The Top 20 Worst Sounds In Sports: Vuvuzelas, Black Eyed Peas And More!
When real fans watch sports, they want to feel like they are part of the crowd, even while relaxing in the La-Z-Boy at home.
They want to smell the guy who hasn’t showered next to them, feel the piping hot bleachers, and see the waterfall of sweat during the rookie’s first appearance.
But the most underrated sense for a sports fan?
The athletes need it, the coaches need it, the analysts need it and so do the ravenous followers. Sounds in sports can illuminate so many things, and without it, you can miss half of the game.
Except for golf.
From the buzzer sounding during a game winner to Tommy Smyth’s undecipherable, yet soothing accent, or to the crack of Ken Griffey Jr.’s swing on a mammoth homer, some of the most memorable noises come from sports.
Sadly, memories can be bad too.
There are sounds that plague sports like herpes: they never seem to go away, no matter how much you try to cover them up.
So here are twenty of the most ear-shattering, rage-inducing, smile-inverting noises from the world of athletics. Some are so bad they are funny, some will kindle up sour memories and some will make head-butting Carlos Zambrano seem fun.
Lucky for you, I didn’t attach all of the noises. That way, you don’t have to suffer as much as I did.
20) Star Watch
This is Brooklyn Decker and she is gorgeous.
The things I would do to her are illegal in most states and U.S. territories.
But when a fan wants to see her, they should peruse a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, not a Wimbledon broadcast.
Just make sure to buy a couple extra pairs of pants before. Trust me.
So when the commentators think it’s a good idea to talk about her, or any other celebrity on the camera, I start chucking rocks at the TV. No one wants to see celebrities sitting courtside with some popcorn and drinking a Coors.
It makes us jealous.
Instead of saying, “Look, it’s the cast of Grown Ups sitting next to the Lakers bench,” couldn’t Mike Breen just say:
“Look, a bunch of people who don’t care about the sport just spent the equivalent of your life-savings to high-five Kobe and all the other players they know nothing about!”
Please and thank you, ABC.
When I play football with my buddies, we go into the huddle, draw a play on someone’s chest walk to the line, and the quarterback says, “Hike!”
Sounds organized, right? The Buccaneers could learn a thing or two from us.
But what really grinds my gears is these insane calls at the line. Is “hike” no longer acceptable? Did it go out of style like Tamagotchis and velour?
When I watch Peyton Manning, it sounds like Gimli is yelling.
Sure, they may have their own word to snap the ball, and that’s fine. They can still do fake words for snap counts to draw the defense offside’s.
But does it have to sound like Helen Keller speaking Gaelic?
Just go back to the good ol’ days. It can’t possibly be a huge deal to go back to saying “Hike” instead of something that sounds like an order at P.F. Chang’s.
18) Dick Vitale
Most people probably won’t like me for this slide, and that’s their decision.
But for those who actually enjoy intelligence in the booth, read on.
Dick Vitale is to announcing as Porky Pig is to Looney Tunes. He doesn’t make sense half the time, but for some reason, everyone wants to hear him.
If we want someone to inaudibly describe what’s going on the NCAA tournament, hire Scooby Doo. People adore him because he is a caricature of himself, and for fellow journalists who would love to take his job, it’s sad.
Also, he has his own lingo for everything. Can’t he just be informative? Dicky V’s voice is already hoarse 24/7, and using words I’ve never heard of in an incomprehensible tone doesn’t help me enjoy March Madness.
People at school call their Beer Pong partner a diaper-dandy because he’s a freshman.
And I call them idiots.
17) NASCAR's In-Car Highlights
From the beginning, let me make a confession.
I watch more Real Chance At Love 2 than I do NASCAR. If I want to watch people try to turn left, I’ll turn on Zoolander.
That being said, there’s nothing more annoying than flipping to ESPN to NASCAR highlights. The crème de la crème of this irritation, however, is when they go inside the car.
Do they think the driver is singing Miley Cyrus? Cooking an Eggo?
