Monday, July 10, 2006

Tragic Ending to 25 Matches [Update]

In the past month, I saw the better part of an astonishing 25 World Cup games. Like Nick Hornby's admission in Fever Pitch, I spent starling amounts of time as an idiot. And I'm sure I'll do it again.

In the end, I was for France, drawn in by not only the story of their older (as in my age) squad, but by beautiful and tenacious playing by Zizou and Ribery in particular. And so their loss wasn't so crushing as seeing Zidane's thuggish head butt. An unsettling reversal to Italy's early thugghishness against the US. Moreover, the loss was hardly convincing. Though Italy dominated the first half, France dominated the rest, having the best scoring chances and the more beautiful play.

Sport, as much of our lives is unpredicatable and confusing. How can we love players who mar themselves and their sport with brutal violence or distasteful cunning? Poor judgement driven by emotions also struck Rooney, Figo, C.Ronaldo, Frings, Ballack. Is it any consolation that Mazeratti is a known thug? Little. Zidane scripted his mixed legacy of the Best Player of this Cup and the most regrettable exit. Pundits were calling for opera and we were given a grand tragedy.

[Update]- Robert Weintraub offers an interesting perspective in Slate.

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Blogger Steve said...

Trash-talking is always part of professional sports. I like it that way. Winning dirty and playing dirty only heighten the drama of it all. A player is obligated to violate the rules to the extent that they're willing to pay the consequences for their transgressions. That's the way it works in hockey with the enforcers. Morals are for life; rules are for games. If you let another player get under your skin, you lose. It's that simple. Zidane lost the game for the French by putting his pride ahead of his team and letting his emotions get the best of him. Kudos to the Italians for finding the only weakness of the world's greatest player and exploiting it for all they're worth.

Wednesday, 12 July, 2006  
Blogger Sam Teigen said...

I think you said it well, "Morals are for life; rules are for games." It was interesting to read some posts musing that perhaps the game is not so important as compared to morals, honor, life, and physical retribution is par for the course.

Trash is indeed part of the game, and so are professional fouls, but neither are particulary fun, or at least not without hearing them. Neither enhance the pleasure of watching a game, and that's the lament. I think most sports would be enhanced by uncensored player mics.

It's good to have some Lindstrom back on the interweb, and a nudging out of one's comfort zone.

Thursday, 13 July, 2006  

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