This week was a pretty good one. On Monday we ran and lifted as usual. Since I had the camera I took some pictures of the buses & subways that we ride and just random pictures to give you a feel for what we are seeing on a daily basis.
We were riding a boat to get to the Vasa Museum and it was pretty neat because our bus passes also work on the boats as well. So I was able to get some good pics off the boat. You will see pictures from a Theme park called Gröna Lund. Now they have a drop zone which I also got pictures of, that makes the drop zone at Carowinds look like child's play.
So you see we were on our way to tour the Vasa museum. This is a museum of a sunken ship that was recently recovered off the coast of Sweden. We " almost " toured it as our ultimate guide was confused about the time that the museum was open (we are still planning on going back). However this is what the museum looks like from the outside and here's a picture of Mario and our unnamed ultimate tour guides (Oliver & Chief) pointing towards the sign. * Names have been altered for personal protection due to disgrace of being Swedish and not being able to read Swedish times
Since we were downtown and the museum was closed we figured we'd walk into town and mess around for a little bit. While we were walking I got more pics of the scenery.
So that was Monday and was the day that I went crazy with the camera, thus all the pictures. Monday night when I got back I noticed that some Spanish guy had added me to his buddy list on MSN. I began speaking Spanish, but no one responded as it was kind of late when I authorized access on the buddy list. That was kind of strange then on Tuesday morning before we went to run I received an email from the guy. It was a team in Barcelona Spain wanting me to come play with them this coming year. The guy thought I was still in the states when he was emailing me so he couldn't figure out what I was doing up at 4am checking email. Anyways we got on the messenger later that evening and I talked to him for about an hour and a half and he was filling me in on the details. Their season is earlier than Finland and Sweden's and so he said he would want me there in January. At the end of the conversation he said " from what I can see your Spanish is very good " so it was good to be able to converse with him in Spanish and hopefully that will give him extra incentive for wanting me to come. However I didn't sign or anything like that because I still don't know what exactly I will be doing, but its neat to know that I can visit another country if I would like to. Then again I think when am I going to get a real job. Who knows what will happen. Other than that nothing much happened exciting on Tuesday besides lifting and practice. On Wednesday we lifted again and then bummed around as it was raining a bit and then later that evening Mario Santos had us over to his place to eat. It was good to visit with them and eat at their place again. This is the same guy that had me and my cousin David over to eat. So we just hung out over there and he's all into cars so he and Mario were speaking some kind of language I'm not familiar with. Thursday was haircut day and just running and practice. Not too much else worthy of writing about for Thursday. Now on Friday I will to say that we were rolling in high cotton as I have told some of you. Working the connections we were able to be on the list to the annual Crayfish party at the US Embassy here in Stockholm. They said that this is a 30 year tradition. Mario, Coach K, Coach A, Larry, and I went up in there to represent Tyreso, Cali, Finland, Jersey and of course South Carolina. Let me start with the entrance. I was planning on taking my camera, but Larry had said that no cameras were allowed inside the embassy. The embassy is in downtown Stockholm and is fenced in with tall white bars and it had a guard building. The fences around it reminded me of the houses in Colombia and Venezuela and the guard shack reminded me of Liberty..lol. Anyways we had to take our passports just to get through the guard shack. They would only let 2 people in at a time and the setup was similar to airport security. Slide all metal items on the belt and walk through the door. If you didn't work there you had to have a sticker that said " function " on your shirt. Our group might has well have been malfunction, dysfunction, no function, and functionless but as you can imagine we gave the woman at the door grief over the stickers. It ended up being true that no cameras were allowed in as Coach K had a phone with a camera on it and they held it there until the party was over. So we walked in and yes it felt good to be on American soil, yet in another country. Kind of weird huh. We entered the building ( it is a pretty big building by the way ) and followed the signs and yes Mario spotted the South Carolina flag flying in there so that was cool. Obviously we stopped and had a moment of silence for it. This is when we started seeing all these people. I would say that there was about 130 people there. I think some of them worked at the Embassy, some diplomats, some marines and then just other friends of people who worked there. We all hung out in the inner square of the embassy then we went into this room and they had the table set and ready. The party was catered and they made us wear these crazy birthday style hats. The tables were filled with drinks and food and then a guy got on the mike and started making a welcome speech. That's when the crayfish started coming in and I had to get some instructions on how to eat them from a few different people, but I figured it out there shortly. We had a really good time in there and we got to meet to meet a lot of people. After the meal the Dj started playing music and wouldn't you know it I ran into some girl from Chile and we dance salsa. The whole evening was surreal because we were 4 Americans and one Finn sitting in the US Embassy eating crayfish with people we didn't even know. Nevertheless we represented and had a good time. After the party we headed downtown. Larry put on a Holyfield demonstration for us as we were exiting the Embassy and that was funny. We went into the city and all hung out for a bit then headed home. The only evidence that I have for you that we actually went ( cause I know some of you thinking I'm lying ) was to bring home the piece of paper that was on our table. So take a look at this. I guess its safe to say that they have a good time at the party.
