Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Those Annoying Vuvuzelas

TigerBlog rarely goes anywhere without his hand sanitizer. He prefers Germ-X, though the CVS store brand isn't bad either. And of course there is Purell, the granddaddy of them all.

Clearly, TigerBlog's biggest objection to the vuvuzelas that are currently sounding like locusts during World Cup telecasts isn't the incessant noise. Nope. It's the fact that, at least according to Wikipedia, the vuvuzelas are known to spread flu and cold germs on a much larger scale than simply sneezing and coughing.

TigerBlog is okay with the idea that the people who run the World Cup are allowing the vuvuzelas to continue to be blown at the event. For one thing, they are part of the local tradition. And for another, TB isn't sitting in the stadium getting someone else's spit on the back of his neck.

Plus, if you watch one game for 15 minutes, you don't even hear the horns anymore.

As an aside, the vuvuzelas would never fly at a Princeton event, or any other college event for that matter. Jeremy Hartigan, the head of Cornell athletic communications, made this announcement at the Ivy League softball championship series: "The use of artificial noisemakers is prohibited by NCAA rules, so stop doing it."

Scott Bradley, the Princeton baseball coach, is the brother of U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley. Scott is hoping that Bob doesn't bring any vuvuzelas home for his nephews.

At the risk of beating the subject to death, TigerBlog once again will say that there has never been a comparable moment in Princeton athletic history as having an alum and former head coach lead the U.S. national team at the World Cup. Princeton has produced Olympic coaches, professional coaches, major college coaches and the like, but it has never had a coach with this level of international renown - and scrutiny.

The positive impact on Princeton - and Princeton soccer - that Bradley's position has had began the minute he was named national team coach. It skyrocketed when the Americans held their training camp at Princeton before the World Cup, and it's reached an even higher level now that play has begun.

As everyone knows by now, the U.S. team opened the World Cup with a 1-1 tie with England. The U.S. gave up an early goal, which TB felt gave them more time to get even as opposed to being the end of the game, and the Americans got some help from the English goalkeeper to do just that.

TigerBlog feels badly for English 'keeper Robert Green, who will only be able to live that moment down if 1) England wins the group and 2) he does something spectacular later in the tournament, such as a big stop on a penalty kick to help his team advance

Of course, England has never won a World Cup knockout game that has gone to penalty kicks. And how does TB know this? He heard the announcer on the Ivory Coast-Portugal game say it.

TB loves the difference between the American announcers - TB's favorite is Alexi Lalas, who says what's on his mind rather than just saying that everyone is great - and their British counterpart. The Brits sound like American baseball announcers in the 1930s and 1940s, while the Americans need to have an "edge" while "breaking down" the games.

The British use words like "tragedy" and "catastrophe" to describe big swings in the action. They use the word "unhappily" all the time; how many NFL games this season will have the word "unhappily" used be an announcer?

Getting back to Green and his misplay, TB thought that The Register had a great piece on the situation.

It wasn't only the videos in the piece, which are hilarious, especially the one with the uncle and the boy who reenact the goal (five minutes after it happened, by the way). It's also the point it makes about how the world has changed, that instead of reading what sportswriters in newspapers wrote, the world was able to get immediate feedback on blogs and from videos and from blogs with embedded video.

Next up for the Americans is Slovenia Friday morning. Scott Bradley is worried about how well the Slovenians defend, or at least that's what he said when he stopped in to watch Ivory Coast-Portugal for a few minutes.

The pressure on the Americans in that game will be enormous, since Slovenia already has three points from beating Algeria. And, of course, you want to win the group, since you'll probably avoid Germany in the knockout round if you do.

TigerBlog would have rooted for America anyway. With Bob Bradley as the U.S. coach, though, it's a combination of rooting for America - and Princeton.


drcbk said...

Ban the vuvuzela.

Why? Because of TUBERCULOSIS. The best way to spread TB is to cough; perhaps the second best way to move mycobacteria tuberculosis from deep in one's lungs to the outside air is to blow on a vuvuzela. Blow, spread TB, blow, spread TB; repeat for 90 minutes.

South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV and TB in the world - the two diseases frequently go hand-in-hand. Many millions of South Africans are infected with tuberculosis, many of those are football fans who are attending the games, and many of them do not know they are infected.

At a football match, would you stand next to a person who coughed on you for 90 minutes straight? I wouldn't. But would you stand next to a happy vuvuzela-blower at a match in South Africa for 90 minutes? Probably, especially if you didn't mind the noise. Now that you know that happy fan could be blowing his TB bacteria into the air around you for the whole match, would you still want to stand next to him while he blows his vuvuzela?

So, for the health of everyone in those stadiums - for the health of South Africans, Koreans, French, English, Cote d'Ivoirians, Senegalese, Germans, Brazilians, Mexicans - ban the vuvuzela.


Anonymous said...

Calling vuvuzela's a "tradition" is horse puckey. They've been around since the late '70s at most. Hardly a tradition. Beyond that, it's not the ticket sales that pays the freight for the World Cup it's the TV revenue and the horns are turning viewers (and their dollars) off.