June 15, Day 5 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™
If you dislike football, I am not sure where you could go to escape the collective madness that has descended upon this land. During previous tournaments, I have managed to leave the country, but discovered that no matter where you travel in Europe during the tournament, there is always a TV – in some small dusty bar, at the end of an equally dusty track – that draws you in, to not only bond with the locals, but to get drunk on unspeakably bad homebrew. This year, my work dictates that I am to be glued to the media to make my daily reports to Cape Town.
This may sound rather odd coming from a UK media rep, but I like to think my jaundiced view of all things football will bring a touch of reality to the proceedings before we get carried away in the excitement of it all.
For months I have been reporting on how negative the media has been (I am sure you have read some of the rubbish written) so it has been hugely satisfying to hear from all quarters a unanimous big thumbs up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. The first day passed by in a dream, and we were blinded by the colours, deafened by the noise and captivated by the stunning first goal. The BBC, who are broadcasting live from the roof of Somerset Hospital, have had nothing but praise for the facilities, the view, the welcome, the atmosphere, even the weather. The problem they face now is how to quietly pick at these seams, looking for any cracks. I hope they don’t find any.
Whilst on the school run this morning, we had to pull over to let what could only be described as an England convoy pass by – a line of cars adorned with flags and small children waving in a regal fashion from the back seat got me thinking how I too could adorn my bike with the latest white and red accessories.
I did have the pleasure, however, of attending the South African Tourism live broadcast party on Friday afternoon, where the theme was to come dressed as a fan. But not as a red and white fan; it was green and gold all round. We made so much noise, in between stuffing ourselves with boerewors rolls, samoosas and Mrs Ball’s Chutney; we blasted away on our newly acquired vuvuzela’s. The poor lady next to me kept making unfortunate noises through hers, but hopefully by the time the tournament has ended, she will have got the hang of it.
And what trouble those horns are causing! The past two days have seen the media full of news and vuvuzela views with the loudest rants proclaiming they should be banned. I suspect those are the voices that would prefer to hear England fans shout the national anthem ad nauseam from the stands. The broadcasters have been quite thorough in their research and wheeled out the experts to denounce and pronounce on the evils and health hazards a vuvuzela presents, including no end of germs, transmission of colds and flu and, not least of all, hearing loss. I even saw a fan at a match wearing industrial ear-defenders!
We are in danger of taking ourselves far too seriously. If you don’t like the noise, then get to know your volume control on the remote. Football is not a sanitised sport, nor should it be. And to prove my point, here is some World Cup fun: for protocol on how to use your vuvuzela, take a look at the picture gallery.
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