DURBAN - To all those whiny North Americans who have been complaining that vuvuzela horns makes World Cup broadcasts sound like a swarm of hornets, here is some friendly advice.
And get a life.
Or, better yet, a mute button on that 50-inch flat screen.
In fact, here’s the best idea yet. Buy earplugs. Those of us fortunate enough to be in the various stadiums here wear them religiously.
For better or worse, this is about a country celebrating in a unique cultural way. If FIFA didn’t want South Africans to express themselves in this, the biggest sporting event ever held here, they should not have awarded it the tournament in the first place.
Hey, it would have saved us Canadian writers a few trips through the seedy, frightening CBD of Johannesburg, which makes downtown Detroit look like Malibu.
Friday’s opener between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City may have been the second-loudest sporting event yours truly has ever attended. The first was the Indianapolis 500 – specifically the start of the race – and most of that noise was produced by engines, not humans.
Alas, it now seems that FIFA might consider, at least, banning vuvuzelas after all, according to South African World Cup organizing chief Danny Jordaan.
Asked by the BBC if he would make such a move, Jordaan replied “If there are grounds to do so, yes.
“We did say that if any land on the pitch in anger we will take action.”
Sounds like caving in to the television networks and critics, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, how about the verbal diarrhea coming out of the mouth of French captain Patrice Evra, who blamed the noise of the vuvuzelas for his team’s disappointing 0-0 tie against Uruguay?
“We can’t sleep at night because of the vuvuzelas,” Evra complained. “People start playing them from 6 a.m.”
Big deal buddy.
At the suburban Johannesburg home being occupied during the tournament by yours truly, Morris Dalla Costa of the London Free Press, the Toronto Star duo of Cathal Kelly and Chris Young, and the Calgary Herald’s George Johnson, the locals start blowing those things at 5:30.
Here’s another lame argument from Evra.
“We can’t hear one another out on the pitch because of them,” he said.
What’s next? Banning crowd noise? (Which it seems they already do for Maple Leaf games at the Air Canada Centre)
Enough excuses, Mr. Evra.
How about your team scores a goal? Even one. That might help.
THE BLAME GAME
Next thing you know, players will be blaming vuvuzelas and the made-for-South-Africa “Jabulani” ball for global warming, too.
The suggestion that the imperfections in the ball may have played a role in English goalkeeper Robert Green’s “Hand of Clod” goal in Saturday’s 1-1 tie with the U.S. is absurd. It was bad goaltending, not a defective orb.
Of course, Green is not alone when it comes to allowing goals that carry a foul odour.
Algeria goalkeeper Fawzi Chaouchi joined that less-than-distinguished club Sunday in a 1-0 loss to Slovenia. A Robert Koren 20-yard shot with 11 minutes remaining brushed off Chaouchi’s arm and inside the right post.
With goals having been so hard to come by here at South Africa 2010,
“Goaltending Goofs and Gaffes” might soon become the official slogan of the tournament.
RED LIGHT DISTRICT
In the seedy Johannesburg suburb of Soweto, you are allowed to run red lights late at night in order to avoid carjackings. In some cars, occupants on the passenger side cannot roll down their window as a measure to guard against such instances. Or at least try to. “What difference does it make?” one local cabbie said. “They’ll just take a gun and smash it in.” Thanks for the tip.