Skip to main content
Original Issue


'Hopp! Hopp! Allez, Hopp!'

This is the cheer that French Rugby fans chant in a frenzy of phonetic delight whenever an American player named Dale Hopp takes the ball. "I was in a Paris bar one night," explains Hopp, a U.S. Air Force dentist stationed near Paris, "and I got talking Rugby with some players. By the time I left I was invited to try out with their team." Soon afterward the personable Hopp earned himself a place in the starting lineup of the Racing-Club de Paris, one of France's finest Rugby teams. The Parisian fans promptly promoted him to the rank of hero with their euphonious chant.

In the U.S., Hopp's athletic inclination was toward plain American football. An all-state end at high school in Illinois, he was later voted Outstanding Player at Columbia University in 1953. It was not until he set up dental practice in New York that he discovered Rugby. Now, as a more effective promoter of international good will than many a diplomat, he unhesitatingly prefers it to football. "Rugby isn't diluted football at all," Hopp insists, making a Gallic distinction. "It's merely distilled."