This week we lifted about 3 times about the usual. Its kind of tough to lift in season cause I'm always sore, but anyways. On Thursday I helped one of the guys move and man it was hot when we were doing that. We did that all morning, then I lifted in the afternoon, then had practice that night. So, I had a pretty busy day on that day.
Ever since I've gotten here I've been saving the big plastic bottles that I buy...you know like Coke bottles. One thing that they do here is recycle. Its pretty neat how it all works so I will explain. Pretty much any bottle you can collect be it glass or plastic is recyclable. You just save them up and take them to the stores that accept them and slide them through this little hole. The hole has a conveyor belt that takes the bottles and separates them and all. The bottle gets scanned and whenever you are done you hit the green button and out comes your receipt. You take the receipt with you and whenever you check out you have them scan the receipt and thats how much money you get off of your purchase. I think I got like 7 dollars off from 14 bottles or so. I believe that is one of the reasons that this place is cleaner than at home because the drunks will pick up all of the bottles and recycle them. That may be promoting drunks, but I guess at least they are keeping the place clean. So I've been seeing all of these posters around town forever that say "Tall Ships Races" and I was wondering what was going on. Well towards the end of this week I saw a bunch of sailors walking around the city. At first I thought it was just "European fashion" ...again, but turns out that it wasn't. There is a race of ships that runs a course around the Baltic and Turku was the first stop on the journey. The ships ranged from very small to very large and there were many nationalities represented. One of the biggest ships was from Mexico. All of the boats were docked on the river that goes through town and you could tour the boats all weekend and stuff so it was pretty neat. Every boat had a sign on it and flags and told you where they were from and what class the ship was in. So I boarded the Mexican ship and of course I was flowing in spanish with those guys. I asked them if they thought they would ever meet an American white guy, in Finland, that spoke spanish. Of course they said no. I threw some spanish words that only exist in Mexico in there for them just to let them know. It was pretty neat seeing all the ships and those things are pretty big, but I don't think I could stay on one of them for 7 months, which is how long the voyage for these guys is. There was an American ship, but it was small and to be honest I walked everywhere and couldn't find it. Only the big ships were available for touring so most of the small ships were unmanned anyways. These sailors stayed in town for like 5 days and on Sunday there off to another port.
This week we played the Seinajoki Crocodiles. This is the same team that we played in the first game of the year. By winning this game we secured a bye in the first round of the playoffs. This was our last home game of the regular season. When we first played this team I thought they weren't that good, but all week the guys had said that they had gotten in some new players and some of their players had returned from other leagues or from their vacation. There was also a rumor that some of their guys were injured. The rumors turned out to be true as their American linebacker had a broken hand or arm. I couldn't tell I just know he had a cast on. The wind was blowing very strong at this game which made it tough to throw when the wind was in my face. In the first half I didn't really play that well. I came close to throwing my first pick and I also made some bad reads. I had some td passes dropped as well in the first half. We had at least 100 yards in penalties and never really got good field position in the first half. Our defense was holding them pretty well though. The second half was better as I threw 3 td passes and ran 1. I ran over a guy on our sidelines too. We ended up winning 52 - 3 in a flag laden, swirly winded, long game. We now have one more game left in the regular season and its an away game in Pori.
Here are some pics from this week
This week was another routine week. We lifted on Tues-Thurs so I'm still trying to get swole, but I don't think its working. On Monday, we grilled out over at Patrick "Home American's" house and that was fun. We ate and solved the world's problems for a while. On like Wednesday while we were eating downtown I noticed these weird looking people walking down the street. I went out of the restaurant and into the street and it looked like all the people from Braveheart were marching down the street in a parade. This wasn't a parade like the Watermelon Parade either. I was talking to the people in the street and they told me that it was a Medieval parade. It was a short parade, but nevertheless interesting. We also ran into some more America haters on Wednesday night. One guy told us that he was going to murder Bush and then some other people told us that all Americans were cocky. We tried to tell them differently, but since they had there minds made up already there was no hope. We usually only hear this from people when they are drunk. So that made for an eventful night. We also went and watched the movie "Hulk" in the theater over here. It was pretty good I guess. It had a lot of science and technology in the movie that was kind of neat. I also have to take back one of my earlier statements....I had said that there are no Wal-mart like stores over here. Well I finally found one that is very similar to Wal-mart. I think I'm going to go back there to go shopping soon. That was about it for all of the interesting things over here this week. We are still seeing the drunk zig zag walk all the time, but thats not anything new.
