The World Cup final game between Italy and France was on Sunday, but everyone (well ok, the news media) is still talking about one thing: Zinedane Zidane’s headbutt of Marco Materazzi which earned him a red card (and ejection from the game). (For example, from the Washington Post: July 10th with a photo of the headbutt France’s Zidane Sees Red, Ends Fabled Career With an Ejection, July 11th France Reacts to Zidane’s Red Card, and July 12th Italian Denies Calling Zidane A ‘Terrorist’.)

Personally, when I watched it on tv, I didn’t think, “Oh GAWD, Zidane’s gonna get ejected! He’s messing with his legacy! This is shameful!” What I did think was, “Holy shit, he HEADBUTTED that guy! And that dude fell down!” It was amazing! I know I don’t have that kind of control and power with my head. I don’t even have that kind of control and power with my arms! It’s the equivalent of punching someone, only he STILL managed to avoid using his hands. Can you imagine being so well trained that even in the heat of anger you don’t use your hands? Awesome! Did hockey players watch Zidane? Cos he had something to teach them, I think. Punches are sooooo done and boring. :p I’m not saying it’s ok to go around headbutting people off their feet, but you gotta admit it was impressive.

The headbutt:

It does seem to me like there was a lot of tired grumpiness and frustration, but Zidane was gonna let it go until Materazzi said something awful and Zidane lost his temper. I think Materazzi’s claims that he’s “not cultured” and that he doesn’t “even know what an Islamic terrorist is” is pretty disingenuous. Which is still not to say that he deserved to get headbutted (off his feet!) but I’m just saying.

Update: One of my co-workers just showed me this Zidane headbutting game. Actually I’ve seen versions all over the place, but this one scores (based on what I dunno) and it’s nice to know if you’ve headbutted better this game than last. :)