Of Vuvuzelas And Nil-Nil Scores
Friday - June 23, 2010
Time to sit down and watch the U.S do battle in the World Cup. Why do I feel like I need mosquito netting when I turn on the tube?
The vuvuzelas, of course. Until last week I’d never heard of vuvuzelas - cheap, plastic, trumpet-shaped noisemakers that sound like a zillion swarming insects. I find them irritating beyond belief, and those more experienced than I tell me I’ll get used to the drone. I’m not holding my breath.
While I acknowledge soccer’s worldwide popularity and recognize the athleticism and skill of the players, I can’t quite join in the celebration of say, last week’s Portugal-Ivory Coast game that ended nil-nil. In the U.S. we don’t generally let games end in ties, not to mention scoreless (unless it’s a Bud Selig All-Star game). But I certainly understand the histrionics that many goal scorers exhibit. Sprinting and screaming across the pitch like a man unhinged, the scorer does not follow the advice “act like you’ve been there before.” In fact, he may not have been and may never be there again. So, go nuts. What the heck.
The passion for soccer in some countries is quite out of control. Remember Colombian player Andres Escobar, who was murdered after scoring an “own goal” in 1994? England’s goalkeeper Robert Green won’t likely be gunned down for his mistake permitting the U.S. to achieve a 1-1 draw. Disgruntled fans are more likely to just burn down his house. But still, many of us will watch and root for the U.S.A., hoping we can move on in the tournament. Once the U.S. is knocked out, I’ll probably switch over to professional lacrosse.
As the dust settles after all the posturing and preening in college sports, the actual movement will apparently include only four schools. Nebraska bolted for the Big 10, which now has 12. Colorado also departed the Big 12 for the Pac-10 to be joined by Utah. Boise State will join the Mountain West. And everybody else will apparently stand pat.
All those in danger of losing everything might consider sending the University of Texas a thank-you note. The Longhorns’decision to stay in a 10-team “Big 12” brought the movement to a crashing halt. Although Texas can’t be accused of altruism - they believe that their long-term financial interests are best served by staying put and starting their own television network.
And just to show that money does matter, the weaker members of the Big 12 (Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State) are being forced to give their share of departure monies (paid by Nebraska and Colorado and estimated to be as much as $18 million) to Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma to make up part of what they might sacrifice by staying. It’s sort of like the feudal system with the weak teams being the serfs and the strong schools playing the feudal lords.
But at least we won’t have to listen to school presidents prattle on about their concerns over student athletes, because that would be enough to make me break out a vuvuzela.
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