Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here
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.
Can you believe that it's cooling down already? Yes last week it was hot and this week its already cold enough to make me wear long sleeves. I think that may be the fastest weather turn around that I've ever seen. This week we did lift 3 times again as usual. If we didn't lift during the day we would probably be pretty bored so thats like our usual routine.
When I started this site I started it to keep my family and friends back home informed on whats going on with me over here instead of writing everyone emails saying the same thing. Well I was informed that my site address got listed in the forum for our leagues web site over here. So to all of you people in Finland reading my site...Hello and don't laugh too hard at some of the stuff that I have posted on here. Its pretty neat to have everyone reading though. This week was the last regular season game for us. We played an away game against the Pori Bears. During the past 2 to 3 games the wind has been blowing pretty bad and it makes it tough to pass sometimes. We won the game 55 - 8 ...some like to say that we won the game 55 - Riio because one of our corner backs Riio (toasty posti) let a reciever catch a hail mary pass at the end of the half, which was their only score. Riio also mentioned that he likes strawberry jelly for his toast...hahahaha, just joking here. Can anybody guess JP's favorite flavor? I was 20 out of 26 for 336 yards and 3 td passes and that puts me at 34 td passes 7 rushing tds for the year and 0 picks during the regular season. We finished the regular season 9 - 1 and ended up 2nd in the league which gives us a bye this week..ie: an off week with no game. I am excited about this because I need to rest some. Have to let my body recooperate a little. After the game I talked with the Quarterback from the other team. He was an American and had only arrived here on July 4th. He was from Texas and went to Grambling State. He was a pretty nice guy and it was neat to talk with other another American who is doing the same thing that Marlon and I are doing. Then we went and stayed in Tampere for the night. We had a good time and it was nice to see a different city and be in a different setting. Riio and Mikko took real good care of us there and we returned to Turku on Sunday. Marlon and I are trying to get a cruise to Sweden lined up so that would be nice if it works out.
While I have been over here sometimes I've seen people playing finnish baseball and have always wanted to get some pics of it, but I never know when they are going to play so I haven't been able to. Well while we were playing our football game they had a game going on beside our field. I asked our camera man if he thought it was possible to get some shots of their game so that I could post them on here and he said that he would so when I get them I will be posting them. So thanks to Kari for doing that for me. I would try to explain finnish baseball to you, but its impossible for me because I dont even understand it. I just know that they dont pitch it from a mound...they just stand beside the person and toss it straight up and when it comes down they hit it. Kind of like a toss up drill if you've ever played baseball. The uniforms are quite different as well and I cant describe how the bases are...all I know how to say is that it is not in the shape of a diamond.
As of today we have like 3 weeks left and then I'll be heading back home. Hopefully we can win the championship...so until I get back somebody let me know how we do in the jamborees....GO EAGLES!
Pics from this week:
Finnish baseball pics
This week we lifted about 3 times about the usual. Its kind of tough to lift in season cause I'm always sore, but anyways. On Thursday I helped one of the guys move and man it was hot when we were doing that. We did that all morning, then I lifted in the afternoon, then had practice that night. So, I had a pretty busy day on that day.
