Meet the 2003 Turku Trojans Sauna Sit off Contest Champion Mr. Marlon Grier
It was a very exciting night in Turku Finland the day that Marlon Grier brought home the victory. After training for 3 months in the sauna Mr. Grier seemed to be ready and his training proved golden. The buildup to the competition was tremendous and it seemed almost Super Bowl like when the contestants entered the sauna at 80 degrees celsius. The sauna was dry upon entering, but the water throwing got started quickly as the Finnish man tried to run Marlon out early, but Marlon withstood the heat. As the heat rose, so did the junk talking and the water throwing. At the most intense moment of the competition the Finn quoted " I'm getting out " and he exited the sauna after a grueling 14 minutes and 20 seconds to the tune of the star spangled banner being sung and the celebration/get hype smack talk of the foreigners. Just standing outside the sauna was enough for me and I couldn't imagine being in there. The Finn mentioned something of misconduct in the sauna along with illegal use of water, but the discrepancies did not matter in the end......the day that Marlon Grier brought home the victory.
When asked about the competition Sepa commented:
" I believe the sauna originated in Finland and I feel it is only right for a Finnish man to win the competition. I feel the pride of my whole nation on my shouders and will do whatever is necessary to bring home the victory. The American stands no chance against me. I will go purchase 4 ciders and then make my way into the sauna and will not come out without a victory"
When asked about the competition Marlon commented:
" I understand that my opponent has a bit more experience in the sauna than I do, however I am a winner and that fact will stand above anything he can bring to the table. After he drinks his ciders he won't be able to take it too long. It's kind of like in the movie ROCKY when Rocky went to Russia and beat the Russian. I think this competition will end up in the same manner. I'm on his turf and he will take the loss."
When asked about a game plan Sepa commented :
My game plan is to get in there and just drink my ciders and watch the American waste away and when he gets out...I will throw one more load of water and get out with a buzz, a smile, and a victory "
When asked about a game plan Marlon commented :
" I'm just going to let him drink his ciders and I will throw water until he throws up. Thats pretty much all there isto it. All I need is my water bottle and I'm fit for victory."
Looking Back When asked to comment on his performance Sipa noted...
" Just like the rapper Nelly said, It was getting hot in here "
When asked to comment on his performance Marlon noted...
" I'm the champion. It went just as I had planned and commented in the early interviews. Just like Rocky I came over here and issued a loss to him on his home turf. I had a strategy, I executed and brought home the gold. This battle was a long, hard fought duel between two very honorable men. It was a give and take battle and I guess I gave more than he could take. He came out the hole strong throwing a lot of water early and I won't lie, it did phase me a little bit, but like always...I came through strong in the 4th quarter and my antics, junk talking, and country pride and that was what showed through in the end. I came, I conquered, I won one championship tonight and still have another one to win.
As for my sauna career I'm throwing in the towel and retiring an early champion. Thanks for all of you who supported me and thanks to my boy Cp for being the only one to support me by betting on me. I would like to take this time to give a shout out to my mama. "
So Marlon what do you plan to do now as sauna champion...
I'm going to Disney World...
Well this was officially my last week here. It is starting to get pretty cold here too. I could no longer sleep with my window open. I was in long pants and hooded sweat shirts every day here. Everyday I was telling Marlon..." this is your last tuesday, wednesday...etc " because it seems like its been a while. I also took an hour and a half tour of the castle that I earlier visited. You could really get lost in there.
So if you are reading this then you probably want to know about the game. Well this week we played the Finnish National Championship game in Helsinki vs the Helsinki Roosters. Our guys had lost to the Roosters 7 years straight and were kind of psyched out for the game. All this week we scouted their film and we stayed up til like 3 am one night breaking down their schemes. We pretty much knew what they were going to do, we just had to see how they blocked it and had to narrow down their tendencies.
So the game was a long hard fought battle. Defense shut down the roosters running game and so they had to resort to passing, which didn't work. The first quarter went by quickly as they were running all day. Then in the second quarter my boy Rio took a kick off back about 90 some yards for a td and got us some momentum. I can't remember what quarter it was but I did throw one Td pass, putting me at 38 Td passes and no interceptions for the whole season. We were up like 14 to 3 going into half time. The second half we scored, maybe it was the pass but we scored and then they were down 21-3 for the whole third quarter. Then we were playing ball control the whole fourth quarter and trying to run out the clock. They got the balls and kicked a field goal then on side kicked it and got it, and then scored, but by this point all we had to do was to get a first down and run the clock out. So we ran qb follows and the clock went out and so finally after about 9 silver medals the Trojans have been crowned with their first Gold medal and Maple Championship trophy. All game they were late hitting me and trying to talk junk to me to get me thrown out. I did pimp slap one guy in the pile and the referee got on me about it. So the defense bent, but didn't break and that was the key to the game. The leagues leading rusher was shut down and this is a credit to our whole defense.