This week we played the Vaasa Vikings. We had played them before if you remember and that was the game that I got a little light headed. This game was Marlon's first game back in over a month and let me tell you it did make a difference. He layed about 4 vicious hits and I mean they would be big time hits in the US. He hit their qb from the blind side one time and he coughed the ball up and one of our d-lineman caught the ball and scored. I was glad that I wasn't that qb. We won this game like 62 - 6 and I didn't play the last quarter. I threw for 193 yards and 3 td passes with 3 running tds as well. This puts me at 28 td passes and about 6 running. The defense played better since Marloncwas back and we're hoping that they will continue to play well and I finally got one of my receivers to read "hot". If you know anything about football then you will know what I'm saying. After the game our coach told us that our season starts this week. He said this trying to relay the fact that the team we play this week will be good and that from here on out we will have to play. This was our last game in the month of July. We now have 5 weeks left and 4 games since we should get the first week of the playoffs off since we should finish in the top 2 teams in the league. We have to play the Crocodiles again and the Pori Bears again. We have played both of these teams before and won so we should win if we play well against these teams again.
Pics from the game
TD to my tight end Suopa
Well this week got started off to a normal week, but my hamstrings were a bit tight. So when we went to the weight room on Monday I did some straight leg dead lifts to stretch out my hamstrings and wouldn't you know that I strained a muscle in my lower back. Just my luck so I could hardly walk Monday night and have been sore all week. I couldn't move too well so I didn't practice on Tuesday, but finished up the week practicing. My back does this like 2 times a year and needless to say...I won't be doing any more dead lifts while I'm over here. I didn't lift too much for the rest of the week
This week we saw 2 girls just using the non-existent facilities on the sidewalk in the middle of downtown. These people will just about do anything when they are drunk I think. I mean we were walking right by these girls and they don't giggle, hide, or show any embarassment. I think Marlon and I were more embarassed than they were. I also saw another scuffle this week between a drunk man and a sober guy. It wasn't really enough to call a fight. The statue guy was smoking a cigarrette this week so its official that he's fake.
We also went to the pool one day and went to the beach on another day. While we were at the pool we went into one sauna and we were seeing who could take it the longest, while we were constantly throwing more water on the coals and people were coming in and as soon as they sat down they would get up and leave cause they couldn't stand it. We couldn't stand it for too long either. Its weird when you go to the pool or beach with Marlon because he's so big and ripped that everyone is staring at him. Not being white also sticks him out a little too, but I would venture to say that there are benefits that come along with being different.
Since my back was sore I spent most of the week trying to rest it and laying on my bed and pretty much going to every internet site possible. The muscles will loosen up if I lay in one spot for a while so I was doing that along with getting massages and stuff so it did loosen up for the game, but its still sore now... As for the game, we won 42 - 0. The team we were playing hasn't won a game all season so this was what we expected to do to them. I don't feel that I played that well because I was getting to my reads late and just couldn't seem to find the right guys or something sometimes. I threw some off my back leg when I didn't have to and so I need to get my mind right. I got off to a bad start missing some guys I should have hit in the first quarter, but I did finish strong as I had 5 td passes, which makes for 25 so far. My back was getting tight towards the end of the game and I hope it loosens up all the way pretty soon because I don't like playing tentative like that. It was pretty hot out there today. Its not as humid as back home, like I've earlier stated, but to be out under the sun in black jerseys, going as hard as you can still takes it out of you. This is the first "football season" that I've ever had during the summer. I drank a lot of water the night before the game and after the game so I was ok. This upcoming week we have to play the Vaasa Vikings a team that we have already played. We will have to play well against them, but should be able to beat them if we play right. Word on the street is that Marlon Grier may be staging a comeback/breakout appearance in this game. I hope he does and I hope that he doesn't "re-pull" his hamstring cause we could really use him. There have also been rumors that I'm being fined by the federation for my personal foul penalty. If that is true I will appeal it and take it to trial based on the referee's lack of knowledge of the English language.
So while many of you were at the Watermelon parade I was playing ball in Finland. I mean last year at this time I was on a "Tucker Lumber - Check out our studs float". I remind you we did win #1 float last year as well. I won't comment on the watermelon mile. I heard rumors that Mark Tucker was going to ride the float this year and have the theme " We're sold out of studs, but come check out our spindles"....hahahahhaa, those words came from his mouth not mine so dont send me any hate emails. I think this is one of the few festivals that I've missed, but I know you guys got a long fine without me. Afterall whats Pageland with minus one redneck....still Pageland. It would have been nice to be there though, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Hopefully the boys are pumping some weights in the "Central Steel Mill" and getting ready to make a state championship run again. The weight room would probably be open more if Round didn't have to run those maters to Columbia, but they better be working hard cause this looks like it may be my first season where I can watch some games. I think another championship would be appropriate about right now. Well I better run to get some food. Hope all of you who are reading, (that is both of you...mama and big frank) are doing well.
