Grumbles In The Jungle

1 For many, the most defining image of the 2014 FIFA World Cup may be the toothmarks left by Luis Suarez in the shoulder of Giorgio Chiellini during the Uruguay vs. Italy match.  The incident spawned innumerable Internet memes1, most of which depicted Suarez as a bite-crazed vampire.  It was the third such infraction2 by Suarez since 2010; as in previous instances of biting, soccer’s enfant terrible was subjected to a multi-game suspension.
1       對許多人來說,2014年世足賽最具代表性的畫面,可能是烏拉圭對義大利的比賽中,蘇亞雷斯在基亞連尼肩膀上留下的牙印。這起事件掀起無數網路話題,其中大部份都將蘇亞雷斯描繪成愛咬人的吸血鬼。這是他自2010年以來第三度犯規,和先前咬人的例子相同,這位足球壞小子遭到多場禁賽處分。


2       Even before Suarez left his mark on this year’s World Cup, however, another controversy was plaguing the tournament.  Brazil, as the host country, bore the brunt of the criticism1, particularly after the opening match between Italy and England.  In a grueling3 game that saw players from both sides drained of energy and sweat, sports commentators and fans alike were asking:  Why was a stadium erected in the extreme environment of Manaus?
2       然而在蘇亞雷斯於今年的世足賽留下印記之前,還有另一個爭議鬧得沸沸揚揚。身為主辦國的巴西首當其衝,尤其是在義大利和英國的首戰過後。這場激戰中可以看到雙方球員精疲力竭、滿身大汗,讓球評和粉絲都在問:為何要把足球場建在瑪瑙斯這種氣候極端的環境中?

3       By all accounts, the stadium erected in Manaus, expressly for 2014 World Cup play, should never have been built.  Manaus, likewise, should never have become eligible—much less chosen—as a venue where matches of the tournament would be held.  Situated only 200 miles south of the Equator4, the city of two million was far and away the stickiest city on the World Cup circuit.
3       大家都說,特別為2014世足賽所建的瑪瑙斯場館,當初根本不該興建。同樣地,瑪瑙斯也不該符合資格—更別提中選了—成為這次比賽的場地。位於赤道以南儘兩百英里處,這座人口兩百萬人的都市絕對是這次世足賽主辦城市中最溼熱的一個。

4       Whatever the actual temperature was on the field, it felt a great deal hotter to players because of the oppressive5 humidity.  Aptly named Arena de Amazonia, the stadium is situated at the edge of the Amazon rainforest; the other seven venues were situated in comparatively cooler locales around Brazil.  To offset6 the physically draining effects of games played in the Manaus stadium, coaches of both teams agreed to “rehydrating” timeouts.  And the kickoff time of games was moved from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., when the sun was lower on the horizon and the air slightly cooler.
4       不管球場上實際溫度為何,因為悶濕的緣故,球員會覺得比實際還熱上許多。足球場十分貼切地命名為「亞馬遜體育場」,因為它就位在亞馬遜雨林的邊緣。其他七個場地則位在巴西各地相對較涼爽的地區。為了彌補在瑪瑙斯球場比賽對體力的消耗,兩隊的教練皆同意進行「補水」暫停。此外比賽時間也從下午四點改到六點,這時太陽比較接近地平線,空氣也會涼爽一點。

5       The isolation of Manaus, and its complete lack of any real football facilities, or teams that play in them, had many asking who made the decision to build Arena de Amazonia—and why?  Indeed, as players found out, reaching Manaus is no easy thing, as boat rides or flights are the only ways in or out.  English coach Roy Hodgson observed Manaus as “a place to ideally avoid,” but had to apologize for what the Brazilian press called “culturally insensitive comments.”  No small number of Brazilians, it’s worth noting, chimed in2 that Hodgson had been correct in describing the place.
5       瑪瑙斯位置孤立,再加上當地完全缺乏足球設施或地方球隊,都讓許多人想問,要建亞馬遜體育場究竟是誰作的決定?原因又是什麼?實際上球員發現,要到瑪瑙斯並非易事,因為進出只能搭船或飛機。英國隊教練洛伊.霍森就說這裡是個「最好能避開的地方」,但此說法被巴西媒體稱為「缺乏文化敏感度的評論」,讓他必須出面道歉。值得一提的是,不少巴西人都附和表示霍森說得對。

