Thursday, July 13, 2006

People Who Just Refuse To Think

Soccer players are stupid. Actually, that’s not true – Soccer is a great game with a lot of history and athleticism, but it is played at the professional level by a large number of boors and morons, whose behavior is excused by equally boorish and stupid fans.

As an example, take the latest dust-up in international sports; the deliberate head-butting of Italy’s Marco Materazzi by France’s Zinedine Zidane. Zidane acted in what might be excused as a moment of hot emotion, but in his public “apology”, Zidane said he has no regrets. He'd do it again, just the same way.

That’s what a boor says. That’s what a moron says. A boor, because Soccer is a game played as much through teamwork and finesse as force and individual skill, as a representative of your team and country more than just thinking of yourself. Zidane’s head-but was a vulgar representation of French sportsmanship, especially as Zidane is a captain – I note that France has not stripped him of that title, which implies support for such conduct. French culture is not all it pretends to be, I guess. And Zidane is a moron on oh, so many levels. First off, while American athletes can be and are total jerks at times, even they understand that you try not to do stupid fouls where the referee can see it, and especially not at critical moments. I have known pitchers who really wanted to hit a batter – one of my personal most-hated cheap shots – but waited until several games later, simply because they did not want to give the other team an advantage in a game, or be that obvious in front of a wary umpire. Deliberately head-butting someone in a tie game, with not only an official watching but a worldwide broadcast, with the whole world title on the line, is incredibly stupid and selfish. I wonder how many of the French team feel that Zidane might have done better to use his vaunted athleticism for the team instead of his pride?

But there’s more. Today’s little stunt just underlined Zidane’s name in every FIFA official’s mind. He’s a ‘man before he’s a footballer’ eh? That just about puts every future bump, trip or contact with a rival player in a different focus. What Zidane did by tossing out that comment, was the professional equivalent of throwing the finger to a policeman; it’s not illegal, but he’s just guaranteed the kind of attention and scrutiny which can only work against him. The only words to describe that kind of career are synonymous with selections referring to a severely diminished mental capacity.

In my years as an official, I cringed whenever some pro jock pulled an unsportsmanlike stunt like that, because I knew that the kids would copy the same behavior in the youth leagues – it was cool and appropriate in their minds, because their heroes did it, whether ‘it’ was trash-talking, fistfights over words, or risking debilitating injuries in order to get in a cheap shot. Zidane can take pride, I am sure, of the influence he has in degrading the level of play on the field. Zidane did it, and so many little children playing Soccer will follow his lead, especially seeing as how he made sure to defend his foul as some kind of a noble act, putting personal pride well above any strength of restraint or character. I hope he soon comes to understand just how petty and little he showed himself to be.


Anonymous said...

Dude... please infrom yourself before you attempt to join a discourse ... Zidane retired after the WC final. He had been planning to do that for some time so obviously you do not follow the sport. Go pontificate on something else.

Have a nice day.

smh10 said...



What difference does it make if Zindane is retiring? The post was about the behavior of a professional athlete which may not only have deliberately injured an opponent, but cost his team the World Cup.

Zindane may retire from pro soccer but that does not say he will never play the sport again. I sure hope if he does he stays away from children who will try to emulate his behavior.

Please inform yourself on the subject matter of the whole makes for better discussion.

smh10 said...

sorry about that spacing..don't have any idea what happened there.

Bob said...

Soccer... an attempt to 'globalize' Americans... which by the way, has been a great failure in my neck of the woods. Let the Europeans and Latin Americans keep the game... real fotball gets going here soon.

the macker said...

Sportsmanship is a universal quality, applicable to all sports. As a soccer fan, I was more disappointed by his half-hearted apology. It could have been as graceful as his career. His behavior on the field should neither be celebrated nor exaggerated. It can't be equated with the outright criminal behavior in the lives of many athletes, worldwide.

the macker said...

I've never seen a sport I didn't like, save bull fighting. Arguing the merits of each is a parlor game. But a case can be made that "world" football requires more coordination and athleticism than American football.

Pete_Bondurant said...

Anything that involves FIFA is a joke. The World Cup has become a joke. Soccer at that level has become intolerable to watch. Their is a culture of cheating at the world level and players have absolutley no honor when they play the game. They will flop and dive and feel absolutely no shame as they watch the replays of their cheating ways. If you love the game, do not watch it played by the highest level of players, they do nothing for the game.