Basketball in French

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If you want to find Americans in Strasbourg, just go to a basketball game.

Last Friday, I went to the Strasbourg IG (SIG) vs. Nancy professional basketball game in Strasbourg. Not surprisingly, 10 out of the 21 players for Strasbourg were American and based on the names on the Nancy jerseys, I guessed that about half of their team was as well.

The stadium was no Madison Square Garden. My tickets were 12 euros. There were no flashy distracting screens, and instead of constant electronic sound effects, a small band played continuously at one end of the court, leading cheers in French that I usually didn’t understand but clapped along to anyway. The enthusiasm was still there, although for the first half, the audience simply clapped politely after each successful Strasbourg basket. At one point, I clapped when the opposing team missed a foul shot. My French friend leaned over and whispered, “Uh, that’s a little impolite, no?”

I froze in mid-clap and looked at him, astonished. I feel like Americans have a whole list of taunts and cheers for missed shots by the opponent.

“Nah, that’s more for soccer,” he explained, pointing out the large sign on one end of the court that said, “SIG promotes a respectful atmosphere.”

Ah. Gotcha.

It wasn’t until the last quarter, when Strasbourg came from behind to win the game during the last few minutes, that people began to stand and yell. After an amazing alley-oop and a slam dunk that sealed the victory, the stadium turned into a dance party and the fans descended onto the floor to high-five the coaches and players. Definitely an entertaining night!

Visit: http://sigbasket.fr/

The white stork, the bird representing Alsace, is the SIG's mascot

The white stork, the bird representing Alsace, is the SIG’s mascot

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Alexis Ajinca, the 7'1" star of the match is interviewed after the victory.

Alexis Ajinca, the 7’1″ star of the match is interviewed after the victory.

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