After the game I was getting interviewed by the tv guys and so that was pretty neat. I gave all the credit to God and to the rest of the team because I couldn't have done any of it by myself...as I told the reporter. I did have some females yelling Clinton, Clinton, Clinton ...and all that so you know. The most rewarding part for me was to see these guys on our team that have played for so many years and not received the gold finally get it. Some were laughing, some crying, some didn't really know how to act. It was kind of weird. So that made me feel good that I could be on the team that did it. The guys were all telling me that I really didn't understand how great this was and that the monkey was off of their back now. After the game they gave me the MVP trophy, but I didn't go get it because 1.) I was doing an interview and 2.) because I couldn't understand what he was saying in Finnish. However, I didn't deserve the MVP of the game so I gave it to Rio because he had a kickoff return for a TD as well as an interception and his play on the field wasn't as crucial as what he did off the field. He was the main reason that the defense succeeded so much because he had them scouted to the T. So we got gold medals and championship hats. The Helsinki team didn't even stay on the field while we received our medals. I guess they were still in shock as many of the guys on our team were. After my shock and awe campaign the last time in Helsinki (where I dropped 7 td passes ) they had signed to US defensive backs to try to slow our passing attack down and they didn't blitz as much so they were trying to sit back and make me pick them apart....so I did throw somewhat, but I just checked to runs. There coach was calling our defense over rated and stuff all week so I think some of the guys felt good about the victory.
I won't even get into the ride home. I will just tell you that we listend to " we are the Champions" a million times. I'm typing to you now and all of the guys are waiting for me downtown so I must go. I will post again tommorrow so if you are reading and care, I will be home on Tuesday with another gold medal. And in the words of Coach Al Usher back in
1997 ....IT'S TIME TO GO STRUT, so that I must do.
PS: I was also in some sports magazine over here. I will try to get some copies of it and will bring them home. It just has some pictures of me in it and I will try to get a translation of it so that I can understand.
While I was in Finland there were two sites that kept track of the stats. However, since then one has gone away. See more stats from the League's site.
The first part of this week was dedicated to trying to regain feeling in my shoulder and collar bone. Then on Wednesday our tour guide actually did take us to the Vasa Museum. I liked this museum more so than the military museum of Sweden and I wish I would have taken the camera because I could have taken some good pictures. The Vasa Museum is a museum dedicated to the pride of the Swedish fleet. The ship was pretty big and they had it displayed well as the building was constructed so you could see every level of the ship. They had videos and tours frequently that you could watch in English so I was able to understand some stuff about it and obviously everything I didn't understand Mario explained it for me...lol. The museum was like in low light because they said it helps preserve the ship and there were also a lot of Chinese people in the museum speaking that stuff they speak. The tour guide said that it took 2 1/2 years to build the ship and then it sank in the first 20 minutes out at sea. He said that there were several reasons for it sinking such as; it was too tall and narrow, not enough weight in the bottom (ballast) and there was more ship out of the water than underwater. The carpentry on the boat was really good. They had all of these intricate carvings all over the boat. He also said that the king was wanting it to be the best ship and all so he kept adding things and making changes while they were building it so that threw them off a little bit. I think the ship had everything perfect except to the point about making sure it would float. I thought it was neat to see how they got the ship out of the water to get it into the museum. They had divers go down there and dig holes under the ship and run ropes under it then they positioned all these ships and barges and flotation devices around it and moved it underwater to a more shallow area and then they hoisted it out of the water very slowly. It seemed to be a very in depth process and was also a dirty job from seeing the video. Putting all the pieces back together on the ship took a while and so they said that the " Vasa " is known as the largest jigsaw puzzle in the world. This ship was suppose to take part in the war against Poland. If you want to know more about our tour and all that then you can email Mario at mariodonato[@]hotmail.com and he will give you a wealth of knowledge. Once again Mario did not let a sign go unread. It must have cost a lot to bring the ship out and have it on display as they charge you 4 dollars an hour just for parking. On a side note I did play a game in Finland in a town called Vaasa if that means anything. haha. On Wednesday night Håkan and his lady had us over to eat again and I got the honor of cooking the desert, which I might add was a once a year delicacy. I told him that he's lucky we are leaving or we could make this a once a week tradition. lol. We had lasagna and salad and again left on a full stomach so that was a relaxing evening. Then on Thursday I couldn't resist it any longer and the opportunity presented itself so we had the shot and we took it even though we proceeded below the hard deck level. On Thursday afternoon we set out on the Silja line to Finland with our offensive coordinator Coach Wikstrom. The Trojans played the Roosters in the championship game again so it was only right that we spend a few days in Turku and be present for this spectacle. This is a picture of the boat what we traveled on. Here are some specs from the boat in case you are a detail freak: Passengers 2,852, Cabins 985, stories 12, Conference rooms 25, Bars 7, Restaurants 6, Shops 6, Sauna and Relax, Solarium, Etc etc...Length 203 m, Width 31.5 m, Power 44,000 hp An interior design of the boat is below ...