Ever since I've gotten here I've been saving the big plastic bottles that I buy...you know like Coke bottles. One thing that they do here is recycle. Its pretty neat how it all works so I will explain. Pretty much any bottle you can collect be it glass or plastic is recyclable. You just save them up and take them to the stores that accept them and slide them through this little hole. The hole has a conveyor belt that takes the bottles and separates them and all. The bottle gets scanned and whenever you are done you hit the green button and out comes your receipt. You take the receipt with you and whenever you check out you have them scan the receipt and thats how much money you get off of your purchase. I think I got like 7 dollars off from 14 bottles or so. I believe that is one of the reasons that this place is cleaner than at home because the drunks will pick up all of the bottles and recycle them. That may be promoting drunks, but I guess at least they are keeping the place clean. So I've been seeing all of these posters around town forever that say "Tall Ships Races" and I was wondering what was going on. Well towards the end of this week I saw a bunch of sailors walking around the city. At first I thought it was just "European fashion" ...again, but turns out that it wasn't. There is a race of ships that runs a course around the Baltic and Turku was the first stop on the journey. The ships ranged from very small to very large and there were many nationalities represented. One of the biggest ships was from Mexico. All of the boats were docked on the river that goes through town and you could tour the boats all weekend and stuff so it was pretty neat. Every boat had a sign on it and flags and told you where they were from and what class the ship was in. So I boarded the Mexican ship and of course I was flowing in spanish with those guys. I asked them if they thought they would ever meet an American white guy, in Finland, that spoke spanish. Of course they said no. I threw some spanish words that only exist in Mexico in there for them just to let them know. It was pretty neat seeing all the ships and those things are pretty big, but I don't think I could stay on one of them for 7 months, which is how long the voyage for these guys is. There was an American ship, but it was small and to be honest I walked everywhere and couldn't find it. Only the big ships were available for touring so most of the small ships were unmanned anyways. These sailors stayed in town for like 5 days and on Sunday there off to another port.
This week we played the Seinajoki Crocodiles. This is the same team that we played in the first game of the year. By winning this game we secured a bye in the first round of the playoffs. This was our last home game of the regular season. When we first played this team I thought they weren't that good, but all week the guys had said that they had gotten in some new players and some of their players had returned from other leagues or from their vacation. There was also a rumor that some of their guys were injured. The rumors turned out to be true as their American linebacker had a broken hand or arm. I couldn't tell I just know he had a cast on. The wind was blowing very strong at this game which made it tough to throw when the wind was in my face. In the first half I didn't really play that well. I came close to throwing my first pick and I also made some bad reads. I had some td passes dropped as well in the first half. We had at least 100 yards in penalties and never really got good field position in the first half. Our defense was holding them pretty well though. The second half was better as I threw 3 td passes and ran 1. I ran over a guy on our sidelines too. We ended up winning 52 - 3 in a flag laden, swirly winded, long game. We now have one more game left in the regular season and its an away game in Pori.
Here are some pics from this week
This week was another routine week. We lifted on Tues-Thurs so I'm still trying to get swole, but I don't think its working. On Monday, we grilled out over at Patrick "Home American's" house and that was fun. We ate and solved the world's problems for a while. On like Wednesday while we were eating downtown I noticed these weird looking people walking down the street. I went out of the restaurant and into the street and it looked like all the people from Braveheart were marching down the street in a parade. This wasn't a parade like the Watermelon Parade either. I was talking to the people in the street and they told me that it was a Medieval parade. It was a short parade, but nevertheless interesting. We also ran into some more America haters on Wednesday night. One guy told us that he was going to murder Bush and then some other people told us that all Americans were cocky. We tried to tell them differently, but since they had there minds made up already there was no hope. We usually only hear this from people when they are drunk. So that made for an eventful night. We also went and watched the movie "Hulk" in the theater over here. It was pretty good I guess. It had a lot of science and technology in the movie that was kind of neat. I also have to take back one of my earlier statements....I had said that there are no Wal-mart like stores over here. Well I finally found one that is very similar to Wal-mart. I think I'm going to go back there to go shopping soon. That was about it for all of the interesting things over here this week. We are still seeing the drunk zig zag walk all the time, but thats not anything new.
