Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here
Well this is my first entry of the second journey and I hope it ends up as well as the first one did. A hair cut at Bills, a stop by Central to receive the good luck blessing from Coach Mangum, lunch at Beth's Country Kitchen with the parents, happened to bump into David Tucker and ate some Burger King in the Charlotte airport with him and 24 hours later I'm here in my room in Stockholm Sweden starting all over again. It is almost 1 am here and I'm not tired...though I have been all day. As soon as I got on the airplane to come here the same thoughts were going on in my mind again as they did last year. Man this is going to be a long flight...I hope I can make it through all the security without any problems....hope I can play well....can the girls really be that fine...and do they really serve alcohol on European flights? I flew directly from Charlotte to Gatwick London, then caught a bus to Heathrow which is another airport in London about a 30 minute ride aways. I had to exchange money to pay for the bus trip and to buy food and calling cards. $ 125 = 60 Pounds in case you cared. Basically somewhere around 2 dollars per pound. The Heathrow airport in London is basically a shopping mall with an airport surrounding it. While I was in this airport several things came back to me that I had forgotten about.
So I arrived and was picked up by a coach and one of the players. They were waiting on me and had been for like an hour because there was a delay at Heathrow ...go figure. We took about at 30 minute ride from the airport to Tyreso, which is where I am. We went right through the downtown of Stockholm and it seems pretty nice from my first look of it. We just talked about football pretty much the whole way until we got in the dead center of town and I saw this huge lit up sign that read KPMG. Now I didn't know what KPMG meant 3 months ago either, but my cousin did an internship with them and so therefore I know. KPMG is an accounting firm that is world wide. So maybe David better come check that office out after all. When I got to my place I tried to plug my computer in but for some reason it wouldn't work. It would recognize the connection, but wouldn't let me surf. The place I'm staying is pretty nice. The team has like the whole bottom of an apartment building it seems. You have to remember it was dark when I landed so I'm trying to tell you from what I saw. Anyways, we have meeting rooms, bed rooms, bath rooms, a shower, a kitchen, a computer room and everything so its pretty spacious.
The team doesn't have practice tomorrow or Saturday, but then on Sunday we have a scrimmage against the Helsinki Roosters. Yes you may remember the roosters as the team that the Turku Trojans beat last year in the Finnish championship game. My team here in Sweden is scrimmaging them this Sunday. I wont play because its only my second day here and I don't know the plays yet. This will probably be awkward seeing them again, but in a different country. So That's pretty much it for now. I'm sure I'll have more later and unlike my brother I did call Big Frank and Frances and tell them I made it.
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?
Meet the 2003 Turku Trojans Sauna Sit off Contest Champion Mr. Marlon Grier
It was a very exciting night in Turku Finland the day that Marlon Grier brought home the victory. After training for 3 months in the sauna Mr. Grier seemed to be ready and his training proved golden. The buildup to the competition was tremendous and it seemed almost Super Bowl like when the contestants entered the sauna at 80 degrees celsius. The sauna was dry upon entering, but the water throwing got started quickly as the Finnish man tried to run Marlon out early, but Marlon withstood the heat. As the heat rose, so did the junk talking and the water throwing. At the most intense moment of the competition the Finn quoted " I'm getting out " and he exited the sauna after a grueling 14 minutes and 20 seconds to the tune of the star spangled banner being sung and the celebration/get hype smack talk of the foreigners. Just standing outside the sauna was enough for me and I couldn't imagine being in there. The Finn mentioned something of misconduct in the sauna along with illegal use of water, but the discrepancies did not matter in the end......the day that Marlon Grier brought home the victory.
When asked about the competition Sepa commented:
" I believe the sauna originated in Finland and I feel it is only right for a Finnish man to win the competition. I feel the pride of my whole nation on my shouders and will do whatever is necessary to bring home the victory. The American stands no chance against me. I will go purchase 4 ciders and then make my way into the sauna and will not come out without a victory"
When asked about the competition Marlon commented:
" I understand that my opponent has a bit more experience in the sauna than I do, however I am a winner and that fact will stand above anything he can bring to the table. After he drinks his ciders he won't be able to take it too long. It's kind of like in the movie ROCKY when Rocky went to Russia and beat the Russian. I think this competition will end up in the same manner. I'm on his turf and he will take the loss."
When asked about a game plan Sepa commented :
My game plan is to get in there and just drink my ciders and watch the American waste away and when he gets out...I will throw one more load of water and get out with a buzz, a smile, and a victory "
When asked about a game plan Marlon commented :
" I'm just going to let him drink his ciders and I will throw water until he throws up. Thats pretty much all there isto it. All I need is my water bottle and I'm fit for victory."
Looking Back When asked to comment on his performance Sipa noted...
" Just like the rapper Nelly said, It was getting hot in here "
When asked to comment on his performance Marlon noted...
