The rugby season started again a while ago. Aix wasn't doing so well, so we went to support them for their game against a slightly better team last Saturday. The grounds were chilly, there was an orchestra playing classics of Serbian music, cheesy dance music at the entrance, we couldn't get our hands on a sausage sandwitches on account of the crowd at the bar, some children had brought big signs with the name of the opposite team and hearts all around, and we won! Because we're the best! Well, not really the best, but at least now we're not last in the championship anymore. Hey, that's an achievement!

But there was something about that game we weren't all that pleased about. During the interval, a group of girls wearing flashy red and yellow clothes, tiny shorts and glittering pom-poms strutted onto the pitch to the sound of some cheery disco. And that's when we realised it had happened. There are cheerleaders in rugby now.

Now there's one thing I want to make clear. I love North America. And yes, of course the US and Canada have their lousy traditions like the rest of us, but then that's nothing special; come to one of those endless Sunday lunches in an average French family, you'd be embarrassed for us too. This has nothing to do with contempt for things American. Now can I make an honest proposal? We give you back that whole cheerleading business and pretend none of it ever happened, and instead we adopt one of your brilliant traditions, like graduation ceremonies. We really need to have graduation ceremonies, and we really don't need cheerleaders. Pretty please?

What was that? Why yes, I know it's not your fault our rugby teams started to have cheerleaders, don't change the subject. It just makes me very unhappy, because, just what were they thinking? That you can land a dozen pretty girls with naked legs in the middle of a sports event in South France, and that people are going to take it gracefully? That there won't be any wolf-whistles, catcalls, leers and other display of Southern elegance? Well there were. Even if I had any sympathy for the tradition of cheerleading in general (and I don't–I'd love to see girls on a rugby pitch, but if it can be helped, I'd rather watch them play), it couldn't work here. There's too much unabashed machismo, and too much of the, erm, "tradition of French-style seduction", which is also known as the DSK method, in case you're wondering.

So don't add sexy cheerleaders to the mix. Please.


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