Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Five

1. This morning, as I drank a cup of coffee before getting in the shower, I managed to see South Africa score the first goal of the World Cup. That seems so, so right.

2. I don't know the first thing about soccer.Okay, maybe I do, as the first thing probably has something to do with kicking the ball, yes? That, right there, is the sum of my knowledge on the sport.

3. A colleague from Germany tried to explain the World Cup and how it works to me, but I am utterly overwhelmed. It seems they are always playing toward the World Cup. And the current play isn't tournament play, or something? Wha?

If you know anything of the World Cup and soccer, please send me some dumbed-down cliff notes.

4. What the hell is that weird, non-stop buzzing noise? NO. REALLY. What the hell is it? Can you hear it in the stands?

5. I spent a lot of time over that cup of coffee sending prayers up for the Mandela family, and thinking how I should live my life with more purpose as a way of thanks to Nelson Mandela.

Have a happy, deliberate Friday, my friends.


  1. If you haven't yet read it, I strongly recommend "Playing the Enemy" (the book that inspired the movie, "Invictus," but the book is much more comprehensive of Mandela's strategy for ending apartheid through unity).

  2. Oh, you don't have to know much about the World Cup to enjoy it. They play in regional qualifiers, the top X number of teams from each region (vaguely continental) advance, then they are split into groups and they try to distribute the top and bottom teams among the groups so that all the best teams don't knock each other out in group play, since only the top two teams from each group of four advance. So there's all this complicated calculation of points based on wins, losses, and ties in the group play, but no need to understand that, really... just read along on ESPN or wherever and they will tell you who has to do what toward the end of group play to advance. And then they go to regular playoff style knockout rounds, and those are quite straightforward. It's fun! I'd be happy to explain more but I don't know how much you really do or do not know and I don't want to bore you with things you already understand.

  3. I asked the same question about the buzzing. According to BD, it's from those long, skinny plastic trumpet things. Fans in the stands have them and blow air through them to make the noise. If you watch any of the crowd shots, you can see people with them.

  4. It's called a vevuzela
    it's cheap, plastic, and annoying as hell.

  5. The Vuvuzela is the work of the devil.

    The noise of those darn things drowns out the normal crowd noises that rise and fall with the ebb and flow of the game.

    They are very much an African creation, and this is the first time they've been seen in real numbers in a major tournament.

    As has been said, the method of World Cup qualification is quite complex, but you don't need to understand it - all you ned to know is that the 32 teams in the ongoing World cup finals are the teams that came out on top.

    The 32 teams are split into 8 groups of 4, with each team playing the other three teams in their group. The two teams at the top of each group table go through to the next round.

    Now it becomes a knockout, and if you lose, you go home! The round starting today is the round of 16, then it's quarter finals, semi finals, and of course the final itself.

    It's the biggest sporting event in the world, and it still perplexes me that a country founded largely by Europeans still hasn't caught onto the beautiful game! Maybe if the US do well, folk will pay a little more attention!


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