Some pics from this week
This week marked my 7th week being here, which puts me around the middle of my trip here. I have a little over 7 weeks left and it seems like I've come a long ways, but still have a long ways to go and some business to try to finish with the Roosters coming up sooner than later. From talking to some of you on Instant Messengers and Emails I understand its getting hot and humid at home. Thats one thing that I do not miss at all. I will let you guys have the heat while I'm over here and the humidity is not close to that of SC.
Since we played on Sunday last week we didn't go lift on Monday because we got back late and because I could hardly feel my body and the soreness didn't leave until about Wednesday or Thursday. We did lift the rest of the week and I think I strained a muscle in my left shoulder area. Must be getting too much mass for my tendons to handle or something. It wasn't anything serious, but I probably won't push it too much more because I don't want to press my luck on it. During the week when we walk to the restaurant we have to cut through the center of town and like 3 times this week I saw one of those guys who stands still like a statue. The only other place I've ever seen that before was in New Orleans. You drop them money in the box and then they change positions. Its amazing how real they look and how many people will just walk by and not even notice them. I may try to get this guy on camera if I can catch him on the right day. We still see drunks every day when we walk. They sleep in the bus stops and walk zig zags everywhere on the sidewalk and sometimes in the roads. I also had a guy talk to me this week about playing ball in Italy sometime. I have to get in touch with him to see about that. I have no clue about the league over there, but if I find out anything I'll post it.
On one of the nights this past week the club that our friend on the team works at had a bikini contest and yes I did take my camera. I assure you that this contest wasn't that of a bikini contest in South Beach and I think Myrtle Beach may have an edge on them too. I have attached some pics of the contest. The tallest girl ended up winning, though I didn't think she was the prettiest one. Sorry the light is low in the pics, but you know how it is in a club. Just had to post a pic or two of some girls so you guys would get off my back.
This week we had to play the Porvoo Butchers. It was an away game on grass and it rained about an hour before the game so everything was wet and the balls were tough to throw. This team's record would put them in the top 5 teams in the league, but we were suppose to beat them since we are in the tops in the rankings as far as records go. Well Marlon still isn't all the way healed so he sat out this game again and is probably not going to play the next 2 weeks as the upcoming opponents records aren't that great. The team just wants Marlon ready for the playoffs and so that is what we are trying to do. Our other starting linebacker was also hurt and didn't play. We are still missing other guys on defense too. Its weird because in Finland, in the summer, I guess everyone gets like a 4 week vacation and so our players are coming and going. Playing when they are here and then when they get back. You have to remember that its a hobby for many of these guys. So our numbers this week were down and our team's "body language" going into the game showed it. We didn't have that fire or that look in the eyes as you would call it.
The other team won the toss and elected to receive. They got the ball and had a long "central like" drive on us and scored. It looked as if it was going to be a long day from the first drive. Then when they kicked off to us, we fumbled the kickoff and they recovered. A few minutes later they scored again. So it was 14-0 before our offense even got on the field. On the next kickoff we got the ball about the 25 or 30 and our offense went out there and on the first play I hit one of our receivers on a post and he ran it in for the TD. Since the other team was a running team the clock had been running a lot and our offense only got 1 play in the first quarter and it was a TD pass. After this it was just who could score the most because we couldn't stop their running game and they couldn't stop our passing game. Since our numbers were down some of our lineman were having to go both ways and so they were getting tired. So before half time they started breaking through our line and kept doing it the rest of the game so I had to scramble a lot (again). This seems to be a trend here, but whatever it takes to get it done. I don't know the stats yet, but I would say this was my most rushing yards this season in one game. I ran for 3 td's and threw 2 td passes and we were lucky to get out of that place with a 42 - 35 win as we scored with a few minutes remaining. Our defense held them on the goal line then we ran the clock out. I also got my first European personal foul (and I think the first one of my life). Early in the game we called a pass play and as I was dropping back I glanced at my Tight End only to notice that their guy tackled him right on the line. I went to the ref and said "Mr. Ref" and he yelled at me "WHAT" and I was like " What????" I couldn't figure out why he was yelling at me. I said " the D-end tackled our guy" and he looked at me and said " Your man did it to himself" . I figured he just couldn't speak english that well or understand me correctly so I just said " whatever " and out came the hanky and minus 15 yards on us because of me. It was ok though cause I threw a Td pass like 3 plays later, but I quit talking and paying that guy any attention since I was on his bad list. I got MVP of the game too.
