If you’ve caught any of the 2010 World Cup – being held in South Africa – you’ve been hearing an unusual buzzing noise underneath the play-by-play. The sound is tens of thousands of vuvuzelas being played simultaneously by fans. This “traditional instrument” is suspiciously similar to the Chinese-made, cheap plastic noisemaker horns sold at pro sports games in the U.S. to keep kids amused and adults annoyed.
Some football/soccer teams are complaining about the incessant, deafening noise, TV commentators are trying to work around it and the league is under pressure both to ban vuvuzelas and to respect them as a local cultural tradition. My preference would be to ban noisemakers from all pro sports except tennis and golf. (OK, I am joking, but wouldn’t it be hilarious to blare those things at Augusta National?!)
I understand fans want to show their enthusiasm – remember, football/soccer is the game that some people will literally kill or die to see – and players want to play. I hope South Africa understands it may be passed over for future tournaments if its customs distract players and cause them to believe the stadium is being invaded by a swarm of Africanized killer bees.
Vuvuzela: Beer funnel, dart gun, obnoxious toy or symbol of cultural expression? You decide.