This week we played the Vaasa Vikings. We had played them before if you remember and that was the game that I got a little light headed. This game was Marlon's first game back in over a month and let me tell you it did make a difference. He layed about 4 vicious hits and I mean they would be big time hits in the US. He hit their qb from the blind side one time and he coughed the ball up and one of our d-lineman caught the ball and scored. I was glad that I wasn't that qb. We won this game like 62 - 6 and I didn't play the last quarter. I threw for 193 yards and 3 td passes with 3 running tds as well. This puts me at 28 td passes and about 6 running. The defense played better since Marloncwas back and we're hoping that they will continue to play well and I finally got one of my receivers to read "hot". If you know anything about football then you will know what I'm saying. After the game our coach told us that our season starts this week. He said this trying to relay the fact that the team we play this week will be good and that from here on out we will have to play. This was our last game in the month of July. We now have 5 weeks left and 4 games since we should get the first week of the playoffs off since we should finish in the top 2 teams in the league. We have to play the Crocodiles again and the Pori Bears again. We have played both of these teams before and won so we should win if we play well against these teams again.
Pics from the game
TD to my tight end Suopa
Well this week got started off to a normal week, but my hamstrings were a bit tight. So when we went to the weight room on Monday I did some straight leg dead lifts to stretch out my hamstrings and wouldn't you know that I strained a muscle in my lower back. Just my luck so I could hardly walk Monday night and have been sore all week. I couldn't move too well so I didn't practice on Tuesday, but finished up the week practicing. My back does this like 2 times a year and needless to say...I won't be doing any more dead lifts while I'm over here. I didn't lift too much for the rest of the week
This week we saw 2 girls just using the non-existent facilities on the sidewalk in the middle of downtown. These people will just about do anything when they are drunk I think. I mean we were walking right by these girls and they don't giggle, hide, or show any embarassment. I think Marlon and I were more embarassed than they were. I also saw another scuffle this week between a drunk man and a sober guy. It wasn't really enough to call a fight. The statue guy was smoking a cigarrette this week so its official that he's fake.
We also went to the pool one day and went to the beach on another day. While we were at the pool we went into one sauna and we were seeing who could take it the longest, while we were constantly throwing more water on the coals and people were coming in and as soon as they sat down they would get up and leave cause they couldn't stand it. We couldn't stand it for too long either. Its weird when you go to the pool or beach with Marlon because he's so big and ripped that everyone is staring at him. Not being white also sticks him out a little too, but I would venture to say that there are benefits that come along with being different.
Since my back was sore I spent most of the week trying to rest it and laying on my bed and pretty much going to every internet site possible. The muscles will loosen up if I lay in one spot for a while so I was doing that along with getting massages and stuff so it did loosen up for the game, but its still sore now... As for the game, we won 42 - 0. The team we were playing hasn't won a game all season so this was what we expected to do to them. I don't feel that I played that well because I was getting to my reads late and just couldn't seem to find the right guys or something sometimes. I threw some off my back leg when I didn't have to and so I need to get my mind right. I got off to a bad start missing some guys I should have hit in the first quarter, but I did finish strong as I had 5 td passes, which makes for 25 so far. My back was getting tight towards the end of the game and I hope it loosens up all the way pretty soon because I don't like playing tentative like that. It was pretty hot out there today. Its not as humid as back home, like I've earlier stated, but to be out under the sun in black jerseys, going as hard as you can still takes it out of you. This is the first "football season" that I've ever had during the summer. I drank a lot of water the night before the game and after the game so I was ok. This upcoming week we have to play the Vaasa Vikings a team that we have already played. We will have to play well against them, but should be able to beat them if we play right. Word on the street is that Marlon Grier may be staging a comeback/breakout appearance in this game. I hope he does and I hope that he doesn't "re-pull" his hamstring cause we could really use him. There have also been rumors that I'm being fined by the federation for my personal foul penalty. If that is true I will appeal it and take it to trial based on the referee's lack of knowledge of the English language.
