My two pence on vuvuzelas
This opinion piece by John Leicester (who holds the mysterious title of “International Sports Columnist”) sums up most of what I’ve heard, read and seen regarding the phenomenon now known to the world as “vuvuzelas”.
Now, I realize that there a fair few of you out there who realistically only pay attention to soccer during this time of the World Cup which occurs once every four years. That’s fine, too, by the way, because I freely admit that I watch almost none of the Olympic sports until all the athletes are gathered together at whatever exotic locale they happen to occur at in a given year. It’s cool with me and I understand.
I also realize how awful the vuvuzelas come across on television. They are this low drone, always in the background, this “here comes the swarm of hornets” mind-exploder that makes you want to climb the walls. I’m not here to defend them, nor will I tell you that you’re wrong for hating them and the noise they bring during what is a beautiful tournament.
What I am here to tell you is, FIFA knew this was going to be this way. See, there was a tournament held in South Africa this time last year called the Confederations Cup. Essentially, that tournament was used as a de facto dry run for the infrastructure for this World Cup. It was only eight teams, but you might remember hearing about the USA upsetting the number one team in the world, Spain, during that tournament (the USA ultimately lost to Brazil in the final). The tournament was broadcast by ESPN and was a FIFA tournament.
The vuvuzelas were there then. Bafana Bafana (South Africa), as the host, were entered into the tournament, and the vuvuzelas were out in force. Those of us in the online footy community knew about them then, we knew they were fairly annoying and hard to deal with, and we knew if they weren’t banned that the world was going to discover them during this Summer’s World Cup.
All this fooferall and hand-wringing over these horns could have been avoided. As sad as it is to trample on a country’s traditions regarding how they celebrate their sports, sometimes the greater good must prevail. In this case, FIFA knew what was coming, they knew that the horns would be prevalent, they knew that the whole world was going to hear them during the broadcasts, but they tried to respect the tradition and allow the in-the-stadium fans have their fun.
Now they get to reap the whirlwind of retroactively realizing just how badly they messed up by not taking action when they could have.