If you watched even one match during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa you'll definitely remember the sweet hum of a plastic South African horn instrument called the "vuvuzela."
The vuvuzela was a controversial presence at the 2010 World Cup. Some fans loved them. Soccer stadiums are noisy places, and the vuvuzela was a great-noisemaker. Others worried about hearing damage. Players complained they couldn't hear each other on the pitch. TV audiences complained about the constant buzz emanating from their TV speakers. But shops couldn't restock them fast enough.
The enemies of fun are taking no risks this year. As we get closer to the opening kick, authorities are banning an instrument that promised to be Brazil's answer to the vuvuzela: the caxirola (pronounced ka-shee-role-ah) — a small, plastic, noise-maker that looks like a grenade and sounds like a maraca.
Check it out:
Now THAT is a good time.
Carlinhos Brown, a Brazilian musician and icon, invented the caxirola in 2012. FIFA named it the official instrument of the 2014 World Cup and sells official caxirolas bearing the FIFA logo on its website. (They cost a steep $14.)
It was looking like Brazil's World Cup would, when not filled with images of police crackdowns on protesters, be filled with images of soccer fans shaking colorful plastic orbs.
Federal authorities in Brazil put the kibosh on all that, citing safety concerns about sore losers turning the little plastic music-makers into dangerous projectiles, as angry fans did during a match in Bahia. Still, it's hard to believe the decision wasn't influenced by the vuvuzela debacle in 2010.
So if you're planning to attend the World Cup this year, the powers that be ask that you not make too much noise. Thanks, and enjoy your stay.