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 ?
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...
Well there was not too much going on this week as it was rainy and dreary outside and since we had no game. As I stated before this was our originally scheduled off week. Since it was raining outside a few days this week, I stayed in and messed around. The weather over here is very fickle. For those of you with a weak vocabulary, fickle means that it changes easily. It will be hot one day, then cold the next and rain can come and go at the drop of a hat. During the week I was on the net until my eyes crossed and then I watched some TV as well. This is when I noticed that the censorship here is not as tight as it is in the states. That is audio and visual censorship. It was similar in Finland as well. We still had practice this week and I lifted weights a time or two, but I was still sore from the game.
I squeezed in my first tennis match early in the week. I have never played tennis before and if I could keep it between the lines its pretty hard to return, but the keeping it between the lines part gives me some problems. I went and played with some friends and Ilija and his brother. When Ilija and his brother played it was like watching 2 professionals. They made me stand in there for a few hits and the balls were coming so fast I couldn't hardly see them, much less return them. Tennis is a big sport over here, but soccer seems to be #1 with hockey coming in at #2. Who knows where American football falls in that sequence. I also saw a rugby match this week as well.
This week they had a holiday on Thursday, I believe, so everyone was out in the street during the day and out on the town at night. During the day they have people just singing in the middle of town square to everyone. Its like a free concert if you like that kind of music. They seem to draw somewhat decent crowds. I went to the big mall here called the NK one day with some friends and also went in several other stores downtown. Lets just say that I will never be buying anything inside of the NK building. One of my friends here bought a T-shirt that that would equal a price of 40 dollars...just to give you an idea. Though there were some attractive females on the inside. On a side note...I don't think that I have my hours adjusted totally as I continue to stay up late and sleep in. This way I can talk to my friends on line from the states as well as manage my schedule here. The nights are starting to be lighter longer which makes it hard to adjust to.
On Friday night some of the guys went out downtown. We went to 2 different clubs/restaurants or whatever you want to call it. There was a woman in there taking pictures. I asked her what she was taking them for and so she informed me that there is a nightlife website for Stockholm and so I jumped in behind two girls while they were having their picture taken. I was laughing, but click here to see it. Then I was able to get Ilija away from all of the women long enough to get a picture with him. Check it out here. Yeah so maybe I should have shaved, but there wasn't anything worth me shaving for in there anyways...hahahaa.
So on Saturday since we didn't have a game we went to watch 2 teams in our league play. I also met another guy from my last years team in Finland at the game. We had planned to meet there and so it was good to see none other than Mr. Kasper Johanson and his woman at the game. He rode the boat over to hang out with his brother who lives in Stockholm so he just swung right over to the game and watched it with us. We watched the Stockholm Mean Machines vs Carlstad. Upon entering the game we got a free magazine that had half clothed women in it. Another thing you wouldn't see at home. Carlstad is the team that wore us out in the first week and Stockholm beat them 26 - 21. Stockholm capitalized on some big plays during the game and were able to hold on for the victory. There was some pad popping going on in that game too. During the game one player injured his inner thigh. So what did they do...he just laid down on the sideline, pulled his football pants down and the female trainer was their massaging his inner thigh. I mean he still had other clothing on, but it was just something that you would not have seen at home. At half time they had a punt, pass, kick contest, but I didn't enter though I would have won by a long shot. I was tempted though.
On another side note Arlanda beat the team from Moscow in the Eurobowl series. I'm trying to paint a picture here for you so you can see how the deck is stacked. The team I played for last year ( Turku Trojans ) beat Arlanda 10 - 0 two weeks ago. The following week we played Arlanda and lost 22 - 21. Turku lost to Moscow 42 - 0 on that same day and then Arlanda beats Moscow this weekend 17 - 7. So it seems that on any given day any team can be beat. Hopefully we'll get our act together and be able to compete.
