The noisemaker that took the FIFA World Cup by storm this summer will be present in full volume at The Game next week.
Students at both Yale and Harvard are selling vuvuzelas, small plastic horns that can be louder than a chainsaw. Although a member of the Yale Precision Marching Band e-mailed Harvard administrators and Yale football coach Tom Williams with concerns that the noisemakers could drown out YPMB’s performance and the football players’ attempts to communicate during The Game, Harvard athletics has said it will not outlaw vuvuzelas.
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“If soccer payers are complaining about the noise, I’m sure football players will too,” quarterback Patrick Witt ’12 said. “As quarterback, if I can’t communicate in the line of scrimmage, the game won’t take off.”
Timothy Wheaton, associate director of athletics at Harvard, said that having vuvuzelas or noisemakers at The Game does not violate NCAA regulations. He added that Harvard reserves the right to confiscate vuvuzelas or remove their users at its discretion, though as of now Harvard has not given any indication that it will do so.
But Elliot Eaton ’11, drum major for the YPMB, said he does not think Harvard will be able to control the vuvuzela usage if students enter the stadium with them.
Adam Money ’11, defensive back for the Yale football team, said he thinks communication is essential to a team’s success. He added that though the students watching The Game are generally a respectful group of people, many will be in “an altered state of mind,” which could raise the noise level.
Five members of the Harvard football team and of the Harvard Band did not respond to requests for comment.
All of the students selling vuvuzelas at both Harvard and Yale said they hope the presence of the instruments at The Game will not interfere with the athletes’ performance or with the bands’ shows during the halftime.
“We’re asking that [the students who buy our vuvuzelas] use them respectfully,” Harvard freshman Eric Cervini said. “We think the vuvuzelas will be used mostly during the actual game play, not during the performances.”
Cervini and Johnathon Davis, two Harvard freshmen who are selling vuvuzelas as part of what they dubbed the “Silence Yale Campaign,” said they wanted to bring the atmosphere of the FIFA World Cup to The Game. As of yesterday, they said they had sold close to 2,000 of the noisemakers.
When Jonathan Desnick ’14 found Cervini and Davis’ Facebook page, which was created in late October, he said he immediately knew he had to do something.
“I hated the thought of sitting across from 5,000 vuvuzelas at The Game,” Desnick said. “Honestly, my initial thought was to get earplugs.”
Instead, Desnick said he decided to provide Yale students with vuvuzelas, and purchased 700 of the horns from vuvuzela-boys.com. He said he hopes to begin sales next week, though he has not yet decided on a price.
Before the “Silence Yale Campaign” launched, Branford College Council had already decided to sell the instruments as an alternative to its traditional Game T-shirts, BCC President Michael Boyce ’11 said. He added that the idea was initially proposed as a joke.
Worried the noisemakers might not sell, BCC only bought 300 from vuvuzela-boys.com. The vuvuzelas, inscribed with the words “HARVARD BLOWS,” went on sale Tuesday in the Branford dining hall. At least 50 had sold by yesterday, at a price of $6 each, BCC Student Activities Council Co-Chair Alix Perry ’12 said. She added that sales will continue today in Commons.
Three of four students interviewed said they would be interested in buying a vuvuzela.
Lizz Reeves ’11, who attended the World Cup in South Africa this summer, said she felt the vuvuzelas at the soccer games were not as loud as they were made out to be in the media. But she said the noisemakers give the audience the ability to cause false starts and change the outcome of a game.
Kate Penziner ’11 said she thinks the vuvuzelas would boost school spirit at The Game, adding that enthusiasm for athletics at Yale is generally low. She said she does not think students will have the stamina to play the horns for the entirety of The Game.
The 127th installment of the Harvard-Yale Game will take place at the Harvard Stadium on Nov. 20.