So as you can tell we were roughing it on the way to Finland. This was my first time on any type of cruise ship. Most of the time it's me and Coach Mangum in the John boat, but this was a little different. We left Stockholm around 3 pm on Thursday and landed in Helstinky at 10 am the next morning. Note there was a time change. The atmosphere on the ship was pretty neat. When we first got onto the ship we went to our rooms, dropped the luggage off, and then proceeded downstairs to the promenade to make arrangements to eat. After we had reserved a time to eat then we went out on the back of the ship to the stern ( if you look on the layout we were looking from the deck at Joe's Bar ) for the takeoff and it was neat to feel the big engines start cranking. After that we went and ate this huge buffet that they have on board the boat. We ate regular food and some oddities that we ate were like octopus rings, herring every way you could possibly cook it, salmon, and reindeer stew. After we ate we walked around the boat and looked around it some and then talked on the deck until the sun went down. Coach was taking pictures during the whole evening so it was pretty cool because we have a lot of pics on the site today. After the sun went down we went and watched some karaoke up on the stardust lounge and you could definitely tell when a Finnish song was playing versus a Swedish song. Then after this at 12 we went and saw the nightly show that they have on board. After the show we went up and went to sleep and when we woke up we were at the port in Helsinki. Below I have posted pictures from the trip over and pictures from inside the ship so you can get a feel for what it looked like.
One hand for Sweden , One hand for Finland
This Russian lady sang some karaoke
A dance on the cruise ship
Now let me back up and tell you that when I found out that there was a possibility to go to Finland I sent out a blanket email to like 8 people in Turku. Within 10 minutes we already had a hotel room reserved for us in downtown Turku and by the next day we had like 6 offers to put Mario and me up for 2 days. So a big thanks to Mr. Patrick ( HomeAmerican ) Morton for taking extremely good care of us while we were there. I think that just goes to show how nice the guys in Turku are and now you can understand why I'm always pumping up Turku at home. So you may be asking yourself..." wasn't Clint banned from Finland "...well that is a good question that I was worried about as well. However there was no passport control on the ships in between Sweden and Finland so we were able to ride right on. I say ride right on because that's what we did. Our offensive coordinator is from Finland and so when he goes on the ship he takes his car and then drives it right out when he arrives in Finland. It was kind of weird to ride a car onto a huge cruise ship, but that's how we got on. They have these huge doors that open up and you can drive right in. I got a pic of the car docks as well. I think they also ship goods back and fourth as there were also tour busses and transport trucks parked in the bay.
