I have been feeling ill as of late. Perhaps it's a result of my fever . . . WORLD CUP FEVER! I know that many of you are soccer haters, and that's fine; don't watch the beautiful game. My only request is that, if you must bash it, legitmize your complaint. Merely declaring, "it's boring," is insufficient. As a baseball fan, I will readily admit that it's boring, but I love it. And considering that the actual action in NFL games only lasts 11 minutes, boring is definitely a subjective term. Just because you do not like something doesn't make it boring.
But this year's World Cup in South Africa has supplied haters some new ammunition: the vuvuzelas. If you've watched any matches up to this point, you've heard the cicada-like buzzing of these plastic horns. Many people, fans and players alike, have asked that they be banned. Locals claim that the vuvuzelas (pronounced "VOO-VOO-ZAY-LUHS") are part of South African culture, and should be accepted by the world as such. FIFA president Sepp Blatter equates requests for vuvuzela silence as another attempt at European cultural colonization. Others have opined that the call to eliminate them from World Cup matches is racist.
OK, let's get back to reality.
These annoying horns have nothing to do with South African tradition. A quick look at its entry in the always reliable Wikipedia attests that they actually originated in Mexico in the 1970s. Heck, one of my grade-school friends had one that he would take to Bengals games (we just called it a plastic horn). While some South Africans say that they have a cultural depth, they weren't mass-produced there until the World Cup was awarded to the nation. In short, it's just an annoying fad.
If FIFA officials were wise, they would recognize this and ban them. If they don't, I guarantee they'll become a regular fixture at every soccer match in every nation, just like those annoying "thunder sticks" that infiltrated American sports a few years ago. The actual tragedy is that there many African fans playing drums, a truly cultural expression, but they're being drowned out by those cheap plastic horns.
So feel free to hate the horns, because I'm a fan and I do. But don't hate the sport because of them.
Oh, and the games have been pretty boring up to this point. But at least I'm admitting it.