. . . Wednesday July 12, 2006

The Head Butt Blackout

Camus and Zidane Offer Views on How Things End:

Of all the planetary audience for the final, the only ones who did not know what had happened were those in the stadium. Because the defining act of the match, and perhaps the tournament, took place far from the ball, only those with access to television replays could see Zidane down Marco Materazzi.

As a result, tens of thousands of spectators, those actually watching the game in real life, had to resort to calling or texting friends, often in faraway places like the United States or Japan, to find out what was happening in Berlin. Why was Zidane, the resurgent French hero, walking with a bowed head from the field?

When I was a kid, my bookshelves were lined with a series of history books called “We Were There.”

Hard to imagine those would sell much these days, when being there is often the best place to miss a story. I’ve always wondered why, for example, journalists show up to cover political debates while sitting in the same room as the participants.

Who cares how the show plays live?

Who knows, maybe this is the root of Zidane’s own hesitation when it comes to making public comment on his final football header. He needs to watch the replay a few times to figure out what the hell happened.

Update: I’m not sure I’m translating the French exactly right, but I’m pretty sure he said: “The Italians had a plan to bug me until I self-destructed and it worked pretty well.”

Concentration is important!