Clint Patterson's Blog

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Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here


The First Days

Day 1

Well I must say that after the flight over and all of the arriving hassles I did get some sleep though it doesn't really get that dark at night. It is cold here too. It has to be cold for me to be getting cold and these people are over here riding around with the tops down on the convertibles. Its like 11 o'clock at night right now but the sun looks like it is 6 o clock in the evening. The town I'm staying in is nice and up to date technology wise. When we got to my room I met our neighbors that my new friend Marlon had already been getting to know. They seem to be nice girls and they came over to make sure that I had everything that I needed. They gave me food and were nice. It isnt bad that one of them just graduated from massage therapy school. And yes they both speak spanish due to spending time in Spain...so yeah I can hablar with them.

The place I stay in is downtown on the second level of some buildings. Its on top of some stores, one of which is a bar/pub so its pretty neat. I have never lived like that before, but I can get to things pretty quick if I need to. The room itself is small, but is also liveable (check out the video). Ya'll know me and as long as I have the internet then I'm fine. Well I have the high speed connection in here. I also have a Tv with cable, a bathroom, shower, microwave and bed. So I have everything I need. I can stand up with my arms spread and touch the walls on each side of the room.

One thing that is weard about the people here is that they dip tobacco, but they don't put it in their bottom lip. They put it in their top lip. I'm going to get a picture of one of them while they do it just so you can see how weard it looks. Thats all for today. I have to go to some kind of function that the team puts on for the kids tommorrow for publicity and then, meet with the offensive coordinator, then have practice in the afternoon. I will let you know how it all goes when its over. I really hope that my luggage gets here tommorrow like they have said.

 

Day 2 (The First Practice)

Today I had to get up at like 7:30 in the morning. We then went to our home field and had an exhibition like demonstration for the kids. These kids were like in high school and middle school. There were a bunch of them...enough to pack a stadium infield. I have never done something like that before, but it was ok. There was also something funny going on there which I did capture on video. There was a guy there with a dildo who was teaching the youngsters how do put on a condom. He was letting the boys and girls do this. I couldn't believe it, but they said that this was normal. I will put the video online so you can see this. I was about to die laughing at this, but I guess its a cultural thing. There were a bunch of tents there also.

At this point I was informed that my luggage had arrived. I was happy with this and so the coach brought it to me. However, the lock was missing from my bags. I looked through my bag and cannot find anything missing, but someone did take my lock. Maybe this was due to me not knowing how to set the combination. I have all of my clothes and stuff though so I'm ok. After that Marlon and I went to meet with the offensive coordinator and we met for 2 hours and went over the plays and then had lunch in a hotel. I was so tired at this point cause it would be like 3 in the morning or something over at our place that I had a headache and had to take a nap. I took a 2 hour nap and got some rest. The sun was out the whole time which made it difficult to rest well, but it felt good to sleep.  

So now I had to go to my first practice knowing only half of the plays and stuff. I did get a majority of the reps today too. I think this is because they want me to learn it quickly. I understand the concepts and it is nothing that I haven't seen. I just have to learn the terminology and remember the plays and then have to figure out what the coach is trying to tell me. Sometimes they use different words than we do for routes or coverages. I did do well today though as far as throwing the ball and stuff. Some of the guys weren't use to "the heat" and not use to "the bomb". After the practice I was talking with the head coach and it was kind of funny. He came up to me and asked me "if I had gotten any sex yet" and I looked him in the eye and told him..."coach I came here to play ball and win games" and he looked me dead in the face and laughed. So you can see the difference in culture here. He also told the team that Marlon and I had changed the sex life for the whole team since we were now here. Assuming that the guys had harder chances to get girls now that we were here.

After practice Marlon and I came back here and showered then went to eat at the place where we get free meals. Tommorrow is a national holiday so you can imagine how many people were out. There were people all over the streets. There is a river that runs through the middle of this town and that is where all of the restuarants/clubs and stuff are. While we were there you could definitely tell that people were recognizing that we are americans and stuff. They were staring and stuff like that. After our meal we came back and chilled out for a bit. since my luggage had arrived, I began unpacking it. Then Marlon told me that some of the guys were going to take us out tonight. Well I couldn't tell them no, so I went with them. We went to a restaurant and by the time we got there 11:30 at night all of the people were wasted. These old women were coming up to us hovering all over us and stuff. It was very awkward, but I just went with the flow. Then we went to a club (Prima), and got in VIP because one of our friends knew the guys at the place and it was nice. He knows the owner so we met him and talked for a bit. This was a younger crowd and you could also tell that they knew that we were Americans. I was scooped up by a girl and taken to dance within an hour. I went to dance to a Bon Jovi song so you can imagine how the steps were. I didnt know how to dance and the girl was laughing at me most of the time. After this the guys and I talked about football and they asked me questions about everything and we got to know each other. It was a pretty good night. These girls over here are more blunt and don't mind staring or letting you know that they are interested in you. As we were walking I had one girl slap me in the chest with her pocketbook while we were going and said something in Finnish to me...my friends said that she said I looked good, but I've never had an encounter like this and I was ready to fight her, but they told me that she was flirting. At 4 in the morning, which is now...we came home. It is bright outside and I dont feel like it is 4 in the morning. I still have my clock set on my laptop to American time and it is 9:38 at night. I have to get my hours straight soon or I'm going to be in trouble. The guys are really taking care of us over here so its pretty nice. They understand that American football is ahead of them, but they don't have a problem with it and they will even ask you to help them out on some things. So there is no like racism or hatred that I have encountered yet. They wont let me pay for anything and come by and pick us up whenever they are going somewhere. I guess I should go to sleep now, but I'm not tired. I have another meeting with the offensive coordinator tommorrow to go over some things. I understand the playbook and concepts, just have memorize the stuff and I will be ok. We have our first game on this Saturday and I think that they will stick me in there so we will see. I still laugh at these guys putting the dip in their upperlips. I will be posting the videos hopefully and the pics soon.

