Monday, June 14, 2010

i love the vuvuzela

And other reasons I love soccer/football/futbol. And yes, I get that the vuvuzela is kind of obnoxious, but it's part of South African soccer tradition, and music and noise is part of soccer around the world with all corners of the globe contributing their own thing. Go HERE to see nearly ten minutes of a raucous crowd loving their team and the game with horns and drums and chanting.

Right now I'm on a bit of a kick regarding music and soccer. Part of the fussing of World Cup 2010 is people griping about the vuvuzela. I get a little irritated hearing people bitch about them and even suggesting that they be banned. The English love to sing/chant for their team, and sometimes they love even more to sing to/at the opposition, in the most loving of ways of course. Go HERE for a Wikipedia article about chants in soccer. It's bit of a read, but it's interesting, and in my opinion puts the whole issue in some context, and from there you can do your own googling to find videos of soccer fans singing their club songs. I have to admit to loving Liverpool's fans singing, "You'll Never Walk Alone." Go HERE for a great version.

Another reason I love the game is stoppage time. Yes, I said that I love stoppage time. The referees have the option of extending the game past the ninety minutes to make up for times that play stopped for injuries, whether fake or real, as well as time wasted by either team that the ref felt was unnecessary. And speaking of ninety minutes, that's how long a game lasts. In American football a sixty minute game lasts two to three hours because someone has to make money by showing a string of seeming never ending ads for crap. But soccer doesn't stop except in the middle of the game for half time. There will of course be a few minutes there for ads, but you better get them in quick around the talking heads, because as soon as it's time for the game to restart your ass better be back on the pitch.

Advantage is another advantage. In other sports, whenever a foul is committed, the entire game has to stop to deal with it. In soccer there's this awesome thing called advantage. If I foul you but do not gain any benefit (advantage) for my team, the ref has the option of allowing the game to proceed. He/she even has the option of coming back to the foul later when play has stopped naturally if it's felt that I deserve to be warned about my behaviour. If the foul is flagrant enough or if I gain some advantage for my team, then the ref will stop the game and allow the effected team to restart play with control of the ball, and if I foul you inside my penalty area then I might as well have given you a goal most of the time.

The uniforms are yet another reason to love the game. How can you go wrong with basic shorts and a shirt? How can you not love the huge array of colors and patterns that teams have come up with over the years? Go HERE and scroll down the page for a very tiny sample. I'll add here that soccer players are probably also the hottest, but that's probably just my bias shining through, and this whole reason sounds kinda gay to me, but then . . .

I could talk about this for hours, but I won't. I'll end with one last reason, that the only thing you need to play the game is a ball. I've played games that used a pair of backpacks, strategically placed, to stand in for a goal. I've seen kids play using a spot on a wall as a goal. This is one thing that American football shares, the need for no more than a ball to play the game, and like American football, you don't even have to play a game to have fun. Just hanging out with friends and passing the ball and chasing the ball is a great way to blow off steam and waste a couple or more minutes.

I do love the game. I love the World Cup. And most of all I love my home team. I may not always be happy with the results, and I may rather make out with 90% of Spain's team , but it's USMNT all the way for me.

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