Wednesday, June 16, 2010


What's with the horns?

In keeping with my long-standing tradition of being completely out of step with the wider culture in which I find myself, I have turned my sporting attention from the Stanley Cup finals to perhaps the one sporting event that is both a) being broadcast in its entirety on major American television networks and b) less popular than professional hockey: the World Cup.

I actually like watching soccer games. There's generally a fair bit of action going on, and I'm not one of those sports fans who needs constant scoring in order to stay awake the way basketball fans seem to be. Every goal counts that much more, and the work it takes to get one is entertaining.

Now, I'm not in any danger of becoming That Guy, the one in your office who dresses up in national team shirts, updates scores constantly and looks down at you when you won't join in his celebrations of what he insists on referring to as "The World's Most Popular Sport" or, worse, "The Beautiful Game." I refuse to call it "football" because that term is reserved for the sport with touchdowns - I'm American enough for that. And there's a lot of times when the players just seem to be standing around trying to look busy, which frankly I had enough of in high school. Of the major sports on this planet, soccer comes in fourth in my world, behind hockey, American football, and baseball but ahead of basketball, NASCAR and boxing.

Does anyone watch boxing anymore?

But I do enjoy the sport, and so I've been trying to catch bits and pieces of the World Cup games. I've been fairly successful at it, really, given the rest of life these days. I saw most of the US v England game that ended in a draw because the English goalie couldn't stop a shot that even I could have blocked. I saw a little of Brazil v North Korea, which was a difficult game to figure out who to cheer for (Goliath? Stark raving nutbags? Choices, choices). Lauren and I watched some of Spain v Switzerland this morning while eating breakfast. Lauren always wants to know which team is closer to where we live so she can cheer for that one. It's not a bad system.

But the horns?

Every time you turn on a World Cup game it sounds like the field is being attacked, either by a swarm of very large hornets or a herd of very small elephants.

Now, I understand the urge to make noise at a sporting event. I've sat in the cheap seats at a number of stadiums over the course of my life and that's one of the things you pay your ticket price to do. And those noises come in a lot of different varieties, many of them not repeatable outside of the stadium. If you haven't experienced the full force of seventy thousand Philadelphia sports fans disapproving of something on the field, you're missing out. Put that one on your bucket list. Noises are fun.

But the horns - "vuvuzelas," one of the more ridiculous names for anything not related to the human body that I've ever heard of - they just blat on and on and on. It's just background noise, an announcement that says, "Hey! You're watching a soccer game!"

I already know that.

It might be different it I were there. I imagine if someone handed me one of those vuvuzelas I'd probably try to make noise with it, either by blowing on it or banging it off the head of the guy in front of me. So I don't really blame people for making all that random noise.

But I don't get the horns. Not really.


Tria said...

I call them "possessed kazoos".

Unknown said...

I'm SO happy to see an American family back home watching the World Cup.
As to American football, why is it called football if you can use your hands?
I want one of those vuvu things. Blast it the next time our neighbors get noisy.
Did you hear the French soccer players went on strike?