So now I’m staring at a multicolored jumpsuit with more branding than cattle, and the volume on my television just went up 130 decibels. The camera picks up all the sound of the engine, and makes the viewer feel like they are trapped at Harley Davidson convention.
If you’ve ever driven, been driven in, or walked by a car before, you know what an engine sounds like. Yet, if you turn on a race, some knucklehead thinks you should know what it sounds like at 200 mph.
I’m just not sure which is more deafening: These cars or Tyra Banks.
16) Hockey Goal Sirens
Hockey has so many great sounds.
The face-off. The flying punches. The huge checks through the glass.
But there’s just one that makes me want to send Mike Tyson to the inventor of hockey’s home:
The goal siren.
First, does it have to sound like the opening to a Swizz Beatz song? NHL playoff games must sound like Grand Central Station with all the increasingly loud foghorns for every score.
When Albert Pujols goes yard, do I have to suffer through a herd of rhinoceros dying?
No, and neither should hockey fans. If a light goes off or the jumbotron says, “GOAL!” everyone will still go bananas.
Or, god forbid, people actually watch the puck! Gasp!
But more importantly, why does every team have their own siren? Is the same ear-splitting sound of 15,000 truckers charging at you not good enough?
Oh, great plan! We can add some kazoos in the background, and everyone will know the Iowa Chops scored.
15) The Key Jingle
This is one nuisance I just won’t understand.
It’s not classic like the wave, not traditional like the seventh-inning stretch and not as helpful as yelling your brains out.
But for some reason, people raise their hand, and jingle their keys like Danity Kane. When I go to Northwestern football games, the student section sounds like a kid shaking his piggy bank, and is as noisy as one too.
So many people make up reasons for this tradition, and they don’t make sense. My personal favorite:
Private school kid: “We do it because the other team will be parking our cars some day.”
Whoop-di-doo! But I hope you realize your team is down 42-0.
And it’s the first quarter.
14) Florida Marlins Fans
This isn’t really about the noise of their fans.
It’s the lack thereof.
I’ve seen more people at funerals than at Marlins games. And the mourners still make twice as much noise!
Sure, they get less than 1,000 people to Sun Life Stadium, but that’s no excuse for the silence. If I turn on MLB Network and I’m confused whether my television is on mute when your games are on, there’s a problem.
While there are definitely die hard Marlins fans out there, the ones in the stadium seem to have made a wrong turn in the way to Miami.
Which is weird, because if I made a wrong turn, I’d be screaming my head off.
Do you know how many fan would kill to root for a team with 2 titles in the last 15 years?
The Cubs haven’t won since the Cretaceous period and Chicago still goes Leo DiCaprio-insane for their team.
13) Cow Bells
When I was little, I remember being peeved when I got a cowbell in my party favor bag. I prayed that they would disappear as give-aways as I got older.
Sadly, I was wrong.
The Sacramento Kings started this, and I will never forgive them for it. ARCO Arena used to be so loud, it’s amazing people left Kings playoff games with their hearing still intact.
However, it’s not amazing that despite all the cowbells, they left as losers.
Do you know what it sounds like to sit next to some drunk John Daly with a cowbell? They start pumping their arms like guidos, and you feel like you just walked out of a subwoofer.
Honestly, if I was the home team, I’d want these abolished. This noise is so distracting, MJ probably had trouble focusing.
Plus, when some one lifts their arms to swing their bell, the man-stench of their pits wilts flowers in a mile radius.
12) Avery Johnson
First, let’s congratulate Johnson on his new coaching job.
It’s not very often you get to coach this worst team in the sport.
But the New Jersey Nets’ front man has the strangest body-to-voice ratio of anyone on Earth. A freak helium accident can’t even explain his high-pitched voice.
He is a very intelligent guy, and was one of my favorite analysts during the NBA playoffs. His insights were a nice change of pace from Magic Johnson’s nonsensical banter.
But it’s impossible to take him seriously when he sounds like one of the Munchkins.