Today is Sunday and my cousin David Patterson flew into Sweden. He just recently graduated and this was his first time in Europe and I was present when he sat foot in Scandinavia. On the way there and on the way back we saw some moose. We saw a total of 3. One of the guys, " Diesel " as known by females all over Stockholm, was with us and he said that its not that frequent that you see something like that. He said that he's seen maybe 3 or 4 in his whole life. So as you can see whenever you have more than one Patterson at the same place anything magical can happen. Who knows what will happen downtown this week. We had some girls at McDonald's giggling already. I think they notice that you're not from Europe when they see you with baggy pants on. That's pretty much the tip because baggy is not the style here. We will try to get some good pictures while David is here and post them on the site next week.
Now we are preparing to play against the Solna Chiefs. We need to have a good week of practice because its time that we get a W. Hope all is well for all of you.
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 we were supposed to have a game, but the team we were scheduled to play is competing in the Euro Bowl so that game took precedence over a regular league game thus giving us an open week. Each year whichever team wins the league championship in their country gets a bid to the Euro Bowl in the upcoming year. Well last year at Turku we won so this year they are playing in the Euro Bowl series. The leagues in different countries across Europe intertwine the regular season games with the Euro Bowl games so it can get confusing. Anyways...Turku played against the Arlanda Jets from Sweden and beat them 10 - 0 this past Saturday and now will be heading to Moscow, Russia to play in the next round. So congratulations again to my guys in Finland. Many of them called me after the game and it was good to speak with the guys again. I hope they can pull it off in Russia as well. Now our upcoming game for this week is against who...none other than the Arlanda Jets. Yes, it seems like a coincidence to me too, but who knows.
Since we didn't have a game I did a little sight seeing. Some of the guys here took me around to different places in Stockholm to see some sights. We went to the castle as you will see in the pics. It was a pretty big place that sat right by a lake and seemed to be on the outskirts of town I guess. They have guards that walk around in blue to " protect " the castle. They walk with a unique step I might add. The king has a nice sized yacht sitting out back beside the castle as well. I did not go in for the tour because I'm too cheap to pay money for that. The pictures will explain the castle better than my words so I will just let you view them here.
So as you can see the King is fit to throw a good party if he wants to. Somebody said something about a single princess around their somewhere, but that doesn't necessarily mean she's good enough to be Mrs. Patterson you know. So after we did MTV cribs at the king's house we went into town and checked out where he works. There were guards there too and we just happened to catch them when they were changing. If you care to view a small segment of that then click here . There is more to it than what that video shows, but I don't have enough space on my server to put it all up there. So that was pretty neat.
After this we went to the highest point in Stockholm, which has a good view of the city. I put a span view of the scene there online too, so click this if you want to see it. I can't make the resolution to high on these for storage sake as well. If you look at it you will see a theme park on the right hand side of it right when the clip starts. They have a drop zone that is higher than the one at Carowinds. Needless to say I will not be participating on that ride when we go there. From this view I got some pics as well. Check them out.
We saw some more things as well in the city, but none that I thought I should put on here (picture wise that is )...for example we went by the embassy. This was all early in the week. I still did the general weight lifting and practice stuff too so don't think I'm trying to slack. I did receive a very nice package in the mail this week too so thanks Karen for throwing the hook up and I do mean the hook up. We also had some fun @ McDonald's this week. Check out the European version of the double nodd . However the double nodd was unsuccessful in achieving anything. Speaking of McDonald's ... I went into a McDonald's and was looking around when I noticed that they serve beer. I was informed that its only " light beer " so its ok. hmm. I was thinking of suing because they didn't offer low carb beer with the meals, which aids in making consumers fat due to lack of beverage options, but I'm not sure if I'll pursue it or not yet. lol. Since we didn't have a game some of the guys went on Saturday and scouted some of the other teams in the league that were playing. It was a pretty good experience, but I saw some turf that I am not looking forward to playing on. Then on Sunday I went down with the juniors and watched them play a game in Nyköping Sweden. It wasn't a bad ride. We had a pimp bus driver that Rauge interviewed. Seems he was a guru of facts on Thailand so therefore he gets his picture on the page and also because he also gave us a ride to McDonald's after he dropped the team off.
I know I have said McDonald's like 70 times now, but you don't realize how many McDonald's there are over here. They have a monopoly. You can find a Burger every now and then.
Also I saw some of the weirdest referees ever...check out the pics