Game Weekend Since we were playing on Sunday this week we all headed down on Saturday and stayed in a Scandic hotel. It's a pretty long ride to Carlstad and I made a cd so we listened to it on the way and saw a lot of the Swedish country side. It was a pretty day and it is still getting cooler over here and feels like it does when it turns fall. We got to the hotel and rested for a bit then ate dinner and then went into the city for a bit. It was neat to see another city in Sweden and we didn't stay out too late. We did see some of their players out in the town as well. One of the guys on our team had bought a Street & Smith's College Football magazine and so Mario and I were reading that while at the hotel. It was weird to be in Sweden and to read about GWU and Liberty and see our friends/roommates/classmates names in the magazine. I guess the world is small. Before dinner we did attempt to sit in the sauna at the hotel, but it indeed turned out to be a Swedish sauna and there was no Loylu or steam to be seen or felt. Game Now this was us returning down to a team that had killed us 2 weeks prior and they were anticipating a walk through I believe. Before the game they had a mascot...( a crusader ) come on to the field and drive his sword into the middle of the field. The crowd got hyped on this. He was wearing real chain mail and steel so it was more lifelike than a costume. It was a really windy day and we got the ball first and were going into the wind.We drove it right down the field on them and scored on the first possession on a long sustained drive. This put them on their heels and gave us some momentum. The defense was holding them and the game was going well. We were able to move the ball on them and they even had to switch their defenses on us. They were in a 3-3 stack and had to go back to their 4-2 because we were ripping them on it. I had a bomb td pass dropped on their sideline and soon after there was another one dropped in the zone. I can't talk too much though because one time I had a guy open in the end zone and made a bad throw and missed him on it, but we did score though. I had to do about 5 Qb sneaks in the game and one time guy ripped my helmet off and the chinstrap going up my face left some scratches on my face and my eye started to swell a little. One of our defensive guys got an interception and took it to the house only to have it called back for offsides or something. Seemed like some home cooking to me, but that was about where the momentum stopped as this took the air out of us a little. We went in at halftime like 21-7 I believe. The second half was similar to the first, but without us having too much momentum. We were hanging with them and I hit our TE on a touchdown pass on a corner route. One time in the 3rd quarter I really got popped as I tried to scramble up the middle and someone got my feet then one of those defensive guys had me for lunch. My helmet again went up my face. I mean don't get it twisted now I didn't come out of the game or anything like that, but I can feel the soreness now and this is most sore my collar bone and jaw bone has ever been. The game ended up 39 - 12 and we lost and the season was over. So no championship this year, but its ok. I guess you can't win them all the time. I was proud of our guys this day and glad that they came to play and put up a fight. The easiest thing to do would have been to lay over and let them walk over us, but that wasn't the case. I think we surprised a lot of people in the stadium as well. You know how it is when you know you've given it your all and you can at least walk out with your head high...well that was how this was. After the game we had the team huddle and I thanked the guys for allowing me to come and play and thanked them for going out of their way to make me & Mario too feel welcome and taking care of us. I have some pictures from the game and post game here. After the game we all headed home and ended up all eating at the same McDonald's about an hour into the trip. It was reminiscent of after our High School football game when everyone would go to Bojangles. We headed home in the night and I believe the moon looks bigger from Sweden than it does in the states...lol. We saw a lot of farmers combining what looked like their wheat late into the night. Mario said that it reminded him of a scene from Indiana.
So now I will be staying here for Mr. Paul Tucker's wedding and that leaves me with a banquet to go to and 2 weeks to explore the cultural riches of Sweden. In other news the Turku Trojans will be playing this coming weekend in the championship. Did somebody say road trip? Mario and I are debating on going to Denmark and/or Norway, but being broke does come into play so who knows what will end up happening. I will post again next week to let you know if we do anything worth writing about and will end the web page with a Conclusion entry. Regards,
This week was another routine week with the exception that we went to a museum. Mario says I'm not educated enough in history so yes we went to the Military Museum of Sweden. The whole time Mario was explaining things to me as well as reading every single sign that could possibly be read in the museum and he even got the few that weren't in English translated. All I know is that there was an abundance of guns in there and we got to handle some of them so in other words Mr. J.E. would have been in heaven. After 2 hours of touring the museum Mario felt better educated and I felt like I paid money just to get my back tight and calves sore, but I guess that's why they say 2 people can look at the same thing and see it differently. The one thing that worries me is that Mario found out that there is a medieval museum as well as a museum where they recovered a sunken ship. I may get in on one more tour, but that will be my limit though. Spending money to be educated...come on.
This past week we still worked out and ran in the mornings and there seemed to be an abundance of attractive females out while we were running and biking on the trails. The first few days of the week were dedicated to recovering from the previous week's beating. Mario, Coach Wikstrom, one of our lineman ( we call him E-man ) and his girlfriend and I ate barbeque ribs and chicken at Coach Armstrong's house and we did go home on a full belly. Coach Armstrong is from Jersey and so his grilling skills aren't as good as we are used to in the south, but they were good enough to get by. We also received a package in the mail that gave us some mid-week momentum. We broke bad and went shopping a little bit too. We also watched Top Gun with Chief Swift Cankle Rauge so he would have some 80's American movie knowledge. We also went over to Coach Wikstrom's house to watch film. Mario and Pearl had an NCAA 2005 tournament and I think its tied as of right now.
