Posts Tagged ‘World Cup’

Leading With Their Hearts

Photo: AFP

They don’t have to win another game. They have already captured our hearts.

Did you see trading stop on the floor of the New York stock exchange as traders hugged one another? What was the reaction in your office? In mine, the joy was palpable.  High-fives and hugs everywhere as Landon Donovan kicked that rebound into the net in the 91st minute to beat Algeria 1-0 to take the U.S. into the round of 16 in the World Cup.

We are not supposed to care about soccer. But this is not just about a game. Having watched the match again last night, this time on Univision, the Spanish-speaking announcers hit the nail on the head. Noting the American team’s remarkable comeback from a 2-0 deficit against Slovenia in the previous game, the Univision play-by-play team could only talk about what closers the Americans are.

Here’s the rough translation as soon as the final whistle signaled the conclusion of Wednesday’s miracle in South Africa:

The United States, everyone’s team! The United States, the team of the stars and stripes! The United States keeps writing history in the world of futbol! If you are capable of dreaming it you’re capable of achieving it. More than ever the U.S. has shown what you can do when you lead with your heart…when your heart tells you yes while your mind and events seem to say no… in the 91st minute we were witness not just to Donovan’s goal…today we have seen a goal of faith, a goal of hope…we are reminded of the final stanza of the American national anthem…the home of the brave!

Never underestimate the hyperbole and emotion of Univision. But they got it right. This is all about heart; the U.S. squad’s heart and our hearts.  They had me at Goooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!

The World Cup Drone

(Photo by Matt Dunham/Associated Press)

My father-in-law, after watching a World Cup game Saturday, said “I think there’s something wrong with my TV. There’s a constant static.” No, Ned, do not adjust your set.  Those are the vuvuzela trumpets.

I assume it’s constant because out of a crowd of 100,000- any given 20,000 people have not run out of breath and are blowing their little hearts out. Then when they tire, the next set of 20,000 people take over.

It has not yet sent me over the edge but others are beginning to crack. John Leicester with the Associated Press has pretty much lost it.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) The constant drone of cheap and tuneless plastic horns is killing the atmosphere at the World Cup. Where are the loud choruses of “Oooohhsss” from enthralled crowds when a shot scorches just wide of the goalpost? And the sharp communal intake of breath, the shrill “Aaahhhhss,” when a goalkeeper makes an acrobatic, match-winning save? Or the humorous/moving/offensive football chants and songs? Mostly, they’re being drowned out by the unrelenting water-torture beehive hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm of South African vuvuzela trumpets. Damn them. They are stripping World Cup 2010 of football’s aural artistry.

The good news for South Africans is that these vuvuzela trumpets generally sell for a dollar but for the World Cup are going for $15. Clearly, someone’s getting rich here, but that’s ok;  a lot of South Africans need this extra cash.

As for Mr. Leicester, upon further review, his entire article seems to reveal an intimate knowledge of British soccer, leading me to believe some of his frustration may be due to that 1-1 tie between England and the United States Saturday.  Frustrating for the English, that is.  Can’t be fun to watch your goalie turn an easy save into a goal for the opposing team, making a fool of himself  like that before hundreds of millions of viewers across the planet.  I suppose if my team had blown it that badly, stuff like never-ending, head-splitting, droning trumpets might very well  add to the level of general irritation.

But they’re not going anywhere- those trumpets. They will keep on blowing. It is not our TV’s that need to be adjusted. It’s we who must adjust. It’s the South African way.  If it gets really bad for you, get in the lotus position, clear your mind, let the drone take you into another state of mind and gently chant “ommmmmmm.”

World Cup- Curses!

“Bastard.” “Son of a bitch.” Just some of the words Brazilian referees are learning this week as they prepare to handle the U.S-England World Cup match Saturday afternoon. Not that they’re planning on using these words- but they need to recognize them as they are spoken, or yelled, as the case may be- to them.

Refs hand out yellow cards for obscene words or gestures during play and it would appear their current vocabulary of foul language is limited to Portuguese. For some reason that has not been explained, FIFA, the organizing body for the World Cup, says referees are not required to learn obscenities in languages other than English.

All teams have been appropriately warned and representatives from the U.S. and British squads swear up and down that they don’t intend to use any such words.

If they do, I would recommend the players brush up on their Chinese curse words. I imagine that would leave the Brazilian refs puzzled, confused and uncertain but will still afford the ability to unleash considerable emotion in a cathartic manner that does not risk the dreaded yellow card.