Saturday, July 24, 2010

Don't Blow Your Own Horn

   I always sort of knew that the English were no fun.  And they are proving it again, first of all by bashing baseball for being boring when they play cricket, and secondly for banning the hell out of vuvuzelas.
   Now, let's be completely honest, did you ever expect the English to do anything different?  The vuvuzela - a cheap, molded plastic horn - has always been popular in South Africa and so was everywhere during this summer's World Cup.  And pretty much everyone who wasn't South African hated it, except for me.  It really was an experience: every game sounded as if it were being held on a giant bees nest, as all you could hear was the plastic buzzing and the occasional referees whistle.  I thought it was great.  The English, and the French, the Germans - pretty much anyone from Europe - oh! and all the players and the coaches, hated them.  With a passion.
     So now, the clubs in the English Premier league, and the clubs in their other leagues too, have one by one begun banning the instrument from their grounds.  They make various reasons for their actions, and it's fine.  What it boils down to is that their fans don't want them there and professional sports teams desperately need their fans around to survive.
     Now, the English take their version of football as seriously as we take ours, and one of the reasons that was thrown around for their hatred of the vuvuzela during the World Cup was that it covered up the chants for which English soccer fandom has become so well known, although that's a little forward for a nation that couldn't even win its group stage this year. BA-ZING!  Sorry, I couldn't resist.   But that's fine about the chanting.  That is an important and revered part of their sporting culture, so it is no big deal that they want to keep that at the forefront.  But I am about to say something that is going totally brand me as an American.  I sort of liked the vuvuzelas.
     Not that I am not pro chanting, because I am not.  In the right place and the right circumstance I think they are a great and fantastic part of sports fandom.  But looking in from outside the world soccer window, I thought the buzzing of the vuvuzelas kind of heightened the atmosphere of the whole event, and made it all so much more exciting.  I can do without the chanting, and not being a fervent follower of any sort of soccer, but the incessant plastic buzzing actually got my blood flowing and sort of made me excited.  So take that.  I dig them.
    That being said I am not there, and I am sure that if someone pulled one of those out of their trenchcoat next to me on the train or something, it wouldn't be long before I was in jail for assault.  But if everyone around me had one and I did too it would be on like Donkey Kong and I would blow until I passed out.  And from thousands of miles away on the television  I am all for them.  In my mind it's your loss if you are into English soccer.  And I certainly won't be attending.  Good luck finding someone to take my ticket.

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