by Fiona Ferbrache
As an avid supporter of cricket, where I live in southwest France, I was delighted to read that the sport in France is to be given a boost with a state-recognised diploma in professional cricket coaching. This accompanies the ambition of France Cricket to see the sport taught formally in schools. At present, approximately 40% of cricketers in France are French, and multinational teams tend to comprise Britons, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and West Indians – players from countries where cricket is part of childhood. However, the future of cricket in France cannot depend upon immigrants in the wider community, but needs to nurture enthusiasm among the country’s youth.
Bringing cricket into schools is part of a long-term plan for its prosperity in France. Collins and Coleman (2008), in Geography Compass, argue that schools play central roles in shaping children’s identities, values and aspirations, and connecting them with the wider community. A different version of the quintessentially English game, le kwik cricket, is promoted to French schools, and elsewhere in the country the game has evolved as something unique (i.e. its pitches, players, languages, organisation, and tea-breaks), but not absolutely different from cricket played in other countries. Subsequently, schools have the power to propel pupils towards a game that adopts a cosmopolitan attitude in France; it is open to, and accepting of, multinational diversity and cultural difference, which I have seen come together on the transcultural French cricket pitch. Hence, the case study of France Cricket provides one example of the way in which Collins and Coleman argue that “schools are places of considerable social [cultural] and political significance.
Adam Sage The TimesOnline 05 June 2010 “Et Alors: How French cricketers arim to beat us at our own game”
Collins, D. & Coleman, T. (2008) Social Geographies of Education: looking within, and beyond, school boundaries, Geography Compass. January, 2008
ACCSO (2010) Covering cricket in the southwest of France