10 July 2006

A Brief Hiatus

Hey folks -- just a quick note that there probably won't be any posts for a few days. Colin is off to Nottingham, England, tomorrow morning, and the computer goes with him. (Sigh!) I'll try to keep up with e-mail with a few visits to internet cafés, but with the French keyboards, I doubt I'll feel much like blogging! Plus, it should be a quiet week.

In other news, the French soccer team came home today to a hero's welcome. The police estimate that about 10,000 people showed up at La Concorde to cheer for them. A few of the players even cried at the reception, since it was far more than they were expecting. I'm very happy for them!

As for the Zidane incident, the rumors are that the Italian player, Marco Materazzi, was taunting many of the French players with racial slurs throughout the game. It is widely believed that Materazzi made some kind of offensive statement about Zidane's family, which was the ultimate reason that the head-butt occurred. Still not excusable, but if it's true ... it sounds like the Italian guy deserved it! It's a shame that there aren't more consequences for yelling racial slurs (or anything offensive, for that matter) in a game that is supposed to unite people around the world. "Zizou" has said that he will explain why he did it in a few days. I think that's classy, since it allows the Italians to enjoy their victory untainted for a while. If Materazzi did do what everyone seems to say that he did, it should be handled seperately from everything else.

In general, many people here seem to believe that the Italian strategy was to get all of France's top players thrown out of the game (either by injuring them or provoking them into committing a yellow or red card offense), and then beat them in a shoot-out. I don't know whether this is true or not, but there certainly is a reasonable amount of circumstantial evidence to support this theory. If it's true, then the Italian players involved will have to live with the knowledge that the victory was won cheaply and unethically.

I hope this post doesn't portray me as a sore loser! After all, someone had to win, so why not Italy? I'm just sad that it had to be such an ugly, unsportsmanlike game on *both* sides. I can handle losing when my team is outplayed, but I prefer to see teams win and lose with class. I don't think that's too much to ask for, do you?

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