Vuvuzela Hysteria

Anyone who has been watching or reading about the World Cup has heard people being up in arms about the sound of the vuvuzelas, those plastic horns that fans are blowing at all the games, apparently disturbing the television-viewing game experience. Personally I think it is much ado about nothing and soccer-haters are just trying to find reasons to hate on the world’s favorite sport. All this talk has, however, sparked a fun memory for me that involved many of the subjects we are talking about through our Unity Cup Awareness Project.

The only International soccer match I have ever attended (until 10 days from now!!) was a USA vs. Mexico friendly match in Denver circa 2003. I brought with me two friends from the “Sky’z The Limit” crew (who happened to be Special Olympics athletes), Smooth Nicky Baker and Dustin “Buzzy” Carter. These guys’ nicknames really reflect their personalities. Smooth is quiet and calm while Buzzy has boundless energy. Needless to say, Buzzy’s eyes lit up as soon as we entered the stadium and heard the sound of the horns (I’d never heard the term “vuvuzela” until this 2010 World Cup). So we bought one, had fun using it throughout the game and escaped unscathed, though there was a touchy moment when Buzzy was blowing the horn and chanting “USA!” loudly in the men’s room and we then realized we were the only USA Fans in there at the time. In fact, the crowd was probably 75% pro-Mexico at that game, which makes sense considering Denver’s large Mexican-American population.

Fast forward a few weeks. This time Buzzy and I are at a University of Colorado (CU) Men’s basketball game vs. Oklahoma State (OSU). Obviously Buzzy brought the horn along. We took our typical seats near the CU band (who has a legendary horn section themselves) behind one basket. Every time a player from OSU stepped to the free throw line, Buzzy would blow the horn. Loudly. Players were missing free throws left and right (literally). People in the stadium were feeling the Power of the Horn to at least affect the fate of free throws. Next thing we knew, OSU called a time-out. We saw their Hall-of-Fame head coach Eddie Sutton call the referee over, say something in his ear, and point directly at us in the crowd. Within a minute, a security guard came over to our seats and confiscated the horn. And I hadn’t thought about the horn (or vuvuzela) since then. Until now. Gotta pick up a horn in Cape Town. I guess Eddie Sutton won’t be watching the Unity Cup.

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