After the game Marlon and I didn't ride the bus home. We went to Tampere, Finland. Its like the second biggest city in Finland or something. Some of the guys on our team live there and so we stayed with them for the night. We went to some clubs over there and toured the town. It was a nice place and the guys really took care of us and made sure that we didn't have too many girls you know....hahaha, just kidding. It was funny in the club because one guy came up to me and said "hey I saw you on TV last week and I just want to tell you that you are awesome. I really admire your arm." This was kind of weird having someone tell me this, but I just said "kiitos" cause that means thank you. We had a good time in Tampere and you know we sat in a sauna too. We came home today (Sunday) late in the afternoon. I got this one pic of something that was kind of weird. We were driving on the interstate and were coming up to this bridge like structure crossing over the road. As we got closer to it I noticed that there was no road that ran over the bridge, in fact it wasn't a bridge at all. It was a store that took up the whole structure. I guess they wanted to get business from traffic coming from both ways and you could walk all the way through this thing and there was a restaurant in the middle. I've never seen one like it before so I got a pic so you can see it too. What do you think?
On Sunday of this week, I went with Enes to one of his friends house and we grilled out all afternoon. It was fun and relaxing as we had 3 rotations in the sauna and made hamburgers. Then on Monday, we worked out as usual then in the afternoon we went to run at the track. While we were running Marlon pulled his hamstring which was a bad sign for the upcoming game since they were suppose to have the best running backs in the league. Our other linebacker was banged up from last week as well.
Friday, as you know, was July 4th, but there was no fireworks display anywhere to be found. We were telling everyone about it though. I don't think they really cared. This week I went to the movie BASIC and I really liked it. I know it was probably playing at home like 5 months ago or something, but nevertheless if you haven't seen it I recommend you watch it. This week I also finished the book that my preacher gave me at home called "The Spirt Driven Life" by Rick Warren. You all know me and how much I like to read so for me to read a book it must have been pretty interesting...and it was. It only took 40 days and was about 5 to 6 pages a day. The book makes you look at things differently and gives you a different perspective. I also recommend that you check this book out. I ate some different foods this week over here too. I ate some lamb pasta and reindeer pasta.
Saturday evening Marlon and I went to get some food and on the way we saw a woman die. She was an old woman that collapsed right across from the restaurant where we were eating. She just fell to the ground and the paremedics came and did chest compressions, but in the end they just covered her with the blue sheet and that was it. That was the first time that I've have ever witnessed the last seconds of a person's life. Needless to say my apetite was shot. Then when we finally got our food there was a drunk guy who came in the store and was ordering food. When he heard us talking in English it caught his ears. He came and sat down at our table and asked us where we were from and all so we told him. He then proceeded to tell us that he "hated Americans" and that we had no business in Iraq. We realized he was drunk and so we just let him speak his peace. He also told us that "we weren't the war machine in our country and that he had no problem with us, but that he still hated Americans". He shook our hands got his food and left. I really don't think that this guy wanted to do anything because he was a skinny white guy, who was drunk and also just the sight of Marlon is a pretty good deterrent. Needless to say I was glad that Marlon was there.
Our game this week was on Sunday at 6 in the evening in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. We played against the Helsinki Roosters, who are the defending champions. They had a turf field. This game was on TV, I believe on the finnish sports channel or something. Some of the guys are suppose to be recording the game for me so hopefully I'll have a copy to bring home. This was my first time playing a game on Sunday and let me start off by saying "thank God for rib pads". I have never taken so many shots in one game in my life. It was raining before the game so the turf was wet and the balls were a little slick, which is always great for the qbs you know. The other team won the toss and elected to receive. They set the pace when they scored from the first play from scrimmage on a 60 to 70 yard run. I knew at this point that it could be a long day. So then we had offense and started on the 20. On our first play I got flushed right and threw a bomb for a Td, only to get it called back because one of our recievers was on the line and he wasn't suppose to be. The guys were really excited about the play and it would have been a big momentum shifter, but as you can see we had to move backwards 5 yards. This is when they started pounding on me. As I am writing to you right now I feel like a train ran over me. It seemed like our offense was on the field forever, but we kept inching away at them. They were getting a lot of penetration early in the game and I don't think I had my feet set but about for 5 throws the whole day. Every time I released the ball I was getting whacked and I may have gotten up slowly, but I did get up. When we went in for half time it was like 14 - 7 or something. Though we were playing bad we were still in the game and had just missed 2 opportunities at scoring. This was our first actual game with some competition of the year. We played yesterday without 7 players that will be here in a few weeks due to work, vacation, or a hamstring. In the 2nd half my feet really began to hurt me. Since the guy at the post office in America didn't read my address correctly or he didn't know that Finland was in Europe and didn't put it on the package my turf shoes didn't make it here for the game. So I had to wear the size 11 1/2's again....and I wear a 13 just in case you forgot. Having to scramble so much my feet had to work a lot and my toe nails are starting to turn black. One good thing was that they started to get tired in the 2nd half and I got a little more time....say instead of 1 second I got 2. However, I was proud of our guys and especially the lineman because we never gave up and sometimes the defense didn't put us in situations that looked to promising. I thought that was a good sign of our character. We had a lot of lineman going both ways so I know that they were tired and since the rain had now stopped and the sun was back out it was pretty humid.
