Say it with a French Accent

Framboise reflects on a hectic week in Rennes ...

Yes, it’s over.
I’m back in my room, typing away
after an event that will stay in the History books as probably one of the best events ever produced on the Squash scene.

No, it’s not me who says it. The officials from the ESF, the WSF, the players, everybody praises the French organisation, and among others of course, Mr Loic Thébault, owner of the Squash L’Hermine and one of the major conductors of the event.    LOIC THÉBAULT

"I know that the 100 volunteers will remember this event as long as they’ll live," said Loic. "It was beautiful, a lot of preparation, but the result worth it. And to the people from the squash circuit who came to me to congratulate me on the quality of the event, I say 'this should be the norm'."

If we want to expand our sport to the next level, that’s the way to treat the athletes who work very hard to entertain the audience."

And it was beautiful.

On the final day, France caused a bit of a problem to the ESF organisation by suggesting (strongly) that, like in all other sporting events happening on French soil, the marker should announce the scores in both languages. Michèle Lecomte (on the left in the photo), responsible for the "outrageous demand" said to me:

"I don't think that it's an inadequate or out of order request. In France, we are proud of our language, and not everybody in the audience speaks English. If we want to develop Squash in France, it's time to democratise the Sport, starting by the marking!"

So, for the first time in ESF history, markers announced score in French and in English. And you know what, it worked fine!

2,000 tickets were sold for the final day, the press coverage has been stupendous, I counted 4 TV cameras, transmitting live images on 2 giant screens on each side of the glass court, that gave us close ups of players, team atmosphere.

Posters all over town, and the venue is, according to major squash officials: "the best we ever saw"; "never saw anything like it, and I’ve been all over the world"; "this would be a perfect venue for the World event" … and so on, and so on.

Even the Party was perfection, although I doubt a lot of players will remember ANY details of it. (PS, I’ve got ALL the photos of the Welsh, English and French teams, and believe me, blackmail will be the name of this game…).

The food, the décor, the professionalism of the service, the quality of the food, of the wines, the musical atmosphere, the room…

The list is endless.

Even the presentation at the end of the competition was stunning and became very emotional when Corinne Castets, French number 3, 39 years old, announced her retirement from the competition. Not many dry eyes in the French crowd, team and organisation.

Peter Nicol congratulated the organisers of the event, and also "wished France better luck next time, but not too much luck …" and mentioned Adrian Grant for his 1st cap.

Thierry Lincou thanked Peter for the squash lesson, and said simply that the English were just too strong today.

But "the event was magic" he said. "I never felt anything thing like the support you gave us today ever in my life, and I thank you for it," he concluded, talking to the crowd.

It was beautiful, especially as the cameras were giving us close-ups of everybody’s faces, and the whole of the presentation was very emotional indeed.

Tomorrow, back to my adopted country, where I will have to learn English all over again.

Next Saturday, the Charity Event in Pontefract,
the next day, the National League Final in Sheffield,
and the next day, the start of the Super Series Finals.

Yeah, like I’m going to sleep next week …

Hectic days at L'Hermine

Spectacular venue at Liberté