116street Soccer

Footballing from a lesser authority...

Location: New York, New York

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Letdown

This past week here on 116th street, for reasons entirely personal, we have been learning a great deal about the bonds that one person can form with another, whether real (yay!) or imagined. Little did we know that such a lesson would be manifested in today's World Cup finale.
Zinedine Zidane, legend, bald man and genius, has long been the embodiment of everything that I personally love about soccer. His vision, anticipation of the play, constant embrace of the impossible, and neverending class have been the vanguard of footballing excellence for as long as I have come to love this most gorgeous of games. That I rooted him on in his quest to achieve immortality of the most rarified form should surprise no one.
What happened this evening, however, was an act on his part so classless and idiotic that I could not help but feel personally betrayed. With my jaw still on the floor following his disgraceful headbutt of Marco Materazzi (who I'm sure is no saint in this episode), I looked down at my phone to discover a text message from a friend reading "Your boy is a prick." I was heartbroken.
While walking home postgame, all I could wonder was, why were my feelings hurt so bad? I don't know Zinedine Zidane, I'm not French, I don't particularly even like Real Madrid or Juventus. Where is my stake in his legacy? If he wants to disgrace the remembrance of his career, and potentially ruin his team's chance of winning the World Cup, what do I care? Why would I place so much faith and belief in a person I have never met? Is it because his exploits have inspired me so much in the past? I'm still working on the answer to that question, but in the meantime I have to prepare myself for the inevitable questions from my soccer newbie friends in the upcoming week.


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