In my world, “glory” comes from conquering something in a heroic way, unexpectedly or against overwhelming odds. In La Marseillaise, glory was a thing you got on the battlefield, standing up to tyranny. Today, though, our actual battles don’t seem glorious as much as necessary, and always tainted with guilt and regret.
And so we have sports.
In the Tour today, Tom Dumoulin, a Dutchman, heroically conquered the mountains of Andorra, defying gravity and the weather. Alberto Contador, one of the prerace favorites, succumbed to injury and illness and dropped out. When I pick the race up on Tuesday, the stage will be set for more days of glory.
And tonight, the French will play for glory in the finals of the European Football Championships. A group of young fans across the courtyard at my hotel just sang their national anthem as the game kicked off. Their song might or might not be more inspiring than ours, but is definitely more fun for kids to sing. We’ve got “the land of the free” which is great if you’re Whitney Houston, but they’ve got “aux armes, citoyens” that everybody can dig into.
And so, with a song and a game and a shared suspension of disbelief, every jour can be a jour de gloire.