Every goal has its horn
Early Friday morning, I landed in San Diego. After my buddy Tony picked me up from the airport, we dropped my bags off at his Gaslamp Quarter condo, then headed out to watch the World Cup.
The reason I was in San Diego was because my former roommate was getting married, and the bride and groom had asked me to officiate their wedding. (It’s a little disturbing that, thanks to the Internet, this radically secular beer guzzler can legally be called “Reverend.”) With a few hours to kill, my game plan involved drinking until rehearsal dinner.
We plopped down in a bar that doubled as an upscale bowling alley. It was 8:30 a.m., and most bars were already packed with green-shirted fans as Mexico took on South Africa.
At first, I couldn’t figure out why the crowd was so quiet; their enthusiasm amounted to staring silent and glassy-eyed at the high-definition displays lining the walls.
But then I heard it: the incessant, brain-rattling buzz coming from the televisions.
“Are we in a fucking beehive?” Tony growled after taking a sip of his first beer.
The noise we were hearing came from thousands of vuvuzelas: long, plastic horns that I assume South Africa picked as a national instrument because kazoos were voted too pleasant.
“Oh great,” I told Tony. “Like soccer needed another reason to keep people from watching.”
The noise was so bad, I almost asked the bartender to mute the game and put on a Björk CD instead. At least the screeching Icelander would have made my ears bleed a little less.
Soccer is one sport I can normally stand to watch. Sure, there’s not a lot of scoring. In fact, it’s possible to sit through 90 minutes of game time without a single “Gooooaaaaaal!” But there are no commercial breaks, no timeouts, no resetting the clock. The match doesn’t take a break while refs stick their heads into video monitors to double-check a ruling.
Still, that’s not enough to sit through all that damn buzzing.
The noise didn’t stop. There was no break, no letting up. Just one long buzz. After 10 minutes, I felt my teeth grinding together.
The French captain would later blame his team’s scoreless game against Uruguay on the noise.
International governing body FIFA won’t do anything about it. On Twitter, FIFA President Sepp Blatter asked, “Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?”
Um, if any U.S. traditions were this annoying, you bet your ass I would. You know those stupid CO2-powered air horns? Yeah, let’s make those things illegal, please.
Later that weekend, FIFA said they wouldn’t ban the plastic annoyance—unless people start chucking them on the field.
Did you catch that, World Cup attendees? You know what to do.