So while many of you were at the Watermelon parade I was playing ball in Finland. I mean last year at this time I was on a "Tucker Lumber - Check out our studs float". I remind you we did win #1 float last year as well. I won't comment on the watermelon mile. I heard rumors that Mark Tucker was going to ride the float this year and have the theme " We're sold out of studs, but come check out our spindles"....hahahahhaa, those words came from his mouth not mine so dont send me any hate emails. I think this is one of the few festivals that I've missed, but I know you guys got a long fine without me. Afterall whats Pageland with minus one redneck....still Pageland. It would have been nice to be there though, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Hopefully the boys are pumping some weights in the "Central Steel Mill" and getting ready to make a state championship run again. The weight room would probably be open more if Round didn't have to run those maters to Columbia, but they better be working hard cause this looks like it may be my first season where I can watch some games. I think another championship would be appropriate about right now. Well I better run to get some food. Hope all of you who are reading, (that is both of you...mama and big frank) are doing well.
Some pics from this week
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?
On Sunday of this week, I went with Enes to one of his friends house and we grilled out all afternoon. It was fun and relaxing as we had 3 rotations in the sauna and made hamburgers. Then on Monday, we worked out as usual then in the afternoon we went to run at the track. While we were running Marlon pulled his hamstring which was a bad sign for the upcoming game since they were suppose to have the best running backs in the league. Our other linebacker was banged up from last week as well.
Friday, as you know, was July 4th, but there was no fireworks display anywhere to be found. We were telling everyone about it though. I don't think they really cared. This week I went to the movie BASIC and I really liked it. I know it was probably playing at home like 5 months ago or something, but nevertheless if you haven't seen it I recommend you watch it. This week I also finished the book that my preacher gave me at home called "The Spirt Driven Life" by Rick Warren. You all know me and how much I like to read so for me to read a book it must have been pretty interesting...and it was. It only took 40 days and was about 5 to 6 pages a day. The book makes you look at things differently and gives you a different perspective. I also recommend that you check this book out. I ate some different foods this week over here too. I ate some lamb pasta and reindeer pasta.
Saturday evening Marlon and I went to get some food and on the way we saw a woman die. She was an old woman that collapsed right across from the restaurant where we were eating. She just fell to the ground and the paremedics came and did chest compressions, but in the end they just covered her with the blue sheet and that was it. That was the first time that I've have ever witnessed the last seconds of a person's life. Needless to say my apetite was shot. Then when we finally got our food there was a drunk guy who came in the store and was ordering food. When he heard us talking in English it caught his ears. He came and sat down at our table and asked us where we were from and all so we told him. He then proceeded to tell us that he "hated Americans" and that we had no business in Iraq. We realized he was drunk and so we just let him speak his peace. He also told us that "we weren't the war machine in our country and that he had no problem with us, but that he still hated Americans". He shook our hands got his food and left. I really don't think that this guy wanted to do anything because he was a skinny white guy, who was drunk and also just the sight of Marlon is a pretty good deterrent. Needless to say I was glad that Marlon was there.
Our game this week was on Sunday at 6 in the evening in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. We played against the Helsinki Roosters, who are the defending champions. They had a turf field. This game was on TV, I believe on the finnish sports channel or something. Some of the guys are suppose to be recording the game for me so hopefully I'll have a copy to bring home. This was my first time playing a game on Sunday and let me start off by saying "thank God for rib pads". I have never taken so many shots in one game in my life. It was raining before the game so the turf was wet and the balls were a little slick, which is always great for the qbs you know. The other team won the toss and elected to receive. They set the pace when they scored from the first play from scrimmage on a 60 to 70 yard run. I knew at this point that it could be a long day. So then we had offense and started on the 20. On our first play I got flushed right and threw a bomb for a Td, only to get it called back because one of our recievers was on the line and he wasn't suppose to be. The guys were really excited about the play and it would have been a big momentum shifter, but as you can see we had to move backwards 5 yards. This is when they started pounding on me. As I am writing to you right now I feel like a train ran over me. It seemed like our offense was on the field forever, but we kept inching away at them. They were getting a lot of penetration early in the game and I don't think I had my feet set but about for 5 throws the whole day. Every time I released the ball I was getting whacked and I may have gotten up slowly, but I did get up. When we went in for half time it was like 14 - 7 or something. Though we were playing bad we were still in the game and had just missed 2 opportunities at scoring. This was our first actual game with some competition of the year. We played yesterday without 7 players that will be here in a few weeks due to work, vacation, or a hamstring. In the 2nd half my feet really began to hurt me. Since the guy at the post office in America didn't read my address correctly or he didn't know that Finland was in Europe and didn't put it on the package my turf shoes didn't make it here for the game. So I had to wear the size 11 1/2's again....and I wear a 13 just in case you forgot. Having to scramble so much my feet had to work a lot and my toe nails are starting to turn black. One good thing was that they started to get tired in the 2nd half and I got a little more time....say instead of 1 second I got 2. However, I was proud of our guys and especially the lineman because we never gave up and sometimes the defense didn't put us in situations that looked to promising. I thought that was a good sign of our character. We had a lot of lineman going both ways so I know that they were tired and since the rain had now stopped and the sun was back out it was pretty humid.