We also did something that we don't normally do at home. We have been saving up our cans and so we recycled "Cans for Crowns" and made a pretty good tradeoff if you ask me. I also talked to Neil this week on IM and they had installed web cams in the labs so it was good to be able to see him. I designed a web page for Ken Belk with new software so that ate up my time a lot this week. I had to learn it and do it so you know that goes. Feel free to check it out at www.pineneedleexpress.com
In the previous game I won MVP and they give out like small prizes ( just as they did in Finland ) and I won a double Cd titled "Power Summer Party Hits 2004 ". It has a bunch of Euro songs on there mixed in with American songs and if any of you download music you should download any songs by a group named " Gunther & The Sunshine Girls" because it will be absolutely hilarious. The one song on this Cd is " Teeny Weeny String Bikini " and the song doesn't do the video justice at all. I may have to try to record it.
It has also been unique to watch the Olympics from another country. The coverage we see has featured Swedish athletes instead of the US (obviously) and everyone over here is very aware of the fact that Sweden has won 3 gold medals and those guys (and girl) are all in the news and newspapers. Another tid bit is that Shawn Crawford was running in the Olympics. Shawn Crawford played football with Mario and attended Indian Land high school and for all you IPTAY people he did graduate from Clemson. Yes South Carolina was representing. So we watched Olympic coverage of one of Mario's high school classmates in Swedish. It was micke bra.
This Saturday, at what would be 9 am eastern standard time, we played the Solna Chiefs again on the worst field in Europe. This game was the first round of the playoffs. Since we last played Solna they had signed 2 more imports and these guys were from Canada and they still had the same Qb from Cali. So our team wore as many wristbands and underarmour as possible and anything to cover body parts and went to play. My lower back had been tight and I couldn't move like I wanted to, but I managed through the game. We had more guys this week and so it was a better game for us. The defense finally came out to play and we won 64 - 39. I threw 6 tds and ran 1 on a sneak. It seems that over here these guys don't take the season too serious or just serious enough to make it to the playoffs and then when they start then everyone wants to jump on board. By winning this game we advanced to the semi-finals where we will play Carlstad again. I'm curious to see how many people will actually show up to take the long ride and go back and play again. Carlstad seems to be a smaller town where football has some pride in the community...much like that of Turku and of Pageland and they have an American coach as well.
Also, I have also been nominated for " Import Player of The Year " which basically means " American Player of The Year ". They will give the award out on Sept 4th at the league banquet so I'll let you guys know if I get it.
Since we won like half of the team wanted to go out downtown. I was able to talk one of the guys here into letting me use his digital camera since my web page has been lacking of pictures this year. Since I had the camera we took as many pictures as possible and I can not post them all because some were very blurry due to motion, nights, and lights and so fourth. One neat place we went to had an " Ice Bar " . We got good pics of it, but we did not go in as we had a crowd and the place has a limit on how many people can get in. We would have had to wait forever but I may go back to see what its like. I think it would have been Big Franks kind of place since you would always be " cool ".
These girls went crazy at the sound of Mario's name
Mario and the Liberty Point
This week was not as eventful as last week with respect to things to write about on the web page. The weather is getting cooler here and the nights are getting longer which just pretty much means that its finally getting dark outside. You know the feeling that you get at home around September and October when it starts to cool off, the leaves begin to turn colors, hunting season is coming in, and you can smell football....well that's how it feels over here right now.
We did the normal run every day and lift every other day this week again. I'm starting to fear that I may be getting in shape. I also cut Mario's hair this week with some Euroclippers. They were a little different than the ones at home, but we still got it done. We made it into town, during the day, a few times this week and I showed Mario the tourist street, the changing of the guards, and the castle. Below is a picture of the changing of the guard scene and one of water fountain in the city.
While we were at the castle of course we went in for the historical tour of the museum inside. The halls that we did go on were showing the armor that they use to wear back in the day. They showed how it evolved from one generation to another. It was pretty neat to see and of course Mario was reading each sign posted below every item.
We also went over to eat at Hakan's house this week as well as eating with the offensive coordinator one day. It was nice to go over and eat and we just solved the worlds problems all night. We ate chicken and ribs then had some Swedish pudding dessert. It was similar to a dessert dish that I had eaten in Costa Rica one time.
Our game this week was on Sunday rather than Saturday hence my page being updated later. On Saturday we went and watched Stockholm play against Arlanda. I have 2 pictures of us from that game.
Notice Jessica Simpson sitting just in front of us...she was hot!
This week we played on Sunday against the #1 team in the league and it showed. There are really no details worth writing other than the fact that we got manhandled and took a severe beating. The game was in Carlstad which is like a 3 hour ride from Stockholm and is near a big lake. That was the last game of the regular season and now this week starts the playoffs. We have to play against Solna again which should be an interesting game seeing as how the last time we played them we beat them 67 - 62.
