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Monday, June 14, 2010

The Casual Fan's World Cup: You're in "Sam's Army," and the War on Noise

Posted By on Mon, Jun 14, 2010 at 5:00 AM

click to enlarge Make it stop
  • Make it stop
Editor's note: From time to time, The Snitch, being at best a casual fan of World Cup soccer, will provide glimpses into the experience of same. 

US Team has No Nickname but Fans Are an Army; Ban on Plastic Horn

Causing Horrible Buzzing Noise Begged For

The Casual Fan left stammering during the US men's national

team's miracle match against England on Saturday has an excuse, aside from not quite grasping the sport: the

American side lacks an agreed-upon team nickname, leaving oath-happy

fans mostly speechless.

click to enlarge What's in a name? Snakes Alive? - WWW.USSOCCER.COM
  • What's in a name? Snakes Alive?

Italy is the Azzuri, host nation South Africa is the Bafana Bafana (the Boys), Australia the Soccerroos and Brazil has as many nicknames as is has World Cup trophies lying around at home (that is to say, several).  

But USA is the Team With No Name: some say it's the Association, others go for MNT (men's national team). Neither makes for an easily-chantable mantra, as in the kind that gets popcorn or corporate promotion giveaway frisbees hurled your way by opposing fans at baseball or football games.

Not even the semi-official, semi-organized fan's group Sam's Army has an official handy label to slap upon its heroes. In fact, they're more worried about you not drumming like an idiot and ruining their good time supporting that team they follow, you know, our team, the Americans godammit.

Try a couple. We got nothing. "STATES!" Unfair to DC. "YANKS!" You've found the one way to possibly be douchier. The old "USA! USA! USA!"? Bad memories.

In times like this, the Casual Fan would like to point out that a win for America is a win against terrorism, and ergo a positive for all of us. US.

In that spirit, and seeing as how US is written on our money as well as our team's jerseys, the Casual Fan thinks merely screaming for "US" -- because, after all, we have met the enemy, and he is us -- couldn't hurt.

War On Noise

Casual fans don't think to bring ear plugs to sporting events; this is why the Casual Fan wouldn't last long in South Africa.

That incessant buzzing sound you heard in the background during the matches isn't just the alien monitoring device hidden in your brain: it's a three-foot plastic musical instrument, the vuvuzela.

They're a staple at soccer matches in host nation South Africa, but players and broadcasters driven batty by the endless din are calling for soccer's higher-ups to ban them from the rest of competition.

France's captain has already said that the endless droning buzz from the horns screwed up his side's match and led to their opening-round tie, and broadcasters have supposedly been asked to figure out a way to filter out the buzzing noise from the rest of their audio feeds.

Casual Fan would probably be one of the first to blow into a vuvuzela -- after all, they're being handed out for free at matches, fitting perfectly into a Casual Budget. But in South Africa, they're deadly serious: "You can't enjoy the game without vuvuzelas," fans tell the UK Daily Mail, yet they're also blamed for hearing loss.

Ultimately Casual Fan has to consider this a nonissue: we know how to handle truly disruptive and dangerous supporters in this country. Until them, blow boys, blow. At least it's not a goddamn cowbell.

Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly

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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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