" I'm the champion. It went just as I had planned and commented in the early interviews. Just like Rocky I came over here and issued a loss to him on his home turf. I had a strategy, I executed and brought home the gold. This battle was a long, hard fought duel between two very honorable men. It was a give and take battle and I guess I gave more than he could take. He came out the hole strong throwing a lot of water early and I won't lie, it did phase me a little bit, but like always...I came through strong in the 4th quarter and my antics, junk talking, and country pride and that was what showed through in the end. I came, I conquered, I won one championship tonight and still have another one to win.
As for my sauna career I'm throwing in the towel and retiring an early champion. Thanks for all of you who supported me and thanks to my boy Cp for being the only one to support me by betting on me. I would like to take this time to give a shout out to my mama. "
So Marlon what do you plan to do now as sauna champion...
I'm going to Disney World...
While I was in Finland there were two sites that kept track of the stats. However, since then one has gone away. See more stats from the League's site.
I have not:
I'm sure there are several more to add to these lists, but I can't think of them right now
Well now that this is all over and we are heading back to the US soon so I guess I better round my web page up. When I first came here I didn't know what to expect, but the guys on the team made the transition easy. I would like to give some special shout outs to Enes, Rio, and Mikko for taking care of Marlon and me many times when it was out of the way for them.
During my time over here I have definitely seen some things that I would not have had the chance to see at home. Does that mean I'm cultured? No matter what was going on we were always cracking jokes and having a good time.
It's weird how things get sometimes when you are isolated from all the people you've known your whole life, all the food you are use to eating, the music you are use to hearing, the language you are use to hearing others communicate in, and even the small things down to the signs that you are use to seeing. It's just you and...you. I believe things happen for a reason though and I think that God allowed me to come here for several reasons. Who knows what would have happened if I had ended up in the town of Pori. Many times I had a lot of time to myself and I even read the same book twice, when I wasn't surfing the net. That was " The Purpose Driven Life " by Rick Warren and if you haven't read it then you should. It will make you look at things very differently. When you are isolated like that you find out whats important to you and find out which friends will keep in touch. Marlon and I have also always had our needs met and have never lacked anything. We may not have liked how the food tasted, but it was food. I have my faith in Jesus above and he protected us and kept us safe and content while we were here and so I'm thankful. I would have never thought that I would come here and win the national championship and set the national td pass record and not ever throw an interception and have the type statistics that I ended up with. If you would have told me that before I came I would have told you that you were crazy. However, I can't take all the credit because I had the best core group of receivers in the league and the line was getting it together by the end of the season. Is this where I give a shout out to my Offensive cooridnators P. Haatsa and Ninikowsky? hahaha, no seriously Haatsa and Ninikowsky helped me out a lot and made it easier to understand what was going on, not to mention the millions of heart to hearts that haatsa gave me. So I think the trip here was a divine appointment and I'm glad that I caught the plane or I would have missed out on several things as you can see.
So during 3 months USA has captured the national title in Spades ( a card game), Dart throwing, Sauna sitting, & Football, while Finland only won one title which was in beer drinking.
I'm going back now and will try to get on a team somewhere. Hopefully something will work out, but if not life will go on. If for some reason there are some tailbans on the plane just know that I will die before the plane goes down cause Marlon and I will try to re-takeover the plane. If any of you would like to get in touch with me then you can email me at luqb[at]hotmail.com. Also with the financial aid of Mikko Virolainen I'm thinking of starting the first He'sburger in the US. He promised me that if we won the championship that he would do it, so now he has to be a man of his word. If you want to get in on it then send me an email and some Euros.
Thanks to all of you at home that emailed, called, sent packages and did anything to encourage me over here and thanks to all of the people over here that looked out for us during our time here. Keep in touch and go Trojans. It was a great summer to be a Trojan and I never got to ride the " Queen of Pori ".
Well this was officially my last week here. It is starting to get pretty cold here too. I could no longer sleep with my window open. I was in long pants and hooded sweat shirts every day here. Everyday I was telling Marlon..." this is your last tuesday, wednesday...etc " because it seems like its been a while. I also took an hour and a half tour of the castle that I earlier visited. You could really get lost in there.
So if you are reading this then you probably want to know about the game. Well this week we played the Finnish National Championship game in Helsinki vs the Helsinki Roosters. Our guys had lost to the Roosters 7 years straight and were kind of psyched out for the game. All this week we scouted their film and we stayed up til like 3 am one night breaking down their schemes. We pretty much knew what they were going to do, we just had to see how they blocked it and had to narrow down their tendencies.
So the game was a long hard fought battle. Defense shut down the roosters running game and so they had to resort to passing, which didn't work. The first quarter went by quickly as they were running all day. Then in the second quarter my boy Rio took a kick off back about 90 some yards for a td and got us some momentum. I can't remember what quarter it was but I did throw one Td pass, putting me at 38 Td passes and no interceptions for the whole season. We were up like 14 to 3 going into half time. The second half we scored, maybe it was the pass but we scored and then they were down 21-3 for the whole third quarter. Then we were playing ball control the whole fourth quarter and trying to run out the clock. They got the balls and kicked a field goal then on side kicked it and got it, and then scored, but by this point all we had to do was to get a first down and run the clock out. So we ran qb follows and the clock went out and so finally after about 9 silver medals the Trojans have been crowned with their first Gold medal and Maple Championship trophy. All game they were late hitting me and trying to talk junk to me to get me thrown out. I did pimp slap one guy in the pile and the referee got on me about it. So the defense bent, but didn't break and that was the key to the game. The leagues leading rusher was shut down and this is a credit to our whole defense.
After the game I was getting interviewed by the tv guys and so that was pretty neat. I gave all the credit to God and to the rest of the team because I couldn't have done any of it by myself...as I told the reporter. I did have some females yelling Clinton, Clinton, Clinton ...and all that so you know. The most rewarding part for me was to see these guys on our team that have played for so many years and not received the gold finally get it. Some were laughing, some crying, some didn't really know how to act. It was kind of weird. So that made me feel good that I could be on the team that did it. The guys were all telling me that I really didn't understand how great this was and that the monkey was off of their back now. After the game they gave me the MVP trophy, but I didn't go get it because 1.) I was doing an interview and 2.) because I couldn't understand what he was saying in Finnish. However, I didn't deserve the MVP of the game so I gave it to Rio because he had a kickoff return for a TD as well as an interception and his play on the field wasn't as crucial as what he did off the field. He was the main reason that the defense succeeded so much because he had them scouted to the T. So we got gold medals and championship hats. The Helsinki team didn't even stay on the field while we received our medals. I guess they were still in shock as many of the guys on our team were. After my shock and awe campaign the last time in Helsinki (where I dropped 7 td passes ) they had signed to US defensive backs to try to slow our passing attack down and they didn't blitz as much so they were trying to sit back and make me pick them apart....so I did throw somewhat, but I just checked to runs. There coach was calling our defense over rated and stuff all week so I think some of the guys felt good about the victory.
I won't even get into the ride home. I will just tell you that we listend to " we are the Champions" a million times. I'm typing to you now and all of the guys are waiting for me downtown so I must go. I will post again tommorrow so if you are reading and care, I will be home on Tuesday with another gold medal. And in the words of Coach Al Usher back in
1997 ....IT'S TIME TO GO STRUT, so that I must do.
PS: I was also in some sports magazine over here. I will try to get some copies of it and will bring them home. It just has some pictures of me in it and I will try to get a translation of it so that I can understand.
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
Well this week was the first round of the playoffs so we had the bye week. It was nice to not have a game and try to get everyone healed up. We tried to go on a cruise to Sweden this weekend, but the boats were full so we're trying for this coming weekend after our game. If we can't go to Sweden then maybe we'll go to Russia because its not too far from here. At least St. Petersburg isn't too far from what I've heard.
This week I went to a fair or something similar to a fair. There were people selling all kinds of stuff along with carnival rides, food, music performances, and an army display so that was pretty neat. It was in a place that would be similar to the Charlotte Merchandise Mart, but smaller. So we lifted like 3 days and Marlon is still in training for the Sauna Competition that will take place this week. Sorry, we're not accepting international bets. Then about mid-week they had an Art festival here in town. I didn't see any art, but the streets were more packed than I've ever seen them. Also, all of the students are starting to arrive back to town and there are some new faces around. I guess it is time to go back to school....being a graduate you know those things don't cross my mind. Then on Saturday Kari, the camera man for our team took Marlon and I to a hockey game. This was my first hockey game (or is it match). It was pretty neat to watch, but I don't think that I could ever play that...mainly cause I've never ice skated which may pose a problem. The first goal of the game was scored by an American. The game was in the big arena here in town and it will hold around 11,000 people.
As I spend much of my time watching the BBC News channel I saw the shots of all of the people in New York without power. I have 2 friends in New York that are checking the page, but I didn't see them on the news. It was weird to see that from over here. I also hope that no weapons dealer tries to get on my airplane in Heathrow or I may just have toget off and catch a later flight. In the first round the Crocodiles beat the Vikings so we will have to play them for the 3rd time this season in the 2nd round of the playoffs. This will be a home game and a TV game so we are hoping to be victorius again. I hear the Eagles whipped up on Marlboro County...somebody tell that to Darrin Bradford. Looks like we may be making another trip to Williams Brice this year. Also, I sent our first TV game home on video tape and they attached it for the first time last night. If any of you are interested in watching it and also seeing the new " Patterson Palace " then swing by there and check it out. I don't think they'll mind and if they do, tell them I sent you.
2 weeks and 3 days left in the countdown...
No game this week so no pics, I will have more next week.
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