I am not a sport fan. In fact, I find sport mind-numbing and boring. I have watched South Africa play in the rugby World Cup twice now and I can’t remember a single thing from either game. All I can remember is who I was watching with, that I was desperately bored and that I drank heavily during the second one just to make the time pass.
From day to day, I couldn’t care less about who’s winning, what series is going on and I’m thoroughly indifferent to the tabloid news on the scandalous lives many athletes live.
But I am pleased that my country gets to host the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Until the vuvuzelas became the latest fashion accessory (really, folks, it looks dumb no matter what you are wearing) and someone told a bunch of fools to blow them each and every Friday. Or just for the heck of it at 2am. Then some genius got a great idea to make a noise for a whole hour during the week and spread the news across the country. I wanted to crawl under my desk and die that day. It’s no lie: vuvuzelas can make a grown woman cry and I did in agony. It is not a pleasant sound at all.
The atmosphere in South Africa at the moment is incredible. There are flags everywhere: on cars, on houses, offices… Any surface that can be plastered with a flag will have one on. And then there are those silly mirror socks that looked dumb two months ago, but now I want at least four. It’s all very beautiful.
I am proudly South African and the excitement soon got to me. It can’t not. On Friday, 11 June 2010 I was bouncing with anticipation (and it was a half day). I had been invited to a Fan Fest at the Continental Outdoor offices, just 8km from my office and I was looking forward to watching the opening ceremony and enjoying the beer fountain I imagined would be there waiting for me.
Just to be clear, South Africa literally shut down at 13:00 on kick off day. This meant that EVERYONE was going SOMEWHERE. And most of those people seemed to be going where I wanted to be. It took me an hour to drive 8km.
Being stuck in traffic has never been so cool. And the sound of vuvuzelas started to grown on me. Imagine bumper to bumper traffic, flags flying, incredible noise and so much joy that the air was electric with anticipation. I rolled down my window just to feel it.
Sadly there wasn’t a beer fountain when I finally got to where I was going, but tubs of beer are the next best thing. Continental Outdoor definitely hooked us up. And I got a vuvuzela of my’ very own. I still can’t make it work though.
However, there are other things you can do with your vuvuzela.
Soccer is everywhere, even at work. There was a goal post outside with a tiny ring as a target. If you can kick the ball in, you win a hat. I gave it a shot, and missed. The ball almost went through backwards, which would have been great, but I don’t think it would have earned me a hat though.
The advertising manager of BMW owned it and walked away with two hats. She has mad ball skills and could consider a career move into coaching. That or she really likes hats.
A group of people started kicking a ball around and I thought about that “Make da Circle Beeger” song. Every time I looked that way, there were more players. And everyone was wearing yellow. I don’t wear yellow. I wore green and gold, and some girl said it was a cute jacket, so I guess it’s acceptable dress for a match.
Then it all started. Kick off, the big moment… And 30 seconds into the game I was bored. Justine and I started playing guess the age of the Mexican (12, 14, 52, 19) which is a lot of fun. It also kept our eyes on the screen, so when Tshabalala scored the first goal we were as dumbstruck as everyone else.
And then we started screaming. The entire country was screaming and vuvuzelas got a serious run for their money. There was dancing, and jumping, and hugs and wow… And I have my first sport memory. I will never forget that goal as long as I live. And Khune is a legend. The rest of the game is a bit of a blur. I was too worked up to focus much, but concentrating hard on the screen. It was unforgettable. It was awesome.
So what if we drew the match? It was a great way to start this month of madness. And I had a fantastic time. I still know nothing about soccer and I probably won’t be learning too much more because I can’t really be bothered. But I plan on watching every Bafana Bafana game, and I won’t take my supporters bracelet off until it’s over and everyone has gone back home.