Headbutting and Other Ways to Fail

If you are looking for secrets of failure to add to your life, look no further than losing your temper. It’s a fabulous way to fail in whatever you do and to disappoint and hurt others as well. A perfect example of this comes from the World Cup Cup championship game between France and Italy. Consider the demise of France’s star soccer player, Zinedine Zidane, known by many French as “God.” (To many of us in Wisconsin, this is outrageous and blasphemous – haven’t the French heard of Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers??) He was ejected from the game after he lost his temper and delivered a vicious headbutt to an Italian player, Marco Materazzi (the “Animal”), after Marco allegedly insulted Zinedine’s mother and sister. He was thrown from the game, leaving his team at a disadvantage. The game would later be decided by penalty kicks and he, the best penalty kicker on the team, was not there to help. Perhaps France would have lost anyway, but his departure for a ridiculous and shameful loss of self-control may have cost his team the World Cup.

There is a serious lesson in all this. How vital that we maintain self-control, that we not give in to anger when insulted by our adversaries. There are those who delight in baiting others and getting them to over-react and say or do something stupid. There are rarely any consequences for a carefully delivered insult, and almost always consequences for the person foolish enough to give in to anger.

Be prepared for those moments. And soccer players, take note. I hear the Italian team is now adding regular drills to practice their insults on the field.

Anger is an area of key concern to the Lord. It is interesting that some of the first words the Lord spoke to the Nephites when He came to the Americas dealt with controlling our anger and avoiding contention. Remember 3 Nephi 11:29-30:

29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.

Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

9 thoughts on “Headbutting and Other Ways to Fail

  1. Hi ! As a French guy I had to answer at what Jeff just wrote – I totally agree with the comment and it is true bad temper leads nowhere.
    I wish we could have won the World Cup (although it would not have changed my life here in Dijon, in the heart of Burgundy) – but Italy won – it is also fine with me (my wife is half French half Italian!!!).
    I totally disagree with calling sport men “God” as they do here with Zidane (not only in France but in whole Europe)- they are just sport players –
    Thanks for the Mormanity blog – I am not an LDS guy but I like reading JL’s blog. Although I am not LDS, we will attend a BBQ tomorrow with the LDS Church of Dijon, since tomorrow is the 14th of July (Bastille Day….after beheading King Louis the XIVth, maybe should we do the same tomorrow with Chirac……)

  2. Jeff, while I agree with you that anger is the wrong response, I kind of like this interpretation of the head butt. It probably romanticizes such violent action and over-valourizes Zidane, but I kind of like the idea of him rejecting his god-like status and rejoining his “human brothers”. Shows the kind of strugggles we all face, and how we all experience failure at one time or another.

  3. Violence is wrong, sure, and he may very well have cost his team the game, but someone here’s got to say how truly amazing that headbutt was. I mean, most people throw punches, possibly kicks when they snap. But a lunging headbutt to the guy’s chest that knocks him completely off his feet? That was the coolest thing I’ve seen in quite a while.

  4. anonymous,

    Enjoy your BBQ tomorrow (today for you).


    I agree, Zidane is the king of the head butt. He has done it before as well. Like you, I don’t agree with it, but it was impressive.

  5. Wow, I’m really pleased that someone from France dropped by.

    And the LDS Church of Dijon – I didn’t know there was such a thing. Sounds zesty. Much better than the LDS Church of Gray Poupon or any color of Poupon.

    Merci de visiter mon blog. Bonne chance!

  6. Bonsoir !
    je suis de retour du BBQ organis√© par l’Eglise LDS de Dijon..
    well I’ll continue in English…we had a real nice time with the LDS people today – some were fishing, we had picknicks, played…it was nice to get to know LDS better. Since then we are having quite a deep talk with my wife – we’re leaving now because tonight we have the fireworks for Bastille Day !
    I really enjoy your blog !
    regards to America !

  7. I ususally see soccer as somewhat of a lame sport, but I watched this years world cup because of zidane- after he brought his team from a 1-0 deficit to a 3-1 win, i was a huge fan. When I heard about the headbutt, I though, “about time.” anything to spice up soccer from the faked injuries, lame shoot outs to determine the winner, terrible substitution rules and the horrible red and yellow cards thrown this year, FIFA should completely legalize heabutts- their american audience would triple.

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