As the world-cup mania ended in a match full of drama, L’Equipe’s editorial was noted saying: “What should we tell our children and all those for whom you have become an example for ever,” it asks. “How could that happen to a man like you?”
There are a lot of things to say, really. For instance, that not all fairy tales have happy endings, or that in sports, and in life, there is no certainty, no script … But probably the biggest thing they can tell the children of France, and indeed of the world, is that football is not life, and life is surely more than football.
Maybe we’ll never know why Zizou did what he did, or maybe we will. Maybe what he did is a suicide as far as sporting wisdom goes, and was a sheer stupidity as most of us would like to believe, and yet I don’t know. After all who’s to say what is legitimate sledging and what is not, and who’s to decide what price is too high to pay for sporting greatness, or too low? Zizou has made his decision for himself. If he threw it all away, recklessly, maybe he is rich enough to throw it away.
There, then, is another lesson for the children — that at times honor (in your own eyes) comes without a price tag (dishonour socially, or in other people’s eyes). Some, or even most, are probably wired to be pragmatic, and to survive. Some are born reckless, and try taming themselves, in vain. Who’re we to judge? Red card, fairenuff. Rest is between Zizou and life.