July 2, 2010 4:08 pm
By Miss Chatter
Vuvuzela, vuvuzela, vuvuzela. All you hear about these days is vuvuzelas! Being a baseball only person, at first I wondered, "what the heck is a vuvuzela anyway?" The answer seemed to be something that when played in unison among fans at a crowded sporting event, namely soccer, resembles the sound of a swarm of bees. In honor of the World Cup, it seems vuvuzelas are coming out of the woodwork at many non-soccer events and Nats Park has not been immune. I don't follow soccer so had no idea what a vuvuzela was until I heard one on tv at Turner Field when the Nationals played the Braves, and then again at Nats Park last night. I instantly recognized that sound and suddenly knew exactly what a vuvuzela is (but still not how to pronounce it properly).
See, we made a family trip to Pfitzner Stadium to take in a Potomac Nationals game two years ago for the 4th of July while the Nats were inexplicably on the road. The Pfitz boasted the best fireworks display around and the ads made it sound like their show could very well rival fireworks on the Mall. Having dealt with the Independence Day crush of heat, humidity and crowds on the Mall twice since moving here, anything sounded better. So we headed there as a family. At one point rain threatened, so we sought shelter and wandered into the P-Nats gift shop where my kids just had to have these plastic collapsible horn things.
Being occasionally naive parents, we bought one red horn and one blue horn so the children could identify which was their own (to squelch the fighting). We then perched in our seats directly under the press box and proceeded to cringe throughout the game as our children bellowed and buzzed with innocent pride. Oh my goodness, we were "those" parents. I was mortified. What lapse in judgement actually allowed us to purchase those noise makers for our rambunctious kids? I have no idea.
So the patriotic red and blue annoyances made the trip home with us. Being loud and obnoxious little boogers (the horns, not necessarily my kids), naturally the glee of "tooting" them (or whatever it's called) didn't wear off quickly. So household rules began getting assigned.
1) Only blow them outside (save the grownups' ears).
2) Only blow them outside after 10 AM (save the neighbors' sleep).
3) Only blow air through them (in other words, not in the bathtub - see first rule).
Eventually one was lost and the other's two halves no longer stayed together and it found its way into the trash pickup. Whew! That bit of relief happened not too long ago -- meaning those suckers made it nearly two years! Once our house was finally free of them, I started hearing about these cool vuvuzela things in conjunction with people sharing the joys of watching the World Cup. Then they started popping up at sporting events we attend. On the 5th day of Strasmas, I heard rumors of a vuvuzela in the stands, but didn't hear or see it. I was quite disappointed, thinking the novelty quite fun in light of the World Cup. Of course, this was before I was enlightened to the fact that I had just rid our house of two of the darn things.
Ok, so back to the present and my fascination with the vuvuzela frenzy sweeping the local sports nation. At first I was highly amused until recognition smacked me. Granted, my kids' horns may not have been "real" vuvuzelas, but whatever. A friend at last night's Nats vs. Mets game happened to catch a photo of a vuvuzela in action.
Vuvuzela at Nationals Park, courtesy John Yuda
Annoyance or not, the team rallied shortly after the vuvuzela photos popped into my email inbox. I could hear the familiar bellowing buzz through my television. Watching and listening with a mix of amusement and leftover parental annoyance, the final innings played out and whoa! The Nats won after having flat offense through much of the game. So, maybe -- just maybe there's something to the luck of the vuvuzela. If so, I leave you with the um, concert below. Hey, maybe it'll bring the second win in a row? And now you know where to go for the 4th if you want to avoid the crowds and get a vuvuzela of your own. I bet they still sell them. Go a day early and catch Jordan Zimmermann making his first rehab start. It may mean missing the 6th day of Strasmas, but even I'm considering it. I will not be repurchasing the horns, though.