Sunday, July 09, 2006

Whoo Hoo!

Yeah, baby! Italy! Italy! Italy!

Now, I'm not Italian. The closest I come to being Italian is through my sister-in-law, but it seems like a lovely country, I once briefly dated an Italian guy, and hey, who doesn't love the food? My rooting for Italy at the beginning of the match was much more a function of rooting for the non-French team, but by the end of the match, I was genuinely thrilled for our compadres who hail from the country shaped like a boot.

Yep, I wasn't rooting for the French team for reasons that have nothing to do with the French team, but then Zinedine Zidane head-butted Marco Materazzi, and that clinched my distaste for the French in this World Cup.

My nephew Nick had plans to watch the match today with some of his other soccer pals. He's been very invested in the World Cup for the past month. And when Zidane was ejected, I thought, "Well, this is a good teaching moment for Nick." But it's a good teaching moment for all of us.

At the end of the day, all you have is your name, your honor. Zidane might be one of the best players to ever take to the pitch, but today, the world isn't remembering his career so much as it's clucking its collective tongue and saying, "What a shame." No, I can't understand the emotion he was feeling, the fever pitch of a World Cup on the line, his last professional match. But if everything is a choice - and it is - no matter how angry or tired or sad he was, he could have chosen to walk away.

He stood there and made a decision. He made a choice, and he chose poorly. What a shining example of poor sportsmanship. What a sorry footnote to a storied career.

But enough about France's bad boy. (Though I noticed one of the French players, after receiving his second-place medal, taking it off as he walked toward the camera. Petulant ass.)

As for the World Cup trophy, itself, I might just be an ostentatious American who's used to the Stanley Cup and the World Series trophy, but the World Cup, well, it kinda looks like an MTV Movie Award, no?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

And today Zidane wins the Gold Ball as the best player in the World Cup. Best player in the world. Best player in the universe. You've gotta believe that the voters voted BEFORE the final, kind of sportswriters and the season MVP awards.

10:58 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I believe the stories reported that the journalists voted at halftime. Crazy thing is, the award wasn't made until today. So why not wait until after the game to have them vote? There's time. This is a blot on the World Cup. If the man has an ounce of honor (or whatever the metric equivalent is), he'll decline it. But who are we kidding? He's French. He's going to take it and believe he deserves it. But the world knows better.

11:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of people would argue that poor judgment in a single moment doesn't erase a career of accomplishments. There have been reports of slurs and accusations of terrorism flung at him by the Italian players during the game. I'm not defending him. His behavior was infantile. Now it looks like the U.S. isn't the only country that forgives its athletes for all of their foilbles.

11:05 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Oh, that's very true. He still have his career of accomplishments, but this was his final act as a professional soccer player, and though it may dim from view over time, it is forever a part of his legacy. That's sad. And you're also right that we don't know what the Italians were saying to him. And there are always two sides of a story. But yup, his behavior was infantile. Not a display of a world-class champion. Just sad. All the way around.

11:12 PM  

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