How Sporty is France?
It’s very easy to make sweeping generalisations about countries. Way back in 2nd or 3rd year of secondary school, our geography teacher assured us that all Danish people were bad-tempered because it was always windy in Denmark. I believed that firmly until Chris went off to work there for a year just after we were married. (No connection, honestly.) I discovered that Danish people are cheerful, friendly and generous.
So although we know that many stereotypes are vague at best and untrue at worst, we still use them and many are concerned with sport. The Brazilians are good at football. Ethiopians are marathon runners. Canadians are ice hockey players, and so on. French people are often said to be good at cycling and at the 2012 London Olympics the country’s cyclists did well. So too did its swimmers and judogi.
Now you can see what other sports as well as those that the French get up to, and where. Caiti sent me this link to a map of sports by commune in France. It shows the number of people affiliated to official sports bodies per 1,000 of the population. The most affiliations per 1,000 dictates what sport is the one for that commune. So for Nouzerines, our commune, it’s judo. Eight Nouzerinois are members of the French Judo Federation, and since the findings are based on recnt figures, 25% of that result consists of the Dagg family, in the form of Caiti and Rors.
Move your mouse across the map and you’ll discover every commune’s speciality.
There’s another map that gives a more general overview of the nation’s sportiness.
Creuse comes out as one of the least sporty, but you have to bear in mind that it’s a poor rural département with an average age of 60+. It doesn’t just mean we’re all lazy here. Richer areas with a younger population partake to a greater extent and often in the more expensive sports of golf, tennis and ski-ing. And all the statistics involve only official sports clubs. They don’t take into account the geocachers, the independent cyclists, the walkers, the joggers, the swimmers who do their own thing to keep fit.
That aside, it still gives a very interesting snapshot of a nation frequently considered more interested in eating than exercising. That’s not the case at all.