my nod to the world cup

CVU 2010 state champ

I admit. I am not a big soccer fan. Never really have got the concept of running for almost 2 hours and scoring two goals the entire time. But. I went to the best high school soccer system/team in Vermont for three years and arguably one of the best in New England (I do know they have won the last 7 straight state men’s championships and I cannot even imagine how many they have won since 1970 or so – that is CVU 2010 champs to the left) and I had the fortune of seeing the best soccer player Vermont has ever produced (Bart  … who went to my high school). So. I have some appreciation for good soccer and why people like it.

And if you really doubt how big this whole world cup soccer thing is, well, check out this survey:

–          Sports fans will give up a lot to see their team do well. In a recent survey soccer enthusiasts said they would submit to week-long starvation if it meant their favorite country would win the World Cup. Some respondents even said they would forfeit their job.

The trend is no different in Germany, according to a new study.World-Cup-crazy dutch bastards 2010-photos-group-stage-1506n

AFP reports that a Reader’s Digest survey found only 5% of participants would choose sex over watching a German World Cup final game.

Wow. Ok. Let me repeat that a different way … 95% of soccer fans would choose WATCHING the game rather than have SEX.

I am speechless.

Ok. Moving on.

My interest in soccer increases when The Guardian has the world cup live streaming on their site and they say stuff like this:

–          81 min: Enyeama denies Messi yet again. Messi, coming infield from the left, played a gorgeous short-range one-two with Di Maria, ran into the box and then spanked it towards goal from eight yards. Enyeama made himself big and blocked it with his legs, or maybe his netherlands.

Yeah. “in the netherlands.”


Next. I also would like to point out the absolute best thing that has happened to soccer was ESPN and maybe FoxSports soccer report. I can now watch an entire Championship league’s worth of games in a half hour. I never have to watch the incessant running up and down the field with nothing happening but guys flailing as the fall down acting like they were shot when maybe someone ran within 5 feet of them ever again.

Now I can see 40 goals in 30 minutes. With replays of the best ones.  Now I like soccer.

Next. The stories that seem to come out of World Cup make it more interesting:

–          Nigeria fans claim they lost to Argentina because they weren’t allowed to bring chickens into the Stadium. They view these birds as good luck charms, and have complained to FIFA after the French fans were allowed to bring in Cockerels for their game against Uruguay.

–          An African witch doctor is said to have prescribed a magic potion of powdered leaves for England’s clumsy keeper Robert Green to rub into his gloves and keep hold of the ball.

–          Thirty-six female Holland fans were thrown out of their country’s game against Denmark at Soccer City after Fifa officials accused them of wearing orange mini-dresses to promote an unlicensed beer brand.

–           Ayda Field has walked out on Robbie Williams because of his non-stop soccer talk. According to reports, Robbie’s wife-to-be decided she just couldn’t take her fiancée’s soccer ramblings and won’t be back until the Cup is over. A source said that Ayda has left Robbie’s mansion and temporarily moved in with her mother and will soon be pampering herself with some spa treatments.

Oh. You want real world cup information. USA got lucky and tied England and England coach asked to borrow France’s guillotine for their goalie. Germany kicked the shit out of someone and in the bar afterward. Paraguay or Uruguay … I cannot tell them apart .. is looking good. Italy tied as they stared at the Holland female fans. The Dutch beat Denmark, Japan beat Cameroon and the vuvuzelas are still doing our head in.

world cup plastic hornsYeah. These vuvuzelas things. Yikes.

One word. Headache.

If you’ve caught any World Cup action, you’ve heard the noise … that interminable low drone emanating from the stadiums and speakers. BZZZ. BZZZZ!! It’s the vuvuzela, South Africa’s favorite stadium instrument and some soccer fans least favorite thing ever.

The sound of the plastic horns has been likened to tireless bees buzzing from the first whistle through 90+ minutes. The din has sparked ire and annoyance, with 545 complaints lodged with the BBC thus far. However, two major earplug suppliers based in South Africa — Ear Plugs Operations and Sheppard Medical — and each are boasting ENORMOUS increases in sales since last week.

A rep for EPO says sales are up 121% — selling more than 10,000 sets of plugs and counting.  Sheppard Medical says they’ve moved more than 400,000 sets since kickoff — a 20% increase.

Both companies attribute the increase to those damn horns (which people are constantly blaring both in stadiums and on the streets). Reps for both companies tell us neither would be surprised if they each sold over one million sets by the end of the World Cup. Yes. ONE MILLION ear plugs.

Still, after some brief talk of FIFA banning vuvuzelas (the name vuvuzela comes from an isiZulu word for “making noise” and vuvuzela only costs about $2.50 and is roughly three feet long) from stadiums, the final word is they aren’t going anywhere.World-Cup-danish fans 2010-photos-group-stage-1506l

“I have always said that Africa has a different rhythm, a different sound,” tweeted FIFA president Sepp Blatter. “I don’t see banning the music traditions of fans in their own country.”

Though there have been complaints aplenty, defenses for the vuvuzela are also percolating. “Annoying other people is half the fun of being a sports fan. The fact that this tradition disturbs everyone equally is just part of its majesty,” writes Deadspin.


“To all the players complaining about how hard it is to concentrate: I don’t know if you noticed, but your opponent is under the same restrictions. When playing on the world’s biggest stage, not losing your mind is part of the challenge.”

There you go. I have now done my obligatory World Cup post. I fear being evicted because I have been blowing my vuvuzela since the World Cup started so if the posts stop appearing I either have a vuvuzela up my ass and am at the doctor or was just evicted.

Written by Bruce