 600 fans to a home game last year. The Panthers are literally giving away tickets. Our minor-league soccer team is hemmoraging cash, And those are sports that Americans have at least heard of.
Alain Smadja has a gleam in his eyes when he speaks of America, like a pioneer of the Wild West who moves to virgin and fertile earth.
Miami, then... Sometimes referred to as "God's Waiting Room" because of the number of retirees who move there. Today, the region of Greater Miami (around 5 million inhabitants) is a veritable melting-pot that would make the American founding fathers proud. Half the population is Hispanic, a million residents are Cuban, 400,000 Brazilians, but also many Europeans including 30,000 French. Unlike the citizens of Nebraska and Texas, Floridians will maybe have at least heard a distant cousin speak of handball in their lives... Anyway, its not the lack of handcall culture in the United States that frightens Cristian Zaharia, whose marketing slogans are ready, "It's the most American sport that the Americans are not yet playing! Americans are going to love handball. Why isn't soccer taking the desired momentum? Because, above all, Americans detest all those 0-0 or 1-1 matches. Handball offers plenty of goals and spectacle. It will not be a problem to fill the gym. Americans are consumers of sport. It's normal for them to be fans of something and to be fans for life. And in their eyes, thanks to this event, French handball will be the best handball in the world. And many will feel the calling, because Americans love winners."
The games will not be played in an hour but accoriding to the big format that the Americans like. Multiple demonstrations and side shows are therefore anticipated, notably the "bands", musical groups that are typical for a college sports atmosphere.
From that last quote, we're guessing Burnie will be making a cameo. Sigh.
For info on tickets to the tournament, which begins on April 10, go here. Don't worry, billing will be kept discrete.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.