Friday, October 3, 2008

Skydiving and Sports Don't Mix

Call me sane, but, although intrigued, I have never seriously entertained the notion of skydiving. Unless the plane is going down or I'm invading England, there is absolutely no good reason to jump out of a plane 10,000 meters above the earth. According to one web site, the number of skydiving fatalities since 2004 is 302. In addition to the potential for dying, there is also the potential for idiocy, as these fellows can attest. Unfortunately, yesterday in France we saw a bit of both.

Last night, the French Under-18 international side faced off against the Ukrainian Under-18 squad at Saint-Denis-de-L'Hotel stadium near Orleans. The friendly was to be opened by 7 parachutists streaming into the stadium, with 1 of those, Sylvain Chabrol, delivering the match ball. Chabrol's parachute malfunctioned however, and he crashed into one of the stadium's floodlights and then fell into the crowd. Landing on top of two teenage boys who were spectators in the crowd, Chabrol was killed instantly, and the older of the two boys died later at the hospital in Orleans.

So clearly we have the fatal aspect of skydiving, but we also have the idiotic aspect. I mean really? Given the uncertain nature of the sport itself, is it worth it to have seven people parachuting into a (relatively small) stadium for a friendly between Under-18 sides? This is not the World Cup finals. It's not even the Loiret District (where the match took place) championship. I know that this is an international match, but it is one that is almost entirely insignificant other than for those playing in it. And believe me, I am sure that the players and their families/friends/supporters would have enjoyed the match all the same (well, obviously, much more given what happened) without the theatrics.

Now, I want to be clear here - I am not calling Chabrol an idiot. And the 17 year-old victim is clearly blameless. But someone made the decision to greenlight this spectacle, and now 2 people are dead because of that decision.

The Federation Francaise de Football has issued a statement of support for the family members of both victims and offered their condolences. In addition, there will be no matches played at all in the Loiret District this weekend. Finally, there will be one minute of silence at the beginning of the next round of matches in the Coupe de France.

It all seems a little hollow for a stupid accident that never should have happened.


Bigus Dickus said...


The Fan's Attic said...

I thought skydiving was a sport. It was in the X-Games.

Andrew said...

Chabrol managed to do what I expected from Sarah Palin last night. But with less casualties.

Mike Georger said...

you know that fan man guy who flew into several sporting events? shot himself in the middle of the wilderness a few years past. good stuff.