The offense played better in the second half, but its still a bad sign when your most successful plays are the broken ones, but we kept fighting. By the end of the game I could hardly walk and I was just waiting for the clock to hit :00 so that I could take those shoes off. The final score was 35-28, as we took our first loss of the year. I had my fourth of July celebration over here on their field though dropping bombs everywhere. I was 25 for 50 for 420 yards passing. I threw 4 td passes officially. I threw 3 more that got called back due to penalties ( 2 of which were over 50 yards ) and I had one pass dropped in the end zone. In Finland you can get away with some throws that you normally wouldn't get away with in America so it makes it interesting. Thats 7 td's that they saw and one that they should have seen so they know the writing is on the wall. During the game they had one guy break his arm and another guy tear his achilles tendon. We also had our free safety get hurt in the first half and was out for the rest of the game and our other linebacker got hurt in the second half and was out for the rest of the game. So as you can see our troops were not in full force, but we still made it a game.
As for their running back that gets all the hype... he may be the best running back that we've faced over here, but he would be 3rd string at home. He only has one move and decent speed and runs high. I think Marlon will be dreaming about him now. You could tell they respected our defense cause when he scored he acted like he scored against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or something. I wasn't that impressed with him overall, but he will be the one we have to stop to win the championship. Nobody layed any wood to him, but I think that will change if Marlon's hamstring gets better. The turf did burn me up some and I got some bruises, but I will make it. The game was a 3 hour 15 tv broadcast which I will try to get a copy of and send home. I think we may have a game in the championship.
No pics to post from this game as my camera man is in Washington and New York, but I will have more soon hopefully.
Well this week was pretty much the routine week except we didn't have practice on Wednesday. I got the spider webs out of my head along with the clouds and remembered the plays again. Our practice on Tuesday was not good at all and the offense wasn't clicking that well. On Thursday though we had 35 people at practice and everyone was getting after it and it went well. Marlon, Enes, and I went to the beach over here this week, but this isn't a beach like you are imagining. No waves and not that much sandy beach area, but the girls were still out and a lot of people take their dogs with them to the beach. They do have the volleyball courts though.
The longer I stay here the more eccentric hair cuts and clothing styles I see. This week I saw multi-colored mullets, mohawks, and some sonic the hedgehog resembling hair styles. The girls in the restaurant that we eat in all the time are starting to know what we like to eat now and so they pretty much don't even ask us what we would like, they just make it when we get there and they know what we will drink we like so they make those as well. And yes we get the big glass. Its usually a chicken type pasta or something in that place and the food is pretty good.
I also did have a small outing this week. We went to eat at this restaurant in a small town near to here that is right on the sea (again no waves though) but it was nice. It was a place where the ships dock...kind of, but there were nice restaurants there. On the way I saw the castle that the president of Finland (a woman) lives in during the summer. It was big from a distance. The food was good too. I think I got full, hold on I'm not sure though. Did you know that you are not suppose to eat pizza with your hands? I didn't either, but I was informed and I didn't mind listening to the informant and you wouldn't have either. So going against my nature, I ate pizza with a fork. Don't worry we are still working out in the gym everyday and sitting in sauna's daily. This week we went to a track and ran and threw the ball a little bit. I forgot how good my hands were until these boys challenged me. You know I had to prove them wrong.
In our league there are 2 teams from Helsinki. The Roosters are the defending champions and the other is the Wolverines. We played the Wolverines yesterday and beat them 56 - 8. This was the first time that our defense has been scored on this year. They threw a lucky bomb/hail mary type pass and scored. It was a pretty fun game. I threw 4 official Td's in this game and I don't know about the yardage, but you can check the stats link around Wednesday. I also ran a 2 point conversion on a naked bootleg off of a sweep fake. I did throw one Td pass that got called back because the ref said my knee was on the ground again. It was about 15 yards or something as I was falling. It was a close call but I'm not sure again on this one. Another pass I rolled to the right on was dropped in the end zone and I took a shot on the play, but its ok cause we scored soon after that. We have put in the shot gun this week and it helps me see the field better. Because the linebackers keep trying to blitz us, I put in a screen this week at practice and it worked well in the game once we got everybody on the same page. My neck muscles are sore now from taking some hits yesterday, but I'll just have to get a massage here sometime. The defense had to play a long time yesterday when usually they are on for like 4 to 7 plays and then off. I think it was good for them though. Offensively we played better I thought. We didn't make too many mental errors and had only one offsides penalty. So next week we play against the Helsinki Roosters, the other undefeated team in the league and many say that it will be us versus them in the championship. They supposedly have 2 good running backs, but you know me, coming from Central...I will be a good judge on how good of backs they are. I hope we have the same intensity in practice as we did on Thursday of last week.