So Mario had me running again everyday this week except for Friday and the one day that I don't go running he sees a deer in the woods. I have noticed that when we run we see these slugs crossing the trails and the slugs are huge. I've never seen any that big so its weird. Early on last week (Sunday) Will Smith was in Stockholm for the debut of his movie IRobot or whatever it was. Not only was he in Stockholm, but he did come to Tyresö and play a round of golf. Everyone was talking about that around here. They rescheduled some tournament they had for that day just so he could play 9 holes.
All the guys have been saying that while I was at home that it was raining a lot, but now the sun is out all the time so in their words " summer is here ". That is good because people are out everywhere just hanging out. I guess I would be too if I sat in the cold that long during the winter. We hung out with Ilija and his cousin a few times early in the week. One night we were out at "East" and this girl walked by and I called her " Paris " and yes we did end up dancing for a song or two. One evening we played putt putt at the local course in Tyresö and Mario and I both agreed that it may be the toughest mini-golf course in the world. If you think you are good at Myrtle Beach then you are nothing here.
On Wednesday we went to the Tyresö Castle and also to the beach. We had a guided tour by none other than Mr. Johan Rauge, who is a Swedish history buff, along with myself and Mario also added his knowledge on Swedish history during the tour. So with all of these scholars together the tour was pretty well rounded and I am surprised that we didn't receive job offers while touring. I have some pictures from the castle and the beach here. The beach is also different than from at home. I would say the differences are less clothes and no waves or sea shells, but other than that the principle is the same.
On Thursday one of the guys at practice told us to come by Berns which is a hotel that has a bar/dance room open at night time. So The Chief, Andre, Mario and I went to check it out. Since our guy was working the door we didn't mean to break in front of some people, but it just happened. Well, while we were going in we noticed a lot of Chinese looking people being around there mix with the Swedes. We went in and were hanging out for around and hour when we went to the restroom we noticed that it was " Tokyo weekend in Stockholm " because they had a sign on the door advertising it. This is explained why all of the Chinese looking people were there. I guess you would say Japanese rather, but anyways same difference. Mario saw 2 men in a business suit with a woman wearing a full kimono dress, but I didn't see her. Later on I told the guys that we should go out and check out this other room in Berns because this place is big and there was still a room that we had not yet been in. So we went into another room and this is where it got a little weird. Its going to be hard for me to explain this tactfully on here.
When we walked in (entering from the back of the room) I noticed that there were a bunch of people grouped at the front of the room. Then I recognized that they were watching a video on the movie screen, but I thought why was everyone so crowded at the front. Then we walked around to the side and could see what was happening. Let me try to explain here so bare with me. Ok this Japanese woman was laying on the stage with a gas mask and a rain coat on with 2 guns which had flowers on the ends of them and she was crawling like in Vietnam or something. There was music going on and a video screen behind her that was previously recorded and had a woman doing the same things that she was doing on stage. Like a routine. Well she got up and started doing a military march. At this point I turned and looked at the guys and they too were like " what is going on here " . Then she took the rain coat and the gas mask off as the music changed. Under the rain coat she had on this costume. Well the costume had a large upper end and it seemed to be cold in there as well and she wore another piece on the other end of the costume was some male anatomy, which had protection on it. Then these 2 guys walked out with kkk masks on their head and were also wearing white T-shirts with Japanese writing on them. They were holding a plastic chain from one of them to the other. So the girl, with the male anatomy suit ( it was red by the way ) hangs like 8 pictures on the chain. The pictures were of Osama, Sadam, Bush, France's pres, Japan's pres, The older Bush, Tony Blair, North Korea's president and the president of France. Then she was taking them off one by one and how can I say " reproducing " with the photos, but before she did this she had removed her protection and threw it in the crowd. Well she left President Bush up there to the end. She was singing the words to the song " Beautiful People " and they were randomly playing American music from back in the 60's in the mix as well. Finally she grabbed Bush's picture and looked at it real hard for a few minutes while she mustered up a huge loogie and then spit on it. Then she grabbed all the pictures and put them together and spit on them all together. On the backs of all the pictures it had the words "don't shoot". It was very weird to watch and it took me a while to figure out what she was trying to get across because at first it looked like another potential America Hate-a-thon. I guess it was a Tokyo performing arts thing and she was trying to say anti-violence because she equated everyone as being evil, but to me it was just like saying that she hated everyone, including her own president. This was only one of their routines, but we only watched 2 of their skits. Lord only knows how long these routines had been going on for. The other one that we watched for a few minutes was a parody to the song " The Age of Aquarius " which featured a Japanese guy with a globe on his head who wore a thong and a white bed sheet with random ornaments tied on it. To make it short I don't think I'll be going to Tokyo anytime soon. I would have given anything to have taken my camera with me so that I could have documented this spectacle, but I didn't so you'll just have to imagine the best you can.
So that night was extremely odd and I don't think I will forget it too soon. Throughout the week we practiced and boy these mosquitoes over here in Sweden are nothing to play with. I don't think they are as bad as Mississippi, but I think they are worse than South Carolina. Maybe its because they don't have as many people to bite, but for whatever reason they sure are out and about. On Friday night we stayed in since we had a game the next day. We went over to the O-coordinator's house and watched film on Stockholm and ate some food. He lives in the city and on the way driving through you could see all the people that were out.
