Shouts of encouragement came from the crowd and then the silence was deafening as Tiger brought his flat stick back for the putt that could give him another United States Open Championship. And the hush was suddenly punctured by a chorus of vuvuzelas, sounding like a swarm of bees. A startled Tiger flinched and the blade of the putter barely grazed the ball which rolled gently away from its target.
At the same time across the Atlantic Ocean, on the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon, there was a hush at Centre Court as Andy Roddick began his serving motion about to deliver one of his patented bullets on Championship Point. As at Pebble Beach the silence was suddenly broken by another chorus of vuvuzelas sounding like a swarm of bees. A perplexed Roddick turned his racquet and the ball knocked the umpire off his chair.
OK, OK. So neither of those scenarios actually occurred -- but they could if those dreaded horns that have created such a nonstop din at The World Cup Soccer matches in South Africa were exported to other athletic contests.
In baseball, for example, could the vuvuzela replace the Bronx cheer when the local version of Mudville‘s Casey strikes out, or would it be used to celebrate a grand slam.
At a recent game in Miami, according to management the attendance was definitely boosted when the Marlins distributed the horns to the first 15,000 fans. Unfortunately for the home team, the noise that ensued may have cost them a win when confusion attributed to the horns resulted in one their hitters batting out of turn.
In football could the home fans blow it when their team scores a touchdown, or would it come into play when a wide open receiver drops a pass in the end zone? For the NFL this will definitely become a challenge to the Rules Committee and maybe even a factor in collective bargaining between the League and the Players’ Union.
In hockey, like soccer, the vuvuzelas would probably be blown throughout the game because of the speed, ferocity and end-to-end action of the combatants. Probably the only respite would come when two or more players squared off against each other. And you can imagine what the decibel count would be during a Stanley Cup Final Round overtime.
In basketball would the vuvuzelas be confused with officials’ whistles and cause dunks to become doinks? How about Kobe in the act of shooting. If he missed would Kobe have a beef?
The puzzlement is that the blowing of these horns does not seem to signify whether they are for the defense or the offense, although their noise certainly is offensive to many.
But aside from sporting events could the vuvuzela be utilized elsewhere in the entertainment field?
Actually the vuvuzela sounds like a Latin American dance to me. Could a lesson at a Fred Astaire dance studio get me ready for an invitation to Dancing With the Stars? Probably not.
But on Broadway and theaters all over the world, a chorus of vuvuzelas could replace applause. Much easier on the hands, but a real tongue twister to play.
In the opera, wouldn’t a musical salute from the horns be more appropriate and genteel than the raucous shouts of bravo, bravo from the patrons after the great arias have been sung.
And in future years at The Phil, the canon shots at the climax of the 1812 Overture could come from the vuvuzelas rather than the “pops” from the paper bags that were provided by management his year. Their use there might be risky, because the high pitch might throw the orchestra off key.
And at New Year’s Eve parties will the vuvuzelas replace the traditional horns, rattles and other noisemakers?
If their popularity increases will the cost increase? Right now they are available from Amazon.com for as low as $6.99 and, thoughtfully the site also offers ear plugs at ten cents each. At that low price, the prudent might want to stock up on them now--the ear plugs, not the vuvuzelas. You just have to be careful not to be hornswaggled by a tin horn trying to sell you an imitation horn.
What has yet to be determined is whether the Vuvuzela will become a tradition here once the World Cup has ended, or will they be put into cold storage for four years. Fad or fixture that is the question?
I think they’ll fizzle out. Too hard to put in my pocket and if I want a taxi the old two-fingered whistle has always worked for me.