So everyone went out Saturday night like always after the games. Once again the guys are nice and really take care of us. Marlon was MIA by this point, but I think he was seduced...not sure though. We went and shot pool, then grabbed some food then went back and fourth from clubs for a little while. I had some girl tell me that she would die for me. She didn't even want to dance, just wanted to compliment me and let me know what she thought. Now there was a slight chance that she was intoxicated, but I'm going to go with my gut feeling and say that she was sober and that she shares the same feelings of many females in this city. I saw a lot of pretty women, even talked to a 33 year old hottie, saw a fight, and talked to a guy who played soccer at USC Spartanburg. He didn't believe where I was from until I showed him my license. They even played against Gardner-Webb in soccer. After I left the club I went and found Enes, who was working at a nearby club as a bouncer and we went and ate Kebabs. At home we would go to waffle house, but here they all go eat Kebabs. It was neat and even though it was like 4 in the morning, it was bright outside. I thought that Rod, Coach Mangum and I were about to go fishing or something...thats what the sky looked like. By the way, those 2 better be practicing up while I'm gone if they want to be on the same level that I'm on when I return. So that was it for this week. We have a big game this coming week and will be able to tell how we stack up against the defending champions this week. It's probably time for me to start washing my clothes.
*(and yes the site went over 1,000 hits this week)
Also BIG PROPS to Andy Polk, (currently on the hill) for dropping bombs on the message board this past week. That was some serious knowledge.
Well this week was our off week for the season. This didn't bother me that bad because obviously it was like a week off. We only had practice one day so that was ok. We did the normal lift weights and sit in the sauna Mon-Wed. Wednesday night we went to a club and saw Miss Finland from last year and yes she was fine standing about eye level to me. However, I wasn't going to let her think that she was good enough for me to talk to or something. She was being harassed enough as it was, but then again..she was fine. I almost witnessed my first Finnish street fight as well. Some drunks where harassing a man at his hamburger stand and he did shove the guy and they were about to get into it, but then the cops came and arrested the drunk man before any dukes were officially thrown.
On Thursday afternoon we left for a town called Pori, which is where my head coach lives. In Finland they have a festival in the summer that is basically called "midnight summer" or something to that effect. Its the day with the longest amount of sunlight and marks the middle of the summer. They say it is tradition to go to people's summer cottages/cabins and celebrate. So on Thursday evening we went to the golf course where they were having a tournament that my coach played in. I don't think he won, but he did beat JP so its all good. After that on Friday we went to the cabin. We had to ride about 20 minutes or so and we were deep in the woods sitting right on the baltic ocean. Now this ocean is not like the ocean that we have at home. I didn't see a beach, but this may have been due to my location. I do know that our water never gets that cold though, specially in the summer. I think they must feed their mosquitos protein powder or something because they are big and they are plentiful. It was a job to keep them off of you, but we did have some OFF with us and a grill going and some candles and things so the combination of smoke and off helped keep them down. And yes, the cabine did have a suana in it. This one was a wood suana though which is a little bit different than an electric suana. They say it is tradition to sit in the suana and then go run and jump in the ocean. Now before I came here one of my friends,(PGA Champion) Paul Tucker gave me some advice. He said "no matter what they tell you, don't jump in the Baltic Ocean". Well sorry Paul, I had to go against his advice and jump into the ocean with the rest of the guys. We sat in the suana for so long that when we came out we were steaming like we were on fire, then we jumped in the ocean and it still took my breathe. I could only stand to be in there for like 25 seconds then I had to get out and go directly back into the suana. What had seemed to be so hot, now seemed nothing. They also brought some leaves in off of this certain type of tree and put them on the rocks of the suana. These leaves gave off a fragrance that opened up your sinuses and smelled like aroma therapy or something. It was pretty neat.
I did go fishing on the Baltic ocean though I didn't catch any fish. This could have been due to several factors. My fishing guide was slack and claimed to know where the fish were. Instead of finding fish, I found water all over my back from the wakes of the waves. I didn't have my own rod and reel, which we all know is crucial and I couldn't feel my fingers for the second half of the trip in the boat. Not to mention that this wasn't one of my frequent fishing holes.
