Monday, July 10, 2006

my only World Cup Post (warning, high level of sports talk ahead)

Being only a nominal soccer fan (more than most Americans, though), but a fan of European and African soccer more than the Brazilian style I have 4 observations regarding the finale...

  1. When Sports Casters and writers discuss the worldwide phenomena of soccer and its lack of play in America vs. everywhere else, they all fail to discuss 19th and 20th Century colonialism's role in this. Soccer is the sport of Europe in general and England is particular. When you control 1/2 the world (not including Canada and the US), you control their gaming (I know, so why has India been about the only former British colony to embrace cricket- because it is cricket for goodness sake).
  2. While most Americans only look to recent history and did not appreciate the Eurocentric nature of the finals and were overwhelmingly against the French, I found myself rooting for them (although I could care less who won) in some fashion. I guess the fact that they played a major part in the Independence of our nation and the fact we fought a war together against Italy played some part.
  3. One thing that separates me from the normal sports fan and person in general is that, like my buddy Doug, I am not interested in the simple answers to most questions. For instance, when Ron Artest went after Detroit fans, I did not automatically think he was nuts. I thought, "what did those idiots do to deserve that." Similarly, when Zidane headbutted Materazzi, I did not (like every sports caster) jump to easy conclusions of mindloss. Guys of that stature do not just "lose their minds" with no cause. My initial reaction was, "what the heck did Materazzi say to him?" I have played sports enough to know the guy that gets caught usually is reacting (wrongly) to the other guy (I was usually the one causing trouble).
  4. Materazzi deserves an Oscar for his flop. Best ever (may have won them the title). That headbutt would not send a guy flying across the field like that. Thing of beauty. watch the loop here (I cmompare this move to Ben Wallace's destruction of the Inidanoplis Pacers through his push of Artest to initiate the Detroit melee- these guys deserve awards from the front office, since they are more important than most GMs).
  5. Lastly, although I was glad to see him the Cup MVP, I hope this moment of insanity by Zidane does not mark his career for all time. Too often a mistake or boneheaded move on the field is deemed unforgivable by the general public (think Kermit Washington, Bill Buckner, Ron Artest), while off the field issues can be forgotten quickly (think Kobe Bryant, Jason Kidd, Scottie Pippen) as long as they perform. As usual Fox is doing its part to put the incident into context.


Dustin said...

Yeah it was a total flop but i'm not sure I have ever seen a professional athlete do something so boneheaded and so selfish, especially when you are the best player and the World Cup is on the line for your country. With one move, he ruined his reputation for the athlete he was. He should be ashamed and embarrassed. Nice way to finish your career. Instead of winning the world cup, you get kicked out for head-butting some guy because he was talking trash. Nice work.

kidpositive said...

i don't know. i think materazzi must have said something pretty harsh and provoking to get that reaction out of zidane. i thought the headbutt was great. no reason for zidane to be ashamed. while a france victory would have been nice, there's no way it would have have compared to 1998. but i also can't stand watching italy play. they have no class.

on a related note, the officiating in this year's World Cup was absolutely horrendous. 28 red cards? i won't defend team USA's performance, but you also can't deny that both our matches against Italy and Ghana were heavily affected by officiating.

regardless, championship matches of this caliber are pretty anticlimatic when they're determined by a shootout. of course, i guess the same could be said about the NBA and foul shots.

Alex F said...

The Italians couldn't beat the US and needed a weak PK call in the waning moments to beat Australia. It is crazy that they won the whole enchilada.

If Zidane's header had gone in a couple minutes earlier, the headbutt would never have happened and his legend would be etched in stone.

But there's no excuse for what he did - especially at that time in that situation.