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Sworn to the Horn

SWC Soccer Fan FestAsk anyone that has watched any of the World Cup so far and they will tell you about one item that has driven them bonkers. 

The vuvuzela horns of South Africa blare frequently during World Cup matches and have a pitch annoying enough to drive even Fran Drescher or Gilbert Godfrey up the walls.

But the issue of banning the silly prop from World Cup venues is a more serious one then most fans of the most beautiful game truly realize. 

You see the horn is a South African tradition (much like the foam finger or terrible towell here in the states) and disallowing such an item would mean that we would be ignoring the popular traditions and culture of our hosting nation.  The vuvuzela horns are more then a obnoxious blaring device to many of these South African people (believe it or not) and the instrument is considered a popular form of music and festive celebration in the hosting country. 

Some footballers have even admitted that they think the sound is a soothing ambiance to the background of a big match while other players claim that they can’t communicate on the pitch from ten yards away because of the stupid, blaring instrument.  Announcers complain of the same problem regarding their broadcasting communication and I’m sure several fans that traveled to South Africa aren’t to fond of the devices in the stands either.

The bee swarming sound that the mass group of horns creates is obviously bothersome to one’s eardrums and several people that aren’t huge fans of the most beautiful game have already lost interest due to the festive ruckus.  Some fanatics have already muted the television as well and one referee even handed out a yellow card to a player that continued to play on after the whistle, but it appeared that he couldn’t hear the play was blown dead in the first place.   

But despite these off of the pitch and on the pitch problems the horns have created, at the end of the day a big part of the World Cup is the cultural melting pot these sporting events create and the acceptance of strange cultural phenomenons on a big stage especially when considering that it is the traditions of the hosting nation.

The horns are annoying to me and many other people, but without them it wouldn’t be the same African experience and would create an atmosphere that is watered down and untrue to the hosting nation’s beliefs and practices.  Corporate sponsorships have taken over sports in general and I think having a little bit of originality leftover in the first ever African hosted World Cup isn’t such a terrible idea.  Besides you can always turn down your television if it is bothering you anyway and if you are a footballer then shouldn’t you expect a ruckus in the World Cup venue to begin with?

I hate to toot my own horn (sorry for that terrible pun), but I think I have listed a variety of reason why the vuvezela should stay for the remainder of the event.  Unless the device is seriously affecting the matches being played then they should allow it to stay.  After all if no horns are allowed in the venue then it could only be a matter of time until no singing or loud cheering was instituted in the World Cup as well. 

As the FIFA president said regarding the subject of banning the instrument, “Would you want to see a ban on the fan traditions in your country?”

Of course not.  So if you are in the stands in South Africa you better go buy some ear plugs this summer and if you are watching the Cup at home on your own TV then you should know that is why God invented the mute button for the remote control in the first place.  

Or on second thought I guess Eugene Polley deserves all the credit for the mute button.  Sorry God.

 Creative Commons License photo credit: Axel Bührmann