We parked underneath the ship
And for all of you who are wondering....no I did not tell Frank or Frances Patterson of our adventure. It was better that they not worry. We got into Hestinky and Coach Wikstrom drove us around for a little bit and we even revisited the Veladrome, where we took the crown last year. We were the only people there so it was weird and talk about De-ja-vu. The whole weekend was this way as I was going and visiting places that I thought I would never ever see again in my life. Many of the places had stayed the same, but some things had changed. So after this we went and had lunch with the president of the Finnish American Football Federation, as he and Coach are friends. This guy's name is on the official league ball that they play with in Finland. So that was neat. None other than Mika Sevon was contacted and it just happened that he was in town doing business so we waited on him to get through then caught a ride back to Turku with the oldest living active player in Finnish football history. For me this was another de-ja-vu thing because last year when I first arrived in Finland it was Sevon who picked me up from the airport and on the way to Turku we stopped at his house and met his wife and she walked out on the porch and said hello and she had a baby in her arms. Well sure enough we pulled up and she walked out on the porch and said hello and had another baby in her arms. It was beginning to seem like a flashback at this point. The only difference was that instead of saying " Its good to meet you " ...she said " Its good to meet you again ". So Mario got to know the one and only Mika Sevon on his first day in Finland and now Mario is the 2nd member of the Mika Sevon international fan club ( as I am acting president and founder ). So Sevoni dropped us off at the hotel in downtown Turku. We checked into the hotel and then I began to show the city to Mario. I knew once it turned night that I would be able to find some of my friends from last year working at the doors of the clubs. I had planned on sending them text messages when I got there, but go figure that an Ericcson ( Swedish ) pre-paid phone wouldn't let me do that on a Finnish network. So I couldn't get in touch with my friends through my phone. We went and ate a pizza buffet at Rax which is a historical spot for Marlon and I because it was the only buffet in Turku. After we ate we went back to the hotel for a bit and watched the massacre that was going on in Russia. Those guys are really crazy over there. Then it was night time and we did indeed walk the streets and I bumped into like 5 people that I knew that were still working at the same places. None of the players were out that evening due to it being the night before the championship. We got up with my boy Enes at a club called Kåren. It was good to see Enes again as he was one of the guys who really took care of me and Marlon last year. He was working at some international university's welcome back party and of course we were up in there. Man they had all kind of nationalities in there and you could see which countries/people groups had rhythm and which ones didn't. After he got off from there we went to another place. I think they had dedicated a club to Marlon as the name of this club was called " The Giggling Marlin " ...lol. After this we were heading back to the hotel and I had to eat just one more He'sburger before I died. I also got Mario to eat one too. Below are pictures from that day in Turku and some will be pointless to many of you, but for Marlon it will be neat to see so just bare with us.
Me in front of Prima
The Street next to the Prima
Mario at the team bar
Mario by the main river in Turku
The square in downtown Turku
Now on Saturday morning we woke up and ate the breakfast buffet and then headed to meet the bus to the game. We rode with Patrick and his family, the president of the team, and the cheerleaders to the game. It was a neat ride and we even stopped at the restaurant that we always stopped at when we were going to play the Roosters so once again de-ja-vu. I talked with some of the cheerleaders that I remembered from last year so that was kind of neat. Every one was asking me about Sweden and this season and my experiences over here. I felt like I said the same things like a million times, but it was all in good intentions. So it was Saturday and we were on the way to the game. When we arrived they were in warm ups and upon entering the stadium I began to see fans, friends, players wives, and player's girlfriends that I remembered from last year so it was good to see them all again. I even signed 4 footballs and 1 t-shirt for some fans and every time that happens I can hardly take myself serious. I'm just cheesing from ear to ear trying to act like calm, cool and collective or whatever. They were even giving out these papers at the game with my picture on them. Watching the game was once again odd for me as I felt like I had just graduated and was back at Central High watching my former classmates play again. The game was a pretty good game, but you could tell that a lot of the guys that had retired were on defense and mainly the defensive line. The team had also lost a lot of people to injuries this season as well. The score was 28 - 21 going into the half and I think the final score was like 49 - 28. After the game I got to talk with Brett (the Qb the Trojans had this year) again for a minute. So we had seen each other in Stockholm and now in Helsinki. I felt that he played really well and did as good as one could possibly do given the cards he was dealt so that is what I told him. The injured players on offense and defense had a pretty big effect on the team I think. I know that they had a starting TE, WR, and LB that didn't play. So the Turku Trojans did not repeat despite a valiant effort, but nonetheless Mika Sevon was 4 - 4 on extra points and thus the legacy continues. After the game I got pictures with some of the guys and talked with them again. I surprised myself by remembering all of their names without even hesitating. Also I don't know if it was something in the water, but many of the players wives were pregnant. Maybe it was post championship happiness that led to it from last year, but either way we sat in the pregnant wives section during the game...lol. Below are some pictures from before and after the game.
