Maybe now we can get some rest.
The World Cup is finished for another four years.
It was a tournament that had many of us tuned in and keyed up at work, at home and at social functions.
No matter who you were pulling for, you have to admit it was a wonderful tournament.
It’s just too bad it had to end the way it did.
No, we’re not lamenting the fact that Italy won.
We’re lamenting the fact that one of soccer’s greatest sent a wrong message to all the young people of the world who look up to and admire him.
Zinedine Zidane could be considered the best player of a generation; an ambassador, if you will, of soccer.
He was definitely the most accomplished player of the World Cup.
Who can forget his glorious volley for Real Madrid in the 2002 European Champions League?
He entered the record books when a cheeky penalty made him only the fourth person to score in two World Cup finals.
Combined with the two goals he netted in the 1998 final, he is also in illustrious company – together with Vava, Pele and England’s Sir Geoff Hurst – for scoring a total of three goals in World Cup final matches.
Zidane was a soccer role model, to be sure.
That is until the final minutes of Sunday’s match between France and Italy.
We don’t know what Marco Materazzi said or did, but he felt the full force of a headbutt from Zidane in the final minutes of the game.
Actually, it doesn’t matter what Materazzi said or did. Zidane should have acted like the role model he is. He should have acted like a man.
He had plenty of time to think about his reaction to Materazzi. There were three yards between them.
What Zidane did was send a message to all the youngsters of the world who worship him that violence is OK.
His actions, which always speak louder than words, showed impressionable children that it is all right to use physical force to let someone know you’re angry with them.
Zidane’s action was a squalid end to an incredible career and his reputation has been tainted.
Zidane got a red card for the action and was dismissed; rightfully so. Unfortunately he was awarded the Golden Ball for the tournament’s best player.
What message is being sent to our youth?
Zidane, indeed everyone who takes his place on a pedestal as a role model, has a responsibility to show through actions the right way to live.
We’re all role models in some form or other to the children in our lives. We should all act responsibly.
Actions do speak louder than words.