It's always weird to write the conclusion to my journeys because I am happy to return home yet sad to leave my newfound friends and experiences and sometimes its almost like I have a double life going on here. I would like to say thank you to all the guys on the team and specially the guys in Tyreso who took care of me (and Mario) and made the experience worth while. Just as in Finland, I have many memories from Sweden that I don't think I'll soon be forgetting. I now have a better understanding of the undying love relationship between Finland and Sweden and I have seen it and heard about it from both sides of the fence. This year, just as last year, I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet many new people and to experience a different part of the world for a few months and for that I am grateful. One thing that is neat about going and playing football in a different country is that you are not there as a tourist the whole time, nor as a football player 100% of the time. You get to do a lot of both so I get to see things that someone on a tourist vacation doesn't (along with getting hit a few times every now and then). I get into the daily grind and see the lifestyles and culture of wherever I happen to be. This is very interesting to me. I get to see what makes the people tick. For a short period I get to be part of their life. This is a special opportunity that not many people get so though I act the fool a lot of the time I am constantly picking up on things about other cultures and layouts of McDonald's all across the world. Another thing that is also neat to be able to experience is the fact that no matter where I come from or what I stand for and believe in ... that for a brief moment the cultural views, indifferences, and disagreements can all be let down and a group of people can put it all aside, come together, and try to achieve a goal. For me football is the means to do this. I think this tells a lot about the sport and a lot about the people who play the sport. So far, no matter where I've been or on what level I've played on this has been possible. Even complete strangers from other sides of the world can meet and form a team and make bonds that run deeper than a normal friendship and this is done in order to play the game. It's about going through things together; a practice, a game, a season, a summer, ... a museum... that creates those bonds that are unbreakable. Many people who don't play the game often don't understand this. The bonds that you make during this time are the bonds that in 2 years will have someone calling me saying " hey guess who'll be in visiting from Stockholm or from Finland at your house next month ". Many times people went out of there way to make sure we had what we needed and that we were always taken care of when they really didn't have to. Sometimes I have even thought to myself " I don't even know if I would have done that for some foreigner if he was in America " and these kind of things make me appreciative of the heart and kindness that many of the guys in Finland and Sweden have shown to me. Thus, though we did not win the championship this season does not mean that the season was not a success both on the field and off the field. It just depends on how you define success. And I would never have thought that a little brown ball would have led to me writing all of this. Now the question is will I be writing any more of these....that's why the story is ... " To be continued ..." PS: Hasse & Mario...sorry I didn't get to say goodbye before we left, but I was running around like crazy the last few days, but don't let that make you think I love you any less. And somebody tell Oliver that his Rum Coke Roll Up hat is in the clubhouse in my room before Rauge steals it. Tack su micke Stockholm, Cp & Mario
Well now that this is all over and we are heading back to the US soon so I guess I better round my web page up. When I first came here I didn't know what to expect, but the guys on the team made the transition easy. I would like to give some special shout outs to Enes, Rio, and Mikko for taking care of Marlon and me many times when it was out of the way for them.
During my time over here I have definitely seen some things that I would not have had the chance to see at home. Does that mean I'm cultured? No matter what was going on we were always cracking jokes and having a good time.
It's weird how things get sometimes when you are isolated from all the people you've known your whole life, all the food you are use to eating, the music you are use to hearing, the language you are use to hearing others communicate in, and even the small things down to the signs that you are use to seeing. It's just you and...you. I believe things happen for a reason though and I think that God allowed me to come here for several reasons. Who knows what would have happened if I had ended up in the town of Pori. Many times I had a lot of time to myself and I even read the same book twice, when I wasn't surfing the net. That was " The Purpose Driven Life " by Rick Warren and if you haven't read it then you should. It will make you look at things very differently. When you are isolated like that you find out whats important to you and find out which friends will keep in touch. Marlon and I have also always had our needs met and have never lacked anything. We may not have liked how the food tasted, but it was food. I have my faith in Jesus above and he protected us and kept us safe and content while we were here and so I'm thankful. I would have never thought that I would come here and win the national championship and set the national td pass record and not ever throw an interception and have the type statistics that I ended up with. If you would have told me that before I came I would have told you that you were crazy. However, I can't take all the credit because I had the best core group of receivers in the league and the line was getting it together by the end of the season. Is this where I give a shout out to my Offensive cooridnators P. Haatsa and Ninikowsky? hahaha, no seriously Haatsa and Ninikowsky helped me out a lot and made it easier to understand what was going on, not to mention the millions of heart to hearts that haatsa gave me. So I think the trip here was a divine appointment and I'm glad that I caught the plane or I would have missed out on several things as you can see.
So during 3 months USA has captured the national title in Spades ( a card game), Dart throwing, Sauna sitting, & Football, while Finland only won one title which was in beer drinking.
I'm going back now and will try to get on a team somewhere. Hopefully something will work out, but if not life will go on. If for some reason there are some tailbans on the plane just know that I will die before the plane goes down cause Marlon and I will try to re-takeover the plane. If any of you would like to get in touch with me then you can email me at luqb[at]hotmail.com. Also with the financial aid of Mikko Virolainen I'm thinking of starting the first He'sburger in the US. He promised me that if we won the championship that he would do it, so now he has to be a man of his word. If you want to get in on it then send me an email and some Euros.
Thanks to all of you at home that emailed, called, sent packages and did anything to encourage me over here and thanks to all of the people over here that looked out for us during our time here. Keep in touch and go Trojans. It was a great summer to be a Trojan and I never got to ride the " Queen of Pori ".