Occasional 3QD contributor and insanely diehard, lifelong football fan Saifedean Ammous has arrived in South Africa for the World Cup. He'll be posting his coverage of the championship at a blog he has created for the purpose: The Long Ball to Freedom. Here's a taste of his initial reports:
The stadium looked glorious. It is a true feat of architectural genius, and the atmosphere inside was electric. As I mentioned earlier, the journey from and to the stadium was very pleasant, short and fun.
And I finally got to see the vuvuzelas in action. Now, I’d gotten plenty of headache watching the World Cup on TV, but was willing to be open-minded about them. At Chris’s insistence, I even tried blowing one of the things. But when I got to the stadium my mind was made up: those evil spawns of the devil must be banned! They are an awful monstrosity. They sound like death getting raped. But it isn’t the noise or loudness that is the worst thing about these horns, it is that they have subdued the wonderful football atmosphere of the games.
An integral part of every game and every major footballing occasion is the crowd. They chant, sing, boo, react to the players and spur the players on. With the vuvuzela, all of that is lost. All you can hear all throughout the game is the incessant droning sound of helicopters spraying pesticide. Whatever happens on the pitch, the drone remains the same. It gets louder at times, quiter at others, but the tone is itself. All the singing, chanting, booing and cheering is drowned away. This is a real pity. I would have loved to hear the thousands of Mexicans and Argentines chant and sing throughout that exciting game.
More here. [Saif is leftmost in photo.]