I hope all of you are doing well,

Clint


The Flight Over
Well this is my first entry and I must say it was an eventful trip just to get here. When I went to the Charlotte airport in the morning the first problem that I had was that the team paid for my tickets in Euros, which messed up the woman at the counter. After 20 minutes of her trying to get that straight the computer would not accept my seat #...it turned out she was entering invalid codes into the computer and she had to call a superior to tell her what she needed to do. After she got that fixed it was time to weigh in my bags. Being that I had to pack for 3 months my luggage was 5 lbs over weight in one suitcase. She said pay 80 dollars or redistribute the weight. So you can see Pat and I unpacking all my stuff and trying to cram it into the other luggage in front of everyone. It was great to have to do this and have everyone thinking we were idiots. This whole process took about 40 minutes.
 
After I finally got through with her it was time to go through the scanners. I had to first re-open my carry on to take out my lap top computer. When I did this I noticed that while redistributing the weight in my bags that Pat had put my razors and blades into my carry on. You can imagine how this went over with the people at the counter. When I showed those guys my ticket he handed me a red card and told me that the airline had chosen me to be further screened and questioned. I guess this is do to me traveling a lot in the past few years. Lets not forget that I am the international man of mystery.
 
Then to Baltimore and had a 10 hour lay over which was lovely. Though I did get bumped up to club because I sweet talked the lady at the desk in baltimore. I did watch my personal DVD player and watch Tv and keep track of where we were by the gps system, but I missed some of these options because I was kicked back in my recliner knocked out. It was already starting to mess with me as I was ready to go to bed and looked out my window only to see sunlight. They fed us the whole time and that may be the most food I've ever had on an airplane in my life. Upon arriving to London I only had a 2 hour wait this time before my plane left so it wasn't that bad. They did have signs posted everywhere about "If you have recently been here or here or here then you may have SARS". They were telling people to go to the doctor and stay at home if they visited China. I did spot a few hotties in London and got to quickly check my email for free. That place is like a shopping mall on the inside. There are definitely some different people in this world I will say. If I would have had some Euros then I would have eaten, but since I was still full from the flight and since the layover wasn't long....I didn't eat. 
 
On the flight to Hellsinki (Finland's capital) I slept the whole way and only drank some water. I guess this is due to the jet lag. When I arrived here I had to go through customs which wasn't that bad. Now when I was waiting on my bags to come through I heard someone saying something over the intercom and it was a lady trying to say "Will the passenger Patterson please come to the desk". I couldn't really pick up on it due to her accent. I went over there and she informed me that my bags were still in London. You can imagine how thrilled I was at this. That made 2 times that this had happened to me and the first time it was in Costa Rica where they stold a lot of the stuff out of my bags. So I was like 30 minutes late getting outside because I had to give the woman all my information and such. When I walked out there I was just looking for anyone to be coming toward me. Finally a skinny guy smoking a cigarrette walked over and said "Clint" and I knew I was ok at this point. We had like a 1:40 minute ride over to Turku, which is where I am now. I went straight to practice when we got here. The team practices in a dome with turf. The turf is outdated as well. They actually have some big guys. I will fill you in on them more later. After that coach took me to the grocery store and I bought some groceries because the "money man" as they call him was at practice and paid me half of my first payment. Then I went to my apartment which I will talk about later. I have to go to practice now because it is like 11:05 where you are, but 6:05 here and practice is at 7. I will keep posting entries if you care to read them.
 
Regards,
 
Clint

Finland 2003
  My Finnish Player Card
  My Finnish Player Card
In 2003, I graduated on May 12 and landed in Finland on May 26.  I did not know what to expect other than to see a new place and to play football again.  I ended up learning a lot, meeting new people and making friends, having a great season with a great team, and had an overall awesome experience. 
 
While I was there I wrote journal entries on my web site.  Essentially I was blogging before there was blogging (or at least before I knew about it).  I hand coded some basic HTML pages so that I could post pictures and text for all back home to see.  This was before I had FrontPage, much less DreamWeaver.  Anyway, I did what I could with the little web knowledge that I had. 
 
When people around the city and league caught wind of my online journaling, they took interest in it and posted my web site's link in the league's forum and I even got asked about it during a TV interview before a playoff game.  I also, had a school teacher email me wanting to use my journals as a resource for her kids when they studied "culture shock".  So it turned out to be a pretty fun time all around and I got about 9,000 hits during the season.
 
Since then I have revamped my web page, but I have moved the content to my new server in hopes of retaining the memories.  The journals and images are here if you would like to know more.
 
Jyvva Suomi!  Kiittos :)

Clint Patterson

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