The World Cup 2010 is upon us. It seems like 5 minutes since the announcement that South Africa had won the right to hold the event and it's taking place already. Now we can dare to hope that the (now) 44 years of hurt can be ended, the false profits and the bad pundits will be rolled out and we will yet again be lamenting the fact that England can't get beyond the quarter finals of a major competition.
Some of us will be braving it all the way to Johannesburg or Durban to witness this exercise in self-flagellation. But is it really worth all that time and effort? Why not stay at home, save the money, and enjoy it from the armchair or the pub. Alternatively, is this historical event just too good an opportunity to miss?
It's a long way
There may be just one hour's time difference, but it's still the other side of the world. Why travel all that distance when you can watch it from the comfort of your home and not even have to get up in the middle of the night to watch the games?
Don't go for the sun because it's likely you won't find much. Even though top temperatures in the late teens hardly make it the Arctic, take warm clothes and don't expect to be camping out too much. Barbecues are definitely not on the menu.
It's a long way between the venues
It might not look very far on the map, but the there's 1400 kilometres between Johannesburg and Cape Town, the same as between London and Warsaw. That's a day on the train. It'll need planning.
Sport is always better when it's live
We live in the age of the armchair sports fan. A whole generation has been priced out of seeing top level football for example and think it's quite acceptable to watch it on the television. Although the community experience of watching it in the pub is good, nothing beats sitting with 40,000 cheering fans, believe me. And there's no endless analysis, what's not to like?
It's Africa's first World Cup
The next one'll be in Brazil and the one after in Europe, so there's won't be another until at least 2022 (and that one's earmarked for Asia apparently). Remember the rugby World Cup in 1995? Nelson Mandella and François Pienaar? OK, South Africa's footballer's have no chance of emulating their rugby counterparts, but this really is a historical event. Why would you want to miss it?
It's the World Cup
It is the biggest football event in the world held in one of the most stunning countries in the world. Despite one of FIFA's more madcap ideas to hold it every two years, it's currently held every four years. It's a festival of football with most of the world's greatest players. It still keeps it's scarcity value and four years is a long time to wait for the next one.
Have I got an opinion? Despite the distance, the weather or the travel problems, the only reason I'm not going is the expense and the fact that I'm just too busy. If you are going, go prepared and be careful. Insurance packages are available and they really are worth it.