And how do you think his players respond? When Brook Lopez hears his coach, but can’t see him, does he check the seat of his pants to make sure he didn’t sit on him?
11) Official Sponsors
Everything nowadays is sponsored.
It’s no longer the Rose Bowl. It’s the “BCS National Championship sponsored by AT&T at the CITI Rose Bowl.”
It’s no longer the Super Bowl. It’s the “Viagra presents the 2011 Windows 7 Super Bowl at the Metro PCS Superdome.”
How long can the names possibly get? I know it makes money for people and companies, but there’s something called tradition.
There’s 900 signs for these companies all over the field, and I wish that were enough. Even segments of highlights are now “Coors Cold Hard Facts” or “Gatorade Cooler Talk.”
Hearing each word getting tacked on makes me cold and shiver like I’m naked in Antarctica.
10) The Ping of Aluminum Bats
Baseball is America’s pastime. There’s a way it’s supposed to be played, and minus the steroids, the MLB does it pretty well.
College baseball, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired.
Mainly, it's because of the aluminum bats. Little League was a long time ago, boys.
When I hear that ping, it saddens me.
It reminds me that the dinger that just went out of the park would be a fly-out to shortstop using a wooden bat.
It reminds me that my favorite player who’s hitting .400 at school will get to Single-A ball and never get a ball out of the infield.
These players need to be prepared for the bigs, and using a hitting aide that is almost as good as corking a bat doesn’t help.
Besides, Sammy Sosa can lend them cork if they need it.
9) Baseball Umpires' Calls
Now, Jim Joyce, I’m calling you out. Your grunting has got to go.
When the ump stands behind home plate, and makes a call, all the fan can hear is something similar to a horse motorboating.
It’s a strike, not a “HUUUUUUUUUH!”
The Olympic dead-lift doesn’t have this much guttural noise. If I wanted to hear people grunt louder than a passing jet, I’d flip to tennis.
Plus, it’s less boring.
I understand you make the arm signals for strikes so it’s easier to understand. But if you are going to yell and make yourself audible, don’t make me listen to a Kung-Fu master.
So either speak clearly, or shut up.
8) School Spell-Outs
That’s what you sound like to me!
Parents across the country must wonder where the tuition money goes. The most complicated chant some people can pull off is spelling the team’s name.
Ever seen the Buckeyes play? Their favorite chant goes like this:
First, it’s Ohio State, not Ohio University. And if you can’t spell the name of the state, you shouldn’t be allowed in the stadium.
Instead, we can re-enroll you in preschool.
Stick to standard chants. “Let’s go, Buckeyes!” and screaming your brains out is much more normal, and the right team knows who is cheering for them.
The extra benefit is that Paris Hilton doesn’t sound smarter than you.
7) Softball Dugouts
Apparently, there is no stock footage of a softball dugout.
So instead, take a look at the beauty that is softball legend Jenny Finch.
OK, back to business. If you had the pleasure of catching the College Softball World Series, you know how loud the girls in the dugout can get.
Oh, you missed the CSWS? It was right between reruns of Tilt and Trick Pool on ESPN2.
My problem with these girls' noise is that they decided to be athletes. They chose softball, so play softball.
If these girls wanted to be cheerleaders, they can go get a skirt.
No other sport has the players being this loud on the bench, as long as you don’t include the Celtics bench. Imagine if this happened in other professions.
“C’mon Doc!” “You can do it!” “Get in her face and pull out that tumor!”
6) Tennis Grunts
This slide is for all tennis players, but the women are the worst culprits.
They grunt louder than burros climbing Everest. If I heard those screams coming from next door, I’d probably call 9-1-1.
Some people have told me that it’s part of breathing out when swinging. It enables the player to get more force on the ball because they are letting it all hang out.
So why don’t all players do it? Oh, that’s right, because it’s baloney.
There’s no need to grunt, unless you are trying to make the game seem harder than it is. In which case, you are showing weakness, and that’s embarrassing.