We did get to eat some different things while we were there too. We ate perch, salmon, and heron or something like that and some of these were raw. I had trouble getting some of these raw fish down, but I did try them. You can see the pics for better explanation. We grilled out and ate hot dogs, sausages and everything. The people were all nice and we were always outside doing something or listening to music. There must have been about 15 people in all. Mainly everyone was chilling and relaxing. We did play spades and representing the USA, Marlon and I did win 20 euros off of some Finnish patrons. We were also taught about our government and all of the political issues at hand. After a long day on the ocean here's what JP had to say about one topic Click . I never knew that we, the USA, are wrong in everything that we do, but I was informed of it all day long. Nah, just joking we had a good time though we were outnumbered.
Trying to get to sleep was another battle in itself. Marlon and I both slept with cans of off in our hands, but still suffered bites from these cornfed mosquitos. I tried to cover my body with the blanket , but this just made me hot...so you could see the dilemma. After overcoming the magnified snoring and afer the singing of 2 strangely dressed Finns we were able to sleep for a few hours. We stayed at the cabin for 2 nights.
Well week 3 went by pretty quick, though we did have some things happening around here. We did go lift weights and sit in the suana on Monday through Wednesday which was nice again. I couldn't bend my leg due to the charlie horse so the first few days were pretty tough and I really couldn't do squats, but most of the time I was stretching and doing leg exercises trying to pump some new blood into leg. I did get 2 massages on it and we did go to the The Caribia Spa Hotel and that helped out a little too. By the end of the week I could run and all, but my leg was still tight and sore, but mainly just at the top.
Marlon and I also located the mall in town. It's inside of some buildings just right here in town. The malls here have a different construction type than the malls at home. The ones at home are more roomy and there is more free space. This one has like stores on top of stores. Marlon and I walked through there for a little while one day when we didn't have practice just to see what it was like. It was pretty neat and yes the girls do shop there. As we were walking through the mall one gentelman stopped us and told us that he was on the board of directors for the Trojans and that he wanted to let us know that we played a good game. It was pretty nice of him I thought. Every day Marlon and I go eat at the restaurant Blanko just in case you want to see some pics of it.
Well on Monday the head coach of our team told us that our offensive coordinator would no longer be calling the plays and so that was kind of a twist for the week. We are still using the same terminology, but just signaling the plays different and trying to mix the formations a lot.
This week we played the Vaasa Vikings. This was an away game and it was like 4 1/2 ride to get there. The team we played had a pretty good middle linebacker (his brother is playing at Nebraska now). I got to know him well throughout the day as he flushed me from the pocket very frequently. We beat them like 56-0 as their offense was also lacking. I played the whole game until the 4th quarter when I scrambled right and was running and had a collision with this linebacker and he rung my bell a little bit. I did stay in and finish the drive though and yes we did score. I came out after that as I was a little foggy in some areas. I haven't seen the final stats, but I think I threw 3 td passes. I actually threw 4, but our tight end was having some problems as he fumbled one into the end zone from the one yard line with no one around and I also had a pass dropped in the endzone as well. I didn't feel like I played that well though because I couldn't sit back in the pocket and pick them apart because I was having to roll out of the pocket so much. I did run over a corner back though. That was about all that there was for the game.
On the way home we saw a moose in the road. They have signs everywhere on the roads here saying watch out for a moose crossing the road. I was wondering if we would ever see one of these huge animals and so we finally did see one and man they are big. I wouldn't want to hit one of those in a car at all...because they may would flatten the whole car. So I have been telling you about how the guys drink on the way home and so I got some pics of it so that you can be visually informed. Check these pics out
Well week one is coming to an end already. Today I went to lift weights with my friend Ennis (tight end) and Marlon. Ennis is from Bosnia and last year he played in Italy with former Gamecock Boo Williams. We went to a gym named Sali 82. It is a power lifting gym. It was fun and afterwords we sat in a Finnish sauna. Suanas are a big tradition for this country or something. We went to practice later that day. The coach told me that I would play one quarter at the game. I was ok with this seeing as I had just got here on Tuesday and really don't even know the system that well. Later on that night I got my first finnish massage from a girl on our hall. She just graduated from Massage Therapy School and yes it was nice. The guys here really look after us and are always calling to see if we want to do this or that or go here or there. Since its a little colder over here my sinuses have started acting up and I have the congestion or whatever. I have a small cough, but its getting better. I am learning some finnish too. I know about 10 words now and can convey to the people that I don't speak finnish and a few other key terms and words. They usually already know and can tell by looking at us and they will approach me in English. Finland as a whole is nice. It is cleaner and greener than back at home. More people are outside walking and stuff all the time, but maybe this is because they can only walk in the summer because during the winter it is too cold to leave their houses. I also saw some rabbits over here.....they look like rabbits on steroids or something. They are huge. Some of the guys took me out to a movie tonight. We went and watched The Matrix II. It was an ok movie I guess. Can you believe that the movie theatres over here have assigned seats. Not only that, but the movies were packed as well. They guys won't let me pay for anything either. Well we have our first game tommorrow and it doesn't even seem like game week to me. We'll see how it goes. All I know is that we are leaving at 9 in the morning and its late now so I better go to bed.