We played against the Stockholm Mean Machines who are the #2 team in the league. I don't really know how to put it lightly here, but I guess I can just list the facts and you can draw from them what you may. The facts are that due to injury, vacation, wedding, birthday, funeral or whatever we took the field with 24 and the other team took the field with 44. They scored on the opening kickoff as they ran a reverse and had our whole team lost in the mix. We got the ball the next time and ran a counter and fumbled on the first offensive play. They then scored on a long pass about 5 plays later. I did however scramble one time and score. I did make some good throws in the first half, but either the pass would bounce off the guys shoulder pads or they would catch it and then we would get a penalty. I made some crazy throws falling backwards as well, but we don't really have anything to show for it. As I stated earlier it is just starting to be summer time here as far as heat wise and so the heat was wearing our guys down. Its not as humid as at home, but these guys aren't from SC so some of them were hurting out there and you can imagine with 24 that some of them were going both ways. We didn't get completely embarrassed in the first half as we were moving the ball and hanging in there what we could, but in the second half our guys gave completely out of gas and then they started running the score up. To top that off they starting blitzing in the 4th quarter which didn't help me out any. I also threw Europick #3 as I threw one up for the TE to make a play and I had gambled the wrong way on this one. One thing that is hard to adjust to is that if I let it fly like I have to at home then these guys won't catch up to it so I have to take some off sometimes and trust on my receivers making plays. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
If you would like to get positives from the game you could say that our guys never gave up and this game was more of a test of character than anything, as Coach Wikstrom stated. Also, my heel did not bother me which is good news for me. The o-line did give me more time in the first half which was pleasant and because of this I was able to make some good throws so I think Mario is helping the guys out a little. The final score was 62 - 7 and I was glad to see the clock hit 0:00. I also met the American from their team. He played at Buffalo State and informed me that he had played in Italy and Germany so it was neat to share stories of our experiences with each other after the game. Also a side bit of info is that this week in practice our head coach informed us that he would not be returning for next season. This coming week we have to play the #1 team in the league who blitzes every play so it should be another fun game.
Then of course after the game we came back and ate and then all went out downtown. We went out to a Latina club for a bit and then to 2 others and yes I did cramp up in 2 of the 3. It was fun trying to explain to a Swedish person what a cramp is and why I just kicked them in the leg....hahaha.
Below are some pics that David sent me after he figured out how to resize and email. Check out the bottom pics of the turf field at Solna that should be banned from anything taking place on it.
now this chick was really feeling me
I thought I saw Paris Hilton
The above picture was taken at 4am.
Check out Haggar's pants
Me & Tofe (and his snake suit)
David & Rauge
The worst football field on earth
On Sunday of this week some of the fellas and I went out to a nearby lake and grilled out. It was pretty neat and relaxing. It was unique because we went out there at like 6 pm and stayed until like 10 pm and the whole time the weather was cool, but yet the sun was still out. The sun just hung in the sky forever and never went down. Usually at home you know it would cool down and shortly thereafter get dark, but here it cooled down and just stayed light. We did have an attempt at catching a fish, but nothing came of it. We ate hot dogs and hamburgers and just sat on those huge rocks. We bought some " American Dressing " at the store for hamburgers and its weird because I have never seen this dressing at home, but it did taste ok. Maybe its the secret McDonald's sauce...who knows. The only bad part was that my ankle was throbbing the whole time from the game. Turns out that we had 3 people with problems related to that great field that we played on last week. So I was hobbling up and down the rocks and we were throwing fishing lures at mallard ducks. It was the first day of sunshine like all week. I think when David came he brought the rain because this week was nothing but sunshine all week long.
Early in the week I went and got my ankle X - rayed to make sure that it wasn't fractured. It was an awkward injury and for that matter still hurts, but the location of the injury and how it happened was weird which made me curious. I'd never felt something like that before so they took me to get it looked at. Some fat guy fell on my foot while I was lying face down on the ground and his weight hit my heel right where the Achilles tendon attaches. The next day my ankle was all swollen and black and blue and started from the bottom of my foot and then went upward so I had to ice it. I could walk on my toes, but couldn't put much weight on my heel. I walked on my toes so much that my calf became sore. So we went to the doctor and after waiting ...ALL DAY LONG...they said it wasn't fractured so that was all I needed to hear and so I played this week. They didn't tell me what exactly was wrong with it, but just that it wasn't fractured. One thing I did notice that was different in the hospital here was that you pay a flat fee before they do anything and it covers whatever services you receive unless you stay overnight then they charge you a small fee per night. I think this is possible due to the taxes or whatever, but am not sure.