Be tired and frustrated all you want, tennis world, but let us enjoy the sport without it sounding like someone is cutting through the brush of the Amazon.
The newest entrant into the American eardrum makes a noise that is unforgettable.
Just like shoving a nail into your nose is unforgettable.
I’m all for South Africa expressing their love for soccer through a phallic horn. Kudos to them. But if I want to put my head into a beehive, I won’t do it while watching soccer.
I don’t like adding insult to injury.
The worst part about them, however, is their health effects. The horn emits a noise above the hearing threshold, so people in the stands could be going deaf while just sitting still.
The vuvuzela adds nothing to the sport and drowns out the glorious songs of the other nations.
So the next time I hear that sound, I hope I’m next to a bunch of dying oxen.
4) Stan Van Gundy
How does Jenna Jameson deal with being on set with this guy? He sounds like a tracheotomy went horribly wrong.
Oh, that isn’t Ron Jeremy?
SVG may be incredibly professional, but his voice makes him sound like a hoarse Metallica fan. It’s impossible to hear him speak and not think he’s going to hack up his larynx.
The NBA loves to put microphones on the coaches and go inside the huddle. So when the Magic are playing, I make sure to get out my earplugs.
He screams at people who are three-feet away, and it’s amazing that Dwight Howard hasn’t backhanded him into last week already.
Yes, Stan, yell at the refs. The reason you can’t get a call is because listening to you may be the only thing worse for one's ears than a vuvuzela.
These came on the scene thanks to the Anaheim Angels World Series run in 2002.
If they change the name of the team to the Demons, then the “gift” of Thundersticks makes more sense.
It’s as if people forgot they have hands. Clapping is the exact same motion as beating these sticks together, and it doesn’t look like you are part of a gangbang.
Hooray non-sexual celebratory gestures!
These tubes of air make the same noise as pans falling down an elevator shaft. The ruckus around the stadium makes me want to spear my skull with a Thunderstick.
But sadly, they aren’t firm enough for that. The become all flaccid by the fourth inning, and then you are back to the sexual innuendo.
2) Eye-Popping Injuries
This sound is a mental noise.
You may not hear it when actually watching, but it rings in your head and makes you queasy.
If you saw Shaun Livingston (above) make his knee go in two different directions, you know exactly what I mean.
Every sports fan will cover their eyes when a shoulder dislocates, an ACL gets torn or a Achilles gets ruptured. Then they all make the same noise:
Even if you don’t watch the replay, you remember the moment forever, and the sound you made up for it sticks. Whether it’s a “pop” or a “crack,” it gets ingrained in your mind.
The saddest part about it is that as a fan, you know that guy’s game, season, or career my be over. He could lose the thing he loves most after on instant.
And that sound is why.
1) The Black Eyed Peas
These rankings weren’t actually close. It was #1, and then everyone else.
Ironically I considered making the Black Eyed Peas number 2 just so they wouldn’t have the honor of winning.
Like when Duke “won” douchiest school.
The Black Eyed Peas are the worst thing to happen to sports since performance enhancing drugs. In fact, I'd rather Ryan Howard take HGH than listen to "Imma Be."
Their songs play at every game, they perform at the biggest sport venues, and the song “Let’s Get It Started” might as well now be the NBA’s anthem.
Unfortunately, the World Cup said, “Let’s Get Retarded” and chose the Black Eyed Peas to play their opening concert.
Even the vuvuzelas can’t be worse for South Africans.
Their most recent album rivals former Minnesota Timberwolves guard Troy Hudson’s for worst ever. Even Kanye West’s 808’s & Heartbreak sounded like the Beatles compared to the repetitive onomatopoeia that is “Boom Boom Pow.”
And for some reason, they keep showing up at all the biggest sporting events dressed like some hybrid of Star Trek and Predator.
Everyone’s been asked “If you could change one thing in the world, what would you change?”
I’d change the evolution of humans so they were naturally built to block out the Auto-Tuned nightmare that is the Black Eyed Peas’ music.