North vs. south
If you live in the US you’ll be aware of a rivalry between the north and the south that dates back to at least 1864 when the Civil War ended. Bill once had a boss in Atlanta who said that he was taking his family back to New Jersey so that his kids would learn in school which side really won that war. There’s a rivalry here between those same two regions of the country except it’s centered around something much more interesting: sports.
Football (soccer) may be king in the northern part of France but rugby holds the crown here in the south. Carcassonne has its own professional team and we’ve already walked up a couple of times to the stadium where they play. Don’t worry—we haven’t gone sports crazy; just out on walks along the river. We could dress the part if we wanted to though since the team itself, called US Carcassonne, has an online boutique. I thought it would be humorous to have a shirt with that logo but alas, the US is not a country name but is an abbreviation for Union Sportive. There’s also a shop in town on the main pedestrian street devoted exclusively to rugby wear but I think as close as we’re going to get to that is the photo you see here with Bill posing beside their mascot.
In a comparison between the two sports in France I just read that there are 18,000 football clubs vs. 2000 for rugby and you apparently need a license if you’re going to play for one of those latter clubs as it’s deemed too dangerous for the untrained. I guess this slogan that’s on a poster I just saw must be true: “Football is 90 minutes of pretending that you’re hurt. Rugby is 80 minutes of pretending that you’re not.”