By now, anybody paying even the slightest attention to the World Cup knows the word vuvuzela.
The ubiquitous long plastic horns, which produce a nausea-inducing buzzing sound and have long been a staple of South African soccer matches, have been the nonstop soundtrack to this year's tournament. Packs of fans from competing nations have adopted the noisemakers as the best way to support their sides, despite complaints from players that the vuvuzelas interfere with on-field communication. But when fans already paint their faces and don wigs and costumes, they're not going to pass up the chance to be audio nuisances as well.
For the most part, however, vuvuzelas have failed to catch on with American soccer fans. After the Riverfront Times, our sister paper in St. Louis, tried to find local shops hawking the horns, we did the same and found them harder to come by than goals in group play (so far).
"Thank God, [we don't]!" said Leeanne, who declined to give her
last name when she answered the phone at Dick's Sporting Goods on Ward
Parkway. "We have the games on TV, and they irritate everybody." She
went on to point out that horns aren't exactly a hot item around town.
"No one has asked for them. They only want the shirts and stuff," she
Leeanne echoed what employees at other sports stores said:
The relatively small segment of the population that's into soccer is
more concerned about legit gear than fan accessories. Area soccer
specialty stores, including Soccer Kingdom in Overland Park and Soccer
Master in Olathe, haven't felt the need to carry the festive instruments,
either. In fact, even KC's Craigslist, normally a marketplace for all
niche goods and services, was a blank when searched for vuvuzelas.
If you're truly hell-bent on learning the art of aural annoyance,
you'll have to turn to the Internet, perhaps to Buy-Vuvuzela.com,
a site that points you to a range of online vuvuzela dealers.
You can get one for just $3.33.
Photo via Magnus Manske.