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Glass and the vuvuzelas

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks


They’re banned at Wimbledon, forbidden at Yankee Stadium and gave Tanner Glass nightmares.

What is: vuvuzelas.


That soothing hum means you’re correct, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup it also meant a national anthem was being played or someone was on offence or someone was on defence or the home team scored or the away team scored or it was half-time or there was an injury or someone won or someone lost or anything really.

It meant a lot of things to a lot of people all over the world. For Tanner Glass, it meant headache.

Glass traveled to South Africa to take in the world’s largest sporting event last month and the 26-year-old Canucks forward, who recently signed a one-year deal with Vancouver, has finally regained hearing in both ears after the biggest party of the summer.

The World Cup had a worldwide viewership of 715 million people (compared to 106 million for the Super Bowl) as all eyes focused on the beautiful game and Glass had his fiancé Emily, a former soccer standout at Dartmouth, to thank for getting him into soccer.

Glass fell in love with the girl and her game simultaneously and he’s now an addict. His appetite started small, he’s a Liverpool man thanks to Fernando Torres and also because Emily backs Manchester United. Then the opportunity to attend the World Cup with Emily’s family presented itself and Glass was fully on board. The only hitch: tickets.

“Her family has gone to the past three World Cups, but her dad was having trouble getting tickets, he actually applied for the first two rounds of tickets and wasn’t able to get any, so he told me I better apply as well,” explained Glass. “So I applied and I ended up getting every ticket that I applied for, which is actually seven games all around the country. We weren’t able to make all the games, but we ended up getting four good ones and the other ones we turned back in. It worked out well.”

You can say that again.

Glass scored tickets to four matches: Uruguay vs. South Korea (2-1 Uruguay) and Spain vs. Portugal (1-0 Spain) in the Round of 16, Germany vs. Argentina (4-0 Germany) in the Quarter-Finals and Netherlands vs. Uruguay (3-2 Netherlands) in the Semi-Finals.

“It was all really cool, we got a lot of flavour from a lot of different teams, so it was nice,” said Glass, who didn’t struggle to pick his most memorable game.

“For me, it was the Germany vs. Argentina game. It was 4-0 Germany and three of the goals were scored on our end and we sat right behind the net. It was really cool to see the differences in the styles of play, the Argentineans are a lot shorter and quicker, while the Germans were really tall and they dominated the game. It was neat to see such domination, especially when my fiancé was cheering for Argentina and I was with Germany.”

This wasn’t Glass’ first time in Africa, he visited the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent a few years ago and left with an appreciation for both its culture and love for soccer. The beautiful game is to them was hockey means to Canadians, which I guess makes the vuvuleza their cowbell. Either way, when Africa rallied around Ghana, its last chance for a World Cup championship, you couldn’t help but get caught up in the rapture.

“When Ghana was kind of the last hope there and everyone was pulling for Ghana, the streets were crazy with the horns, the vuvuzelas were blowing every time Ghana did something well. It was really a shame they had to lose the way they did, hitting that crossbar on the PK.

“Everyone was definitely pulling for Ghana and I think it was just really cool for Africa having the World Cup, showing that it could host the biggest sporting event in the world and it was really great not only for Africa, but for the whole continent.”

Glass is now back to his training regimen, but soccer is still on his brain with the countdown on to World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

“This was my first World Cup and Emily’s family goes every four years and I’m joining the family now, so I’ll have to go. I know they’re behind in some of the planning for the Brazil tournament, but if everything goes according to plan, we’ll be back.”

Hopefully the vuvuzelas will not.

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