Me and the Findland fellas (Enes, Suopa, & Sami)
Me and the Findland fellas II (Mika Sevon, Juka Satola, Mikka Riionhemo, & Kim Gronlund)
At the championship game they gave out newspapers and I was on the cover... it was like dejavu
Once we got back into Turku we went over to Patrick ( HomeAmerican ) Morton's house and ate pizza for a bit while we waited on the team to get back into town. All of the players said that they were going to the Olkku which is like the team gathering place in Turku. We then met the team at the Olkku and it was good to see the guys again all at the same time. I even took a few snaps with Kimi (my center from last year). After some time there we left and went to the Giggling Marlin again. From talking with a lot of the people at the game and on the team I believe that there are more people in Finland that read my web page over here than people in Sweden. After the Gigglin Marlin we went caught a " black " taxi and stayed the night at my ex-o-coordinator's house. Mario got to meet a lot of the guys during this time and he and Harry P. Haatsa Malkimaki bonded over 70's & 80's music. Here are some pictures from that.
Proof that we were indeed in Finland... this guy was struggling
We got like 3 hours of sleep and then chef Malkimaki made us a gourmet, sit down, table properly set meal. Mario and I even caught a quick Finnish Sauna ( Mario's first genuine Finnish sauna experience ) and then got a taxi into town so that we could catch the bus back to Helsinki again. We made the bus by 5 minutes and were on our way back to meet Coach Wikstrom so we could get on the boat in time. We got off the bus at the wrong stop of course so we decided to take some pictures in front of the parliament building while Coach had to come rescue us. Of course Mario made me take some random pictures of statues for historical purposes I guess. Here are those pictures.
Me at the Parliament building in Helsinki
Mario at the Parliament
So we got up with Coach and then were on our way to reboard the ship. We stopped and took a few pictures around a port in Helsinki and coach also took some pictures from the the boat on the way back. Coach Wikstrom's below pictures are also available in a high resolution format at this link. You can even have them printed and buy them from that site as well (in case you cared). As we were leaving Helsinki we could see the Islands called the archipelago on the way out. Some of these still had military remains on them and one of them even has the only submarine that belongs to Finland in the picture (Rumor has it that it doesn't work). Check them out.
So we had arranged for the same buffet and we ate it up again and then after that we were all exhausted. Mario and I were running on empty and Coach Wikstrom said that he didn't get too much sleep in Helsinki either... something about a championship or something, but anyways we went back to our room and we all just knocked out. We slept for about 4 hours then woke up and went out on the deck again for some fresh air after which we returned back to the room and went to sleep again. We woke up in Stockholm the following morning and now we are back in Tyreso. This weekend was definitely a memorable one for me as well as Mario and the whole thing seemed surreal the way it all worked out. I think we stayed just long enough for Mario to not be able to make me go to another museum so that was good. Over the weekend I recognized that I can now pick out the different languages of Swedish and Finnish. Usually in the past I couldn't tell what they were speaking, but I just knew that it was foreign to me, but now I can definitely tell what language is being spoken when I hear it. I also got my brain scrambled with languages a few times too. I can only say and know a few words, phrases, and the numbers, but just going back to Finland threw me for a loop in the beginning. I was hearing Finnish and responding in Swedish subconsciously and vice versa. For a brief moment ( in McDonalds ) I couldn't draw the line on what words were from what country, but I got it straight after a little while. I was speaking a salad of languages and only got laughed at. I can still speak more Finnish than Swedish and this is probably due to 2 reasons; time spent in Finland was longer and more people in Sweden speak English. This weekend would not have been anywhere near possible if it wasn't for the generosity and kindness of many individuals. So its only correct that Mario and I say a huge thanks to Coack Wikstrom, Patrick Morton, Haatsa, Sevon, and all the guys in Turku and Helsinki that took extremely good care of us and made it all possible. It was definitely a trip to remember. We were there for 3 days and we went back and fourth from Turku to Helsinki once each day so it was all a whirlwind. As I have previously mentioned I was nominated for the " Import of the Year " award in our league in Sweden. Well needless to say I missed the banquet. I mean I normally wouldn't miss a function like that, but for a chance to do what all we did I would do it again without thinking twice. Turns out that it wasn't that bad anyways because I didn't win the award. I came in 2nd in votes and some people have informed me that going home in the middle of the season didn't help in winning so I can't complain. So thanks again to everyone. Off into the sunset.....Somebody say Denmark ?
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 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.