6       In all, eight teams—out of 32—had to play group stage matches in Manaus, and in the eyes of some observers, Italy had made the best preparations.  Back home in Florence, the Italian manager had a wooden sauna7 shed constructed and equipped with stationary bikes3.  The conditions inside the shed were designed to mimic8 the 30 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit) of the Amazon jungle, where humidity hovers above 90% nearly all the time.
6       32隊中總共有8隊必須在瑪瑙斯舉行分組預賽。在部分觀察家眼中,義大利的準備最充分。義大利隊的教練要求在國內的佛羅倫斯建了桑拿小木屋,裡面配備健身腳踏車。小屋中的環境設計成模擬亞馬遜叢林的溫度:攝氏30度(相當於華氏85度),溼度則幾乎隨時維持在超過90%以上。

7       The Italians also had special meals prepared by professional chefs to help their players be physically prepared to do battle with England on the Manaus pitch9 on June 14.  The meals were heavy on vegetables and fruit, and condiments10 and sauces were light to non-existent11 in the main entrees.  Fresh papaya and pineapple, as well as coconut water, were major components of players’ dietary intake.  The careful attention to exercise and meals may have paid off, at least for the Manaus match, as the Italians beat England 2-1.
7       義大利隊也由專業主廚準備特製餐點,以幫助球員準備好6月14號在瑪瑙斯的球場上迎戰英國。餐點以蔬菜和水果為主,主菜中幾乎沒怎麼添加調味料和醬料。球員主要攝取的食物包括新鮮的木瓜、鳳梨,還有椰子水。注重運動和飲食可能真的發揮了成效,至少在瑪瑙斯的比賽中,義大利以2比1擊敗了英國。

8       Now that the World Cup is over, big questions remain over the fate of the 42,000-seat Arena de Amazonia.  As Manaus has no football team to justify its construction, many have asked why Brazil—whose economy is far from robust12—spent the equivalent of US$270 million to have it built.  Predictions are that it will soon become a white elephant4 in the Amazon, as nothing much on the event calendar can keep it in use.
8       如今世界盃賽事已告一段落,但關於可容納42000人的亞馬遜體育場的命運,依然存在著很大的疑問。由於瑪瑙斯並無當地球隊可以作為建球場的正當理由,為何經濟遠稱不上健全的巴西會斥資相當於2.7億美元來興建,讓許多人提出了疑問。有人推測這裡很快會成為亞馬遜州的蚊子館,因為未來的行程表上沒什麼可以讓它發揮用途的空間。


Questions for Discussion  問題討論

1.     Share your thoughts on this year’s World Cup.
2.     Name some white elephants in your country.
1.     分享你對今年世足賽的感想。
2.     你的國家裡是否也有造價昂貴但無用的大型建築,請舉幾個例子。

  1. meme (n.)爆紅的網路話題
  2. infraction (n.)違背;違法
  3. grueling (adj.)累垮人的
  4. Equator (n.)赤道
  5. oppressive (adj.)悶熱的
  6. offset (v.)抵銷;補償
  7. sauna (n.)蒸汽浴;桑拿浴
  8. mimic (v.)模擬;模仿
  9. pitch (n.)運動場地
10.  condiment (n.)調味料
11.  non-existent (adj.)不存在的
12.  robust (adj.)  健全的;茁壯的

Phrases, etc.
1. bear the brunt of sth.  (v. phr.)首當其衝
2. chime in  (v. phr.)  插話(表示贊同)
3. stationary bike  (n. phr.)健身腳踏車
  4. white elephant  (idiom)  累贅之物