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South Africa 2010

597 words

The past weeks were dominated by the FIFA world championship in South Africa. People around here didn’t go as nuts as they did in 2006 when it took place in Germany, but it was hard to find a pub not having huge tellys around showing the games. And the roads were literally empty during the games of the German team with people being annoyingly enthusiastic after the games for someone who isn’t the biggest fan of football or Germans.

Just as during the previous football tournaments people decorated their cars with German flags (ugly, and pretty useless if you ask me: the statistical chance that a random person on the road is an idiot and supporting the German team is pretty high anyway, so they don’t need to put flags on their car to drive home the point). The bonus of this tournament were of course the cheap plastic instruments known as vuvuzelas which appear to be popular in South African football stadiums [as well as in concert halls] and which the spectators there used with great endurance.

Obviously German football fans had to use this opportunity to spend money on something cheap and plastic to be loud and annoying and you heard a fair bit of vuvuzela noise around here as well. Strangely it was much more in the first rounds of the tournament. Apparently playing those things is strenuous. While the vuvuzela is in no way ‘traditional’ or a ‘cultural’ artifact but just the cheap bit of plastic it appears to be, one must say that the South African spectators managed to use it to dominate the whole event.

And that’s quite cool if you think about it. You have a multi-billion enterprise by a huge mysterious corporation with all the business and TV dirt that naturally comes with that and the fans take over the audio track of the whole event by spending a few Rands on a piece of plastic. Well done! In addition it seems that the South Africans made the tournament work well, no matter what people predicted beforehand.

That said, the sound was annoying and apparently some of the ‘experts’ at German TV stations even declared filtering it was impossible (which of course meant that everybody who did attend Signal Processing 101 implemented the necessary filter and put it on the web) and just turning down the volume surpassed their competence as well. Walking past pubs with the games on turned the city into a vuvuzela-zone during the games as a consequence.

As I have no clue about the actual football, I found that letting one game run in the background with Greek commentary (Greek television was able to just turn down the vuvuzela volume it seemed) was good background noise for sleeping, particularly as I couldn’t understand the stupid commentator types. I actually watched the first half of the Germany vs Serbia game in which my football-ignorant self thought the German team looked like it had a lot of fun and played nice moves while the Serbian team scored a goal. I also saw the last few minutes of the North Korea vs Portugal game at the airport in Athens which increased the score from 0:5 to 0:7 I think and apparently made the Korean propaganda people a bit unhappy. The Portuguese travellers cheered, though.

All-in-all, people said the German team left a surprisingly good impression. But my friends said them losing in the semi-final was equally deserved. So, no hard feelings I guess.

Now let’s enjoy the four two years of quiet before the next football tournament…

July 12, 2010, 10:50

Tagged as football, south africa, world cup.

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