Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Horrendus Horn of Africa

This year’s World Cup brought us many things - the U.S. won their group, historic powerhouses went home early and gave rise to a new champion, and that damn vuvuzela.

At first, I was on board with the ‘zela. It was different and since it is rooted in African tradition I thought it added a little uniqueness to the Cup in South Africa. I could usually tune out the drone of the horns when I watched a match and it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Hell, I even downloaded the free Vuvuzela app for my iPhone. I didn’t really get what all the fuss was about.

I went to a MLS game a week or so ago and on the way in joked that I was going to find a vuvuzela and buy one to “support my team” at the game. I was a little disappointed when I found out they didn’t sell them at the stadium. I quickly found out why.

Some old guy directly behind me – decked out like he came straight from the World Cup, wig and all – had a vuvuzela (and a few too many dollar beers) and was on the horn for a good portion of the game. They are loud. Crazy loud. Periodic shouts of “Vuvuzelas Forever!” and other random, pointless statements along with the loud, obnoxious blowing of that damn plastic horn had me wanting to shove his vuvuzela somewhere that may have made for a very uncomfortable ride home.

I made it through the 90 minute match without assaulting anyone, but I was pretty irritated.

That being said, I applaud the English Premier League clubs that are taking the steps to keep the vuvuzela out of their stadiums this year. Tottenham led the charge against the ban and were quickly followed by Arsenal, West Ham, Liverpool, Everton, and Fulham to name a few. Considering the tradition most football clubs enjoy with their team cheers and songs the vuvuzela only works to undermine the fan experience.

I hope the MLS as a league or individual MLS clubs follow the Premiership clubs that have banned the vuvuzela. Since MLS is looking to draw in the casual soccer fan and grow the sport in America, the vuvuzela will do nothing except turn fans away and soccer will be nothing more than a game their kid plays on the weekend.

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