Since the sun was out and I knew my ankle wasn't fractured I went downtown a couple of times and yes I did have a pimp limp. This week they had this festival of restaurants I guess you could call it downtown. They were playing music and had a lot of restaurants in tents there and you could eat and just hang out. It seems when the sun finally does come out in these Scandinavian countries that any excuse to be outside is good enough. Though its warm it's still not that humid so its pleasant. As I was downtown I noticed the streets being overly packed. I kept hearing loud music coming from different directions. There were the like 14 flat bed trucks or dump trucks riding around playing loud music with teenagers, in what looked like sailor caps, riding around on the back of them drinking, dancing, and yelling. See the high schools were graduating over here and so a tradition that they have is to parade downtown in the streets and ride in the streets on trucks drinking and listening to music. You could smell beer in the air and many times they were throwing it at people. The sailor looking hats are there graduation hats so they don't look like our graduation hats at all. I remember seeing hats like this in Finland as well. While downtown and also while we grilled out, I saw like 7 hot air balloons in the sky at the same time. I don't think I've ever seen more than 3 in the air at one time and that was in Switzerland so that was a unique site. I think they were trying to advertise on the balloons near the restaurant festival as the balloons were relatively close to each other. This week I finished Deuteronomy and have started on Joshua and am in the middle of Psalms. My stats from last weeks game are posted on this link. The guys on the team said that the 9 td's was a record. The Game This week we played a team called the Sundsvall Flames. Sundsvall is a 6 hour ride to north Sweden. We had to get up at 6 am just to make it there by game time. On the way we had a debate on the bus in between me and 2 other American guys (with swedish residency) on the team. One is a player and one an assistant coach. They were trying to represent California and Maine. Its like what is there to represent you know They actually thought that California and Maine were better than the Carolinas. Don 't worry I held them off as there was no evidence that they could produce to back their arguments. After educating these outcasts we finally arrived and went to their field to check it out. They had a turf field with the good turf so it wasn't that bad to play on. The stadium sat at the bottom of a small mountain or foothill so the wind was only blowing in one direction. Before the game I had to get my ankle taped to support my heel. So I had a little extra support, but it still was hurting during the game. Sundsvall also had an American quarterback, but I'm not sure where he was from. The Dj before the game was getting everyone hype by playing some dirty south music on the speakers.
We won 60 - 35 in another offensive shootout. I ended up with 4td passes and a swollen ankle again. I got late hit two times and one of them was on a Td pass. We were finally able to establish a running game yesterday so that was good. The defense played better and caused a few turnovers and that was enough for us to hold on to the win. I split one of my receivers down the middle of his numbers and the ball popped off his shoulder pads into the air and so euro pick #3 occurred. One thing that is a terrible rule that they have in Sweden is that the referees bring new balls to the games and we are suppose to play with those balls. Well up until now they have not been bringing them and yesterday they finally did. So its like trying to throw slick leather squares to your receivers when we have perfectly fine, broken in balls right there on the sideline. I asked the referee about this before the game and he could not give an explanation other than the fact that " we were going to play with the new ones ". So as you can imagine that was great news to get like 3 minutes before the game. They have the slick, oily, film on them and are difficult to throw. I can't see a benefit to having this rule, but for whatever reason it exists. So now we are 2 - 2 and seem to have things on the up and up.
And in other Scandinavian sporting news the Turku Trojans of Finland beat the Crocodiles ( the team in the race with Solna to see who can have the worst turf in Europe) and are 2 - 0 and looking to make a run at the Maple League title again. Good luck guys and see if you can make it back to back rings this year.
Now I am returning home to the states for a month to work. In Sweden they have a month long break in the middle of the season. This is another thing that I don't understand, but for some reason they have a break in the season. I think its so they can vacation in the summer. So I am returning on Tuesday and will be home for a few weeks and then will return back to finish the season. Quite the schedule, but I have to do what I have to do. So until then I will drop my web page and pick it back up when I return for round two.
As I stated last week, my cousin David had flown in to visit and so this week we toured around the city and tried to show him a little bit of Scandinavia. We had a good time, though it rained the majority of the week, which limited our sightseeing since we were mainly traveling by foot. Having David here on his first time in Europe it made me realize some differences that I saw in Finland and Sweden as well, but since my eyes have become use to them I failed to mention them on here. I will try to recap a little. I have failed to mention are the fact that there are rocks everywhere here and they are some big ones at that. The fact that everything is in the metric system can get confusing sometimes. The fact that I never really know how much money I have or am spending unless I specifically count it and convert it in my head. I think I did mention the stop lights going from red to orange then to green. The general structure of bathrooms is different. There aren't many bathtubs and usually you have a floor with a drain in it and a squeegee to push the water toward the drain when you're done. The structure of the buildings here is different than at home. This is probably due to the age of them. The buildings are very artsy in the fact that they are pleasing to look at. They have like designs, or peoples faces or scenes carved in the concrete or stone and statues are frequently found around the streets. They use spiral staircases over here a lot. The keys that you use to get in your house are cut in a different manner than the ones we use at home. A mall here is not the same as a mall at home. They are just set up differently on the inside and the building structure is also different. Its like not as open aired and spacious or whatever. So those are some things that I have failed to mention, but that hearing David talk about them opened my eyes to the fact that I did not write about them. Not to mention the price of gas over here. We also took some pictures with his camera, but we couldn't get them to my computer because he uses some off the wall brand chip that isn't compatible with my laptop...lol. Like it could be my computer's fault or something...lol. He is going to email them to me so I'll have them up sometime soon.
