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Sunday's Other Final

Of course Italy and France play the World Cup final tomorrow, and it’s a big game and everybody’s anticipating it and it’ll be great and maybe the Italians won’t fix the game for once in their lives, and probably Zidane will get a great ovation. Last week we met a man who was so disheartened that the French were winning that he complained about it to us for an hour while he was showing us an apartment. “If the termites swarm while you live here,” he said, “don’t worry. They’ll fly away, and you might have to suck the dead ones up in a vacuum cleaner. I hate the French and I really don’t want them to win.”

But the Wimbledon final’s also tomorrow! Roger Federer, who for some reason can beat everybody in the world except Rafael Nadal, plays Nadal on a surface on which he hasn’t lost a match in three years. This weird thing with Nadal has Mats Wilander talking like a lackey for the Young America’s Foundation. Of Federer vs. Nadal he said, “Rafael has the one thing that Roger doesn’t: balls…. I don’t even think Rafael has two; I think he has three.” If Nadal did have three testes it might lend credence to the charge a French newspaper made last week that he’s being investigated in the Spanish Tour de France doping scandal, but frankly, I think a third teste would make it difficult to move around the court. I bet he’d have to have a specially-made cup, even.

Regardless the number or size of either Federer’s or Nadal’s balls—and really, though I realize the entire game is about men (and women, too) swinging racquets back and forth, the whole dick swinging thing is way over the top, especially since it’s being instigated by a guy whose racquet’s gone soft—it should be a good match. Federer’s game is beautiful to watch especially on grass, and the psychological ambiguity of it (Will Federer be asking himself, “Why can’t I beat him?” If so, does that doubt give Nadal the chance to win?) is really intriguing.



My xenophobic, rightist, for-queen-and-country type collegues in the kitchen I work in are supporting France (France!) almost as ferverently as they would England. They have even drawn French flags on a few white surfaces, so great is their gratitude for their trouncing Portugal.

The sports announcer on the BBC coverage of the Federer-Henman match compared Federer to “a big, agile cat on the court.”

as you are aware, the current italian “match-fixing” probe is an issue involving the higher-ups of several of the major domestic teams and does not implicate players per se (although maybe the national team coach is implicated).

why do i say this? i am only offering a warning before mb reads this. that is, you do remember her close ties with an array of sicilians who work in the construction industry across europe and south america? she has lived with one of these figures' family, who refer to her as their daughter. moreoever, she has “on the house” eating privileges at a pair of palermo dining establishments. in addition, our daughter’s full first name is after the matriarch of a palermitano family (not necessarily that kind of family, but i am not always sure…).

all that to say, there are certain things mb won’t want to read. and sometimes bad things happen to people who talk too much about bad things.

boy, did chris ever save greg’s arse.

Did you know K’s family actually is Sicilian—emigrated to New York—and has been there since the early 20th century—and her aunt & uncle regaled me with stories! when we got married?

then maybe you’re safe.

but why push it?

in a way, it’s almost as if italy were playing italy…

though zidane now plays for real madrid… mikael for manchester, and a few, like henry, and dhorasoo only played for their teams for a year… still they’ve all passed through the training ground which is northern italy.

zidane (juventus)
thuram (parma and now juventus)
mikael (inter-milan, though now with manchester)
vieira (juventus)
dhorasoo (milan)
trezguet (juventus)
henry (juventus)

Maybe I just got caught up in the moment, but I think that footage of the pass-to-Zidane-Zidane-heads-goalie-blocks sequence that occurred somewhere in the 14th minute of extra-time should be broadcast into space so that alien races would be dissuaded from invading earth.

what about the sequence in which the zidane-head-crushes-italian-guy’s-chest?

that would dissuade me.

Ha! That exact same thought occurred to me 5 minutes after I hit ‘submit.’

Foxsports’s website said that French media sources indicated that French players were saying it was something racist. But I just read a whole bunch of different Internet crap that cites media sources implicating personal/familial insults.

Peut-être demain le mystère sera résolu?

my first thought was wondering whether it was racial… then i too maybe familial…

yes, the light that tomorrow will bring… unless this notoriously shy guy says nothing.

if he is protecting his maman’s rep, then it’s all good.

Ne pas insulter la mère!

yet, isn’t maman precisely whom you insult because she isn’t to be insulted?

If you’re playing the dozens…

oh latins don’t need to be playing the dozen’s to insulter la mère, or the virgin, or the host, or the possible non-pork eating origin of any person.

so do you think it was the sister swipe that pushed ZZ over the (forgive me) Top?

S’exprimant pour la première fois depuis son expulsion, en finale du Mondial, Zinédine Zidane est revenu, mercredi, sur Canal+, sur les raisons qui l’ont poussé à asséner un coup de tête au défenseur italien Marco Materazzi. Il a évoqué “des mots très durs” répétés “plusieurs fois”, des mots “qui sont parfois plus durs que des gestes”, portant apparemment sur sa “mère” et sa “soeur”. Il s’est excusé pour son geste, sans toutefois le regretter. Il a insisté sur le fait que “le coupable, c’est celui qui provoque”. [From frontpage of lemonde.fr]

My French skills are not wonderful, but I think he is saying that…
1. Words are sometimes more harsh/severe than gestures.
2. The Italian used harsh words about mom and sis.
3. ZZ apologized without regretting what he did.
4. ZZ said the blameworthy one is the one who provoked.

My French isn’t great either, but I think “geste” here is used less literally here as “act” rather than “gesture” (The same word is used later in the paragraph to describe Zidane’s glorious coup de tete). i.e. He is arguing, “Oh, but aren’t some insults so great that physical retaliation is only proper?

I agree. Thanks for clearing up my sloppiness!

“glorious coup de tete”—if I may say so: beautiful.