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Home > People

Competitive Dad

An episode of Murder She Wrote unfolds on the dusty clay courts of France...

9 August 2003

French tennis. Sounds a bit rude, as does anything with the word French in front of it, but it isn't. It is however, highly dangerous, or at least it was until Sunday of this week, when Christophe Fauviau was arrested and charged with "administering toxic substances and negligent homicide" (the most cowardly and half-arsed of all the homicides).

Fauviau, 43, is the father of two budding tennis players, Maxime, 15, and Valentine, 13. Valentine is a national juniors champion and an extremely tasty player. Maxime is not. He might make a bit of a stink at a regional level but will never find himself basking in the glory of the French Open, like what Yannick Noah did in 1983. And perhaps this was the ignominy with which father Christophe simply could not cope. And so, with all the zeal of an American parent, he has been poisoning his sonís opponents by slipping the anti-depressant Temesta into their water bottles. Temesta doesnít cure depression
of course, it merely covers it up in a haze of extremely heavy drowsiness.

At a village competition in late June, an opponent of Maxime Fauviau saw his father tampering with his water bottle. In the final the next day, another opponent fell ill and was hospitalised for two days. Police were notified, but it was too late. Too late at least for Alexandre Lagadere, the 25-year-old schoolteacher who played Maxime in another local competition just a few days later. After feeling ill and having to forfeit the match, Lagadere was driving home when he fell asleep at the wheel and was killed.

Obviously, drugging your kidís tennis partners is less to do with paternal ambition and much more to do with having a screw loose. But surely we can learn something from Fauviauís madness. And perhaps that which we can learn is that winning is really not that important. And that having mediocre kids is really nothing to be ashamed of. And remember, sometimes, it really is the taking part that counts, and there can be a kind of victory in defeat. Although sadly, not for Alexandre Lagadere.

More Unbridled Parental Ambition:


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