We pretty much had the same routine and schedule as any other week just with a little less time on the net. He even went and watched practice this week. We did bust up in the KPMG headquarters over here in Stockholm and get him a tour of the complex so he can have some international contacts you know. Got to get that networking down. We went and saw the changing of the guards and while we were there the Royal family was exiting the building so we saw all of them. We saw the princess who is all over the magazines over here. She wasn't all that, but I did get eye contact so you know....lol. Also this week one of the guys on the team had us over to eat at his place which was nice of him. We ate some steaks, fries, and some béarnaise sauce. This is a sauce that I've never seen at home, but I have never really looked for it either. It's really buttery and I can't eat too much of it, but Rauge (self proclaimed " Diesel " ) said he could live off of that stuff. I think David was also VIP 3 times in 3 different places over here so that's not bad for an App State graduate you know. I guess there is hope after all. We did see a Michael Jackson impersonator who was dancing for money and he danced all day long. David also sat in a real sauna and officially threw some "loylu". One funny comment that David made was that he said " Watching those girls dance made my hip hurt "....hahaha. I thought that was hilarious, but then again it helps to have seen what girls he was talking about.
The Game So for the game ........the Tyreso Royal Crowns are no longer winless. We got our first W yesterday against a team named Solna in a very crazy game. First of all let me talk about the field that we played on. David has pictures of it and I will definitely post them because my words will in no way do it justice. This field may be worse than the turf in Sejaiolki (or however you spell it ) Finland, but its a close call. I'm not sure which is better to fall on; the turf with small rocks all in it or the turf with sand all in it to cut your skin up. Its a close call and right now I'm torn between the two. You could lift this turf up and look under it every ten yards. It was so outdated that I couldn't believe that they still let people play on it. There was like half a centimeter of padding on that thing. Before the game they were lifting up the mat (in 10 yard increments) and sweeping the rocks back under the turf. When it rains it brings all that stuff to the surface and the small rocks come out. I had seen this stadium before so I was prepared and I had about 8 wrist bands on going up one side and down the other on both of my arms. It was like I was sponsored by Nike or something. I got out of there without too much turf burn, but with an odd ankle bump. Some D-lineman fell on my ankle and when he tackled me and right now its just sitting here throbbing. Never fear...time is the best healer and I got some ice and athletic tape.
As for the game itself...it was an offensive shootout. Neither team's defense could stop the other team's offense. The final score was 67 - 62 (Yes, really) and I threw 9 td passes and ran a 2 point conversion. There are rumors of 9 Td passes in one game being a Swedish record, but I'm not sure about that. It was a very boring game to watch probably as there were not too many pads popping. However there were some pads popping on one play as the other team had the ball with like a minute or two to go and they tried to run a play action pass and our defense finally stepped up and hit the Qb, he fumbled, and our guy picked it up and ran it in the zone from about 55 yards out. This put us up and they got the ball back and tried to throw a pass, but it got picked. We then ran the clock out. Due to the odd nature of that game, the play where he got hit, fumbled, and we scored has been coined by the guys over here as " The miracle at Bergshamra ". Bergshamra is the name of the field. The great turf field that is. After the game they gave the MVP of the game to one of our receivers, but he just turned around and gave it to me so that was pretty nice of him to do that. I guess there was some hating going on somewhere around there, but who knows. Everyone got paid in Stockholm this week and so we all went out and the streets were packed and so David again missed his flight, but this time purposely, and is again flying standby. In other news: Turku Trojans defeated the Pori Bears 24 - 7 in a head to head battle in the maple league of Finland. And another page turns...
This week the weather was very fickle. On Sunday it was pretty hot...like T-shirt and shorts hot and then the rest of the week it was very cold. I often get caught without a jacket when it's cold or with too much on when its hot because its difficult to plan because you never know what might happen. When the sun goes down you better have a jacket some where close though.
Since I got a package in the mail last week I have been sharing Reese cups, oatmeal pies, and jolly ranchers with all of the fellas. It was the first time for a lot of them to ever eat them and they liked them all, but said that the Reese cups were too rich for them. It was pretty neat to witness the " Reese cup reactions ". Can you imagine being deprived from Reese cups your whole life?
This week I washed clothes again so that was another process that was good to get out of the way. I even cleaned my room up. Yeah you know I am bored if I clean my room up huh. Also, this week Britney ( Fame made me go psycho ) Spears was in concert over here at the Globben. Can you believe people actually paid money to go watch that? Usher is soon to be in concert on June 8th. I called my boy lil john and he answered the phone and said " yeeeeaaaah " and I was like can you send me some tickets and he was like " wwwhhhhaaaattt " and I said can you send me some tickets the finally he said " okkkkaaayyyy ". So I may try to go to that one if he comes through on it. lol
On Friday I met one of my good friends from Turku here in downtown Stockholm He and some friends took the boat over just to hang out in the city. His name is Kari Toivonen and he is the media guy and webmaster for the Turku Trojans. It was good to see him again and he even brought me a 2004 schedule poster that had a picture of me on it along with a game day program that had a picture of me as well. So that was neat. Since I was downtown I visited some stores and went into the Hard Rock Cafe and also went into a store that only sales goods from the US that you can't find in stores here. For instance products like...peanut butter, reese cups, hershey's white chocolate bars, certain kinds of cereals, pop tarts and a whole lot more, but I didn't buy anything just checked it all out.
