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Those who know me, might have been very surprised to see me mingling with militaries lately, as constraints and protocols are not really my things. But we do talk about 2 of my passions here : basketball and international life.
Maybe, likewise me not that long time ago, you didn’t know that specific sportive events exist for militaries: Olympic games, regional cups, international tournaments, etc…. Supported by the CISM (the international council for military sports), nations so travel worldwide to play again each other.
I became aware of this parallel world thanks to Angélique Lopy, member of the French military basketball team. (Yes, there are national teams for military basketball too!). Thanks to her, I experienced the best of both worlds: basketball and military.
When Angélique introduced me into her world, my 1st question has been: “How can you reconcile a military career, sportive commitment and private life? To me, it’s such a bold choice for a woman!”
Angélique : «Well, it’s definitely not that simple. I am torn between doing the right things for me and the things right for others. 2013/2014 has been very challenging for me. I had to deal with my basketball practices, my boyfriend and my career. As they were all spread all over France, weeks and weekends were pretty busy. I came back home really late at night after practices and had to show up early the day after at work. Eventually I had to make a choice between spending my free time playing basketball and hanging out with my beloved one. At some point, I chose to favor my private life. It broke my heart though, because my job, my basketball, and my man are vital to me, and losing one of them is like losing my own self. I hope I will have the opportunity to reconcile them all really soon. The most important thing to me is to manage to do everything I love and love everything I do, with strength and honor.
As Angélique talked about me to her coach, I have been offered to embrace a challenging adventure: promote the French military basketball teams. Indeed, military basketball was not represented in France since last year. When I asked the Capitain Lebrun, in charge of military sports for the French Defense (CNSD), his expectations for the discipline, he told me: « We are entering in a new dynamic, with short term goals: the international tournament in Meyenheim, the World Games in Korea, and the Female World Cup in France in 2015. We now need to buoy our new teams up to the international level. To do so, we have to work hand in hand with the main representatives of basketball in France. Both the players and staff have the envy, so we have to capitalize on it and ensure we could put French military basketball under the spotlights by obtaining good results”.
We so did as we were told. We so worked with the FFBB and CNSD, to support these men and women who dedicated their professional and personal lives to serve their country on every field. Promoting their bold choice to represent their colors during the 1st international tournament of military basketball organized in France. 4 females and 4 males teams representing Brazil, USA, Kuwait, Germany and France, have so spent 10 days somewhere in Alsace to compete on a basketball court. I was there, and I really mingled with the best of both worlds: Colonel, Majors, chiefs of delegations, international coach, professional players…
When basketball teams coming from all over the world are gathered in one single place at the same time, trust me you end up with lifetime memories! Been hosted in a military base, shared collective dorms, abode by a tight agenda governing meals, practices and bus departures times, translated speech on stage, jabbered in Portuguese with high authorities, well some kind of things I surely will remember!
I bet Emilie Gomis will do too. The champion, member of the classic French basketball team, spent 2 days with the french delegation. Somewhere between “protocoling and funnying”, we definitely have lived awesome moments with these athletes.
Concerning the sportive results, Brazil won all the gold medals, females winning over the USA after a tight game, and males beating largely Kuwaitis. Our French teams both reached the 3rd place, leaving German teams behind.
Throughout the national anthems, somewhere between solidarity and pride, all the 8 teams made us travel, laugh, doubt and definitely thrill. I am so thankful to these men and women, who proved that basketball is borderless, and perfectly illustrated the CISM motto “Friendship through sport”.
You can follow the French military basketball team on Facebook : Equipe de France Militaire