by Mackenzie Keyes and Jenn Moss, CSL graduate students
Our first stop of the day was at the Union Sportive des Anciens du MontDuplan (USAM) Nimes Handball Academy, where Franck Maurice, the head coach of the professional team at the academy, greeted us.
The Handball federation operates on a tiered system, similar to European professional soccer, which include promotion and relegation. USAM Nimes Gard, also known as “The Green Team”, plays in the Lidl Star Ligue and is currently a level one team, where as the Division II team is currently a level four team. Along with the two professional teams, therenare several youth teams within the academy.
Over the years France has won 5 World Championships, 3 European Championships and the Olympics twice. Half of the Nimes Handball team’s 3,2 million euro budget is provided by the city of Nimes. Their budget is the 9th lowest in their league of 14 teams but they are currently ranked 5th. The Handball Academy has a division committed to its youth teams where they learn the skills of handball along with going to school. Last year the Academy added a girls youth team although they do not have a professional women’s team.
The Green Team shared their core values of patience, confidence building, editing, and evaluation. I found this interesting because I was able to relate them to our core values at the Center for Sport Leadership that we practice everyday. Our core values include, global mindedness, collaboration, authenticity, accountability, and empowerment.
After we travelled to the Pont du Gard, a roman aqueduct that was built in 58 AD. It took 5 years to build and still stands today. It was one of the largest aqueducts built by the Romans.
After a delightful group lunch, our tour guide Claudia accompanied us through the city of Nimes, which is a former Roman colony. The city was founded in the 1st century BC and had approximately 20,000 inhabitants. Today the city holds 150,000 inhabitants. Over the years the city was built on top of the older buildings so there is a mix of Roman, medieval, and modern architecture. Because the city was founded by the Romans there is an Arena that is modeled after the Roman Coliseum. During the 19th century there were Spanish bullfights in the stadium and the tradition continues today with bullfighting festivals on June and September.
We saw several different historic sites during the visit, but one of the most interesting was the town hall building. Four crocodiles were hanging from one of the stairwells in the building. The crocodiles represented Nime’s triumph over Cleopatra and the Egyptians, which is when the symbol of Nimes emerged. The symbol consists of a crocodile chained to a palm tree to represent Nimes’ power over Egypt. We also saw the Maison Carrée, an ancient Roman temple built 2000 years ago. Across from the museum is an art museum that was built in the 1990’s that has a glass front so the reflection of the Maison Carrée can be seen by everyone in the area.