The Game This week we played against the Arlanda Jets. This team won the championship last year in this league. We ended up losing 22 - 21 in a tough game. We passed all day and they are an option style team. I wore # 16 instead of #7 because the #7 jersey was sewn up tight and thus hindered the full range of motion so I just grabbed #16 and wore it. Our team played a whole lot better from game 1 and showed more heart, but a few inches here or a different / (correct) call there and it could have been a different outcome. They scored like 11 points with their field goal kicker. I still had to scramble, but not as much as the first game and the good news is that I can still feel my ribs today. However there is some bad news. I hate to break it , but the inevitable has happened. The streak is over. After 40 td passes in Europe I threw an interception. I dropped back and went to throw and a d-lineman batted the ball up in the air and then some other guy caught it. I tackled him too!. I ended up throwing 3 td passes and yes 2 interceptions. The last one was on the last play of the game. There were like 23 seconds left on the clock and we were down by one point and I was trying to scramble around and throw a deep ball and just didn't put enough on it so in desperation hopes I threw another pick. After all you have to take some chances every now and then or you'll never succeed. Though this time I gambled the wrong way. Now we have our originally scheduled off week coming up this week and then after that we play the Solna Chiefs.
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?
This week was pretty eventful. I'm beginning to start my " about to go home shopping " and so Marlon and I are in the malls and seeing what all we can buy. We did lift weights 3 times this week again. On Wednesday Marlon won the sauna competition and if you want to read the details then Click Here . It was pretty funny to hear those guys talking junk to each other and I was even sweating just standing outside of the sauna. Marlon said that it felt like someone was ripping his skin off of his back, but nevertheless he endured.
On Friday, I went ice skating for the first time in my life. I'll just say that I wasn't too graceful. I think I stayed on the ice for about 5 minutes. I had like 2 falls in 3 minutes so I wasn't too productive. The ice is hard and cold when you fall too (what a profound statment). Marlon wasn't so graceful either as he did some movements that looked like tip toe drills on the ice. Eventually he just fell and rolled back to the side. They were calling us Bambi and Grizzly on ice. I've posted some pictures from the experience and as you can see my ice skating career wasn't much too brag about. I've got it on film too so if you want you can check it out when I get home and Todd if you are reading this, don't tell or show Dixon my pictures cause he'll be talking smack to me. hahahha.
This weekend we played the Crocodiles for the 3rd time this year. This game was a TV game and marked the second round of the playoffs. This team had picked up a new American Qb and had their American linebacker back since the last game that we played. It was forecasted to rain before the game and it did a lot and the field was in bad shape, not to mention the condition of the balls. I was interviewed by the TV guys before the game so that was pretty neat. He even asked me what was the deal about some web page so I gave him the address. The game got off to a good start as the defense got a safety on the first drive, but then the offense went 3 and out on our series. The very next series one of our db's picked off a pass for a td. The defense played really well this game. This was the first game that the offense was leaning on the defense and they were picking up our slack. On offense we couldn't get anything started all the first half. In the second half though we finally got moving. I ended up with 3 td passes, which all came in the second half and I believe it was for 243 yards. We won like 35 - 0. This game was a very sloppy game as my uniform got very muddy from the field being so wet. I smelled like a backwoods South Carolina swamp when you're duck hunting if you know what I mean. You will see from the pictures. Oh yeah and they said that on TV the broadcasters commented on Marlon's victory in the Sauna Bowl. hahaha. Later on that night when we went to eat they were replaying our game on TV over here. It was pretty neat to be watching yourself on TV.
This week they were having something interesting over here that we normally wouldn't have back at home. They had a a thing called Turku Sex . I guess it was like a sex exhibition or something. I don't know was happening over there, but I did see all of the advertising for it around town. I'll just say that the advertisements wouldn't be allowed at home either. I heard rumors that if you went naked that you got in free, but I'm not sure about that either cause we didn't go, but I was tempted. Finland is also hosting the championships for soccer under the age 17 and I believe that Finland got beat already, but the USA team is still playing. I guess we are getting good at soccer now I dont know. I heard Finland got beat 9 - 1 by Colombia. How ironic.
So now my time is winding down here and before we know it Marlon and I will be getting on a big bird headed back to the hot, sticky south. It's been a long ride, but hopefully we will have a happy ending.
I happen to surf over to the Central High Football website ( www.centralhighfootball.com ) and was looking at the roster pictures. Can somebody tell me what Trent and Garrett are thinking with their hair? Are they in some kind of contest to see who's got the nappiest hair or something? I hope those boys beat Timmonsville so somebody keep me posted with the details of the game. I can find the score online, but not whether somebody got stuck or not.
So it looks like we will have to go back to Helsinki to play for the championship. I hope we can do it..and it should be a good game.
This was a cop on a horse
This guy was drunk and was literally crawling up the sidewalk
Went to a castle
Went to a cathedral