Saturday, 26 June 2010

Gotta Love Footy

I haven't been able to do regular posts about the World Cup so here are a few bits and bites from the first few days of action.....

- It's the Cup of the fallen giants. The
collapse of Italy, the nuclear meltdown of the French. They weren't beaten so much by opposing teams on the field but from within.

- On the too-bad side: African football, for whom some thought this to be a coming-out party, didn't really come out.

- Of my original picks, Netherlands (often the bridesmaid) have made it through while Cameroon has bowed out.

- I always look forward to the British commentary as much as anything. Best lines heard so far (cue the dry, British accent):

"The warning light is flashing on the dashboard of this Slovenian defence"

"This was supposed ot be a sumptuous feast of international football but here we are at the twenty-six minute mark and still crunching on the bread rolls" (Portugal / Brazil)

- As for the vuvuzela, yes it's constant and yes it's a bit annoying but it's their thing. Some have gone a bit overboard about the impact of the instrument like this National Post story.

North American sport has been moving toward taking the fan out of the game in favour of noise for a decade or more.

A few years ago I went to see an indoor lacrosse league game involving the Toronto Rock and their league has a 'rock soundtrack' that runs too loud and throughout the entire game ensuring that not a peep is heard from, or spoken between, fans until intermisison.

When the Winnipeg Alliance played a pair of exhibition games a couple of years back, the same thing. The first game featured wall to wall, concert- level music. After boos, chants of 'turn it off' and presumably some more direct complaints, for the second game it was announced that it would be presented 'without sountrack' which drew the largest cheers of the evening.

If in 'new sports' noise is replacing the fan, for traditional sports they have tried to push it as far as they can.

In both Philly and Chicago, the noise of fans going mad after a goal was replaced with air horn blows. By the final, when fans were at their cheering best, the horns seemed to go on for a minute to be sure that it didn't let random cheering get through.
At the next Moose game you attend, time how many seconds between whistles you get without blaring soundtrack (or tv commercial) - very few. Why hear fans chanting or even talking to each other when you can have the 10th AC/DC song of the night playing.

The vuvuzela, as annyoing as it is, shouldn't be that foreign a thing to sports fans. It wouldn't surprise me if all sport in the coming years ends up being noise from beginning to end.

At least the vuvuzelas' din is created by fans, not a pre-recorded sound system.

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