Well this was an experience all in itself. First of all let me start off by saying that I've never played on turf this bad before in my life. Tennesee Tech was close, but this beats all. There was no padding underneath the field and the turf had sand all over it, which would cut your skin if you fell on it. I got some turf burn on my elbow. We had about a 5 hour ride north to some town and played a team called the crocodiles. I was a bit nervous, because I knew I would play at least a quarter, but things turned out differently than planned.
Lets start with my equipment. I have some decent shoulder pads and I brought my rib pads. Now my helmet is loose a little bit and my pants don't have a belt so we duct taped them up and I wear a size 13 shoe and during the game I was wearing 11 1/2's so you can imagine how it was. The jerseys and pants we wear have sponsor patches all over them. Kind of like a soccer jersey would look or something. I will try to keep mine so that I will have it for the Turkey Bowl this year.
The older Qb was to start and I was to get a quarter sometime later in the game. Well on the first series he got a neck inury and so I went in second series and played the rest of the game. My first series in on the 3rd play I hit the Tight End down the middle for a touchdown. It felt good to finally have the feeling again, but I must say it was like playin C.A. Johson or something. I ending up throwing 3 TD's on the game. I passed for 243 yards and rushed 4 times for 44 yards and one of these was a sack. I think the guys like me or atleast I try to bring them together and stuff. Sometimes I wonder if they understand me. We won the game 28 to 0, but we should have scored 50 points on them. I was 10 for 20. After the first score I found out that I was also the holder for our team, something that I have never done before either. I held for all of the extra points and we made them all so I guess it was good. I am excited at the outcome of the first game, but I also realize that the competition was not that great and the game does go at a slower level. While we play we have to wear a big A on the back of our helmet so that the ref's will know how many americans are in the game at one time. It was kind of weird. I was also a captain during the game. One time I rolled out and threw the ball towards one of our guys and he couldn't catch it and it hit the referee right smack in the nose. He immediately dropped to his knees. They had to stop the game because the ref got injured, but he came back after about 5 minutes and fnished the game. Everytime I threw a TD pass I gave the lineman a tap on the helment or a five letting them know that they were doing a good job and I think they liked it. You can tell they are expecting me to be a leader and some of the guys on the team even told me that. I hope that I will do good enough to please them, but they seem happy as of now. The coaches told me that I did well for the first game...so I am happy for now. I mean I don't even really know whats going on with the system totally. The other team had a linebacker from Maryland and we talked a little after the game so that was neat. After the game we took showers and sat in the sauna that was in the locker room.
Now the bus ride home was something totally different. We stopped in the town that we were in at a local store and the whole team, including coaches got off of the bus and went into the store and bought loads and loads of beer. I couldn't believe what was going on. I happen to be on the phone with Mr. J.E. and Mrs. Karen Aldridge at the time and was telling them about this. So the whole team, except for Marlon and I got drunk on the way home. We had to stop the bus 3 times so the guys could use the restroom. We would just pull over on the side of the road and the guys would line up and just go right there. I may take my camera on the next game and take a picture of this because it is quite the sight (pictures of the backside only though so don't worry). The guys were singing and talking/yelling the whole way. Marlon had his Cd's on the bus and so we put in a Snoop Dog cd to make the guys be quiet and because we knew they would hate it, but they let it play all the way through.
After all of the stops we finally made it back to Turku. The team was half lit by the time we got here and these guys got off the bus and went straight to the clubs. Marlon and I got a ride back here and cleaned up a little bit then went out with the guys. Once you go downtown people are going every which a way so its hard to keep track of everyone. We got into 3 clubs, for free with no wait so that was nice. Many of the guys on the team are bouncers at the clubs. It's funny to see these people dancing in clubs because they really think that they have it going on, but if you were to see them, you would be asking yourself what in the world they are doing. Its funny to watch them. Just imagine a person catching cramps all over their body is the only way I can describe it. Yesterday was graduation for the whole country of Finland so it was packed. While we were out I met a girl named Maria and she was nice. She speaks 5 languages and is dark headed. There are a million blondes over here. I may just have to see about her. Everyone over here has a cell phone and it is always a Nokia because there is a huge Nokia plant here so of course I got the digits. And that was that for the night.