On Sunday night, despite my tiredness, I stayed up late to watch the World Cup final - and although I'm usually objective about most things, I'll admit that I'm a huge fan of Italian soccer.
So naturally I was elated when the descendants of the Roman Empire won via a penalty shoot-out. As the commentator pointed out, some say a penalty shoot-out is the lottery of soccer, but in the end the best team won. Viva Italy!
A sour point of the game was the sending off of veteran player Zinedine Zidane after he head-butted one of the Italian players. In my opinion it was the worst way he could've ended his professional career and like the saying goes, "When you do something good nobody remembers, but when you do something bad nobody forgets". I think it was an irresponsible move by such an admired player and I think Zidane is kicking himself for what he did.
On a lighter note, though, the world is now looking to South Africa, where Italy will come and defend their title.
As the team walked up to the stage to claim their trophy, I thought: "2010 where will I be?".
It brought back memories of the Cricket World Cup, which I was fortunate to be a part of working as a volunteer in one of those (with all due respect to the ICC) atrocious purple suits. I remember the preparations leading up to the opening ceremony and how proud I felt to be a part of it. Imagine being involved in the process of doing something as simple as laminating an accreditation tag for the entire national team or signing out a tag for veterans such as Pat Symcox and Dave Richardson.
I think the highlight of my World Cup experience was meeting Sir Viv Richards, one of the greatest cricketers of all time.
So how does my experience of the Cricket World Cup have anything to do with the Soccer World Cup? Here's the thing. Like Richards and Zidane, there are countless sportsmen and women that youngsters look up to. I'm sure that somewhere in the crowd on Sunday night there was a father who brought his little son to see his hero Zidane in action one last time.
The head-butting incident may have been a simple act of "losing it" in the heat of the moment, but the young boy's image of Zidane may forever be shattered because his hero was so rude.
So as 2010 looms upon us, this message is to all the aspiring Bafana players - you are a free person and can do as you please. But before you party and get drunk before a game or decide to head-butt your opponent in the heat of the moment, spare a thought for the little boy who dreams of becoming just like you and be a role-model his parents would approve of.
On a sporting note, I leave you with the following quote: "One man practising sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it." - Knute Rockne