The offense played better in the second half, but its still a bad sign when your most successful plays are the broken ones, but we kept fighting. By the end of the game I could hardly walk and I was just waiting for the clock to hit :00 so that I could take those shoes off. The final score was 35-28, as we took our first loss of the year. I had my fourth of July celebration over here on their field though dropping bombs everywhere. I was 25 for 50 for 420 yards passing. I threw 4 td passes officially. I threw 3 more that got called back due to penalties ( 2 of which were over 50 yards ) and I had one pass dropped in the end zone. In Finland you can get away with some throws that you normally wouldn't get away with in America so it makes it interesting. Thats 7 td's that they saw and one that they should have seen so they know the writing is on the wall. During the game they had one guy break his arm and another guy tear his achilles tendon. We also had our free safety get hurt in the first half and was out for the rest of the game and our other linebacker got hurt in the second half and was out for the rest of the game. So as you can see our troops were not in full force, but we still made it a game.
As for their running back that gets all the hype... he may be the best running back that we've faced over here, but he would be 3rd string at home. He only has one move and decent speed and runs high. I think Marlon will be dreaming about him now. You could tell they respected our defense cause when he scored he acted like he scored against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or something. I wasn't that impressed with him overall, but he will be the one we have to stop to win the championship. Nobody layed any wood to him, but I think that will change if Marlon's hamstring gets better. The turf did burn me up some and I got some bruises, but I will make it. The game was a 3 hour 15 tv broadcast which I will try to get a copy of and send home. I think we may have a game in the championship.
No pics to post from this game as my camera man is in Washington and New York, but I will have more soon hopefully.
Well this week was pretty much the routine week except we didn't have practice on Wednesday. I got the spider webs out of my head along with the clouds and remembered the plays again. Our practice on Tuesday was not good at all and the offense wasn't clicking that well. On Thursday though we had 35 people at practice and everyone was getting after it and it went well. Marlon, Enes, and I went to the beach over here this week, but this isn't a beach like you are imagining. No waves and not that much sandy beach area, but the girls were still out and a lot of people take their dogs with them to the beach. They do have the volleyball courts though.
The longer I stay here the more eccentric hair cuts and clothing styles I see. This week I saw multi-colored mullets, mohawks, and some sonic the hedgehog resembling hair styles. The girls in the restaurant that we eat in all the time are starting to know what we like to eat now and so they pretty much don't even ask us what we would like, they just make it when we get there and they know what we will drink we like so they make those as well. And yes we get the big glass. Its usually a chicken type pasta or something in that place and the food is pretty good.
I also did have a small outing this week. We went to eat at this restaurant in a small town near to here that is right on the sea (again no waves though) but it was nice. It was a place where the ships dock...kind of, but there were nice restaurants there. On the way I saw the castle that the president of Finland (a woman) lives in during the summer. It was big from a distance. The food was good too. I think I got full, hold on I'm not sure though. Did you know that you are not suppose to eat pizza with your hands? I didn't either, but I was informed and I didn't mind listening to the informant and you wouldn't have either. So going against my nature, