Orthez and basketball: a great love story tracked in “100 years of basketball in 64”

For basketball, Claude has always had it in his blood. “I played basketball until I was 37, in different clubs. I stayed in basketball because …

For basketball, Claude has always had it in his blood. “I played basketball until I was 37, in different clubs. I stayed in basketball because my two kids played there: I stopped to follow them.” A passion that he even made for his profession. “In 2004, Mourenx Basket Club was looking for a sales representative and a communications manager. I was a volunteer in the club and a trader, so I went for it. “In 2008 the club sank, but thanks to his knowledge in the middle, Claude joined Elan Béarnais and became general manager of the girls at Mourenx until he retired in 2017.

Works from archives

It was during the first confinement that the idea of ​​writing a book matured in Claude. “I had bullets, so I thought why not! “These bullets, he got them thanks to a meeting in the late ’70s.” I was playing at Billère, and there was an old gentleman in the stands that no one knew. I visited him at the end of a match, it was Robert Dumon, one of the pioneers in setting up the branch committee in the 1930s. “Claude then offered to take him with him to watch other matches, and a friendship is born.

“One day he told me he had started writing a collection about basketball history in the department to his friends and family. He had to give me a copy when it was done because he wanted a record of his work. , so that in the coming years someone could take over, “explains Claude Jouanserre. In the late 1980s, a lady knocked on Claude’s door:” It was his daughter, Robert Dumon, who had died and had asked him to give me his archives. »

Claude took over all these archives “because there were small errors that were missing certain things. For example, it was said that Orthézien Daniel Argote had created basketball in Sallespisse, but it was not him, it was the teacher at the time. On the other hand created Daniel Argote women’s basketball in Sallespisse. »

Claude also searched his personal archives, grabbed various books already published on the history of the clubs, and he appealed to the clubs in the department “but only four responded”, the author regrets.

Orthez at the center of history

The book fills a lot of Orthézien’s basketball history: “Orthez was the heart between Elan Béarnais, Union Sportive Orthézienne, Castétarbe, Pâquerettes du Béarn … The city has always been of great importance. In the mid-1970s, people came by bus from Pau and elsewhere to La Moutète to watch the matches! It was the meeting place for people who loved basketball. Jean-Paul Lafont concludes: “At that time Orthez had extraordinary media exposure: the city is known for basketball and people in Orthez have always been proud of their team. “Claude Jouanserre even remembers” reports from Stade 2 at Orthez, but the players were seen a bit like the peasants in the championship! »

For Claude, it was Elan Béarnais who was “a booster for basketball here. Through his vision and intelligence, Pierre Seillant allowed Elan to rise to the highest level. That’s how young people could identify with the players, and basketball developed!”

Stories to tell

Claude still decided to focus on the amateur side. “There are so many things that have been written about Elan Béarnais, by people who are much more competent than me, that I would not put it back! I would talk about amateur clubs and the people who came out of them who Alain Larrouquis, Bernard Lamarque … “

Pierre Seillant also notes: “These two, I stole them from the USO for Elan Béarnais. At that time it had been a religious war since there were two clubs in Orthez! And it stretched to the city council when I was a sports assistant and the president of the USO was in opposition … ”At that time, all were amateurs.

In addition to the history of basketball, the book contains many anecdotes “which have been reported to me, or which I myself have experienced”, Claude Jouanserre clarifies. This is how we discover that one day, with the girls from Elan, in the Wasquehal in the north, the team is in the same hotel as Didier Deschamps, “and he came to give the coach’s speech before the match!”

“100 years of basketball in 64” is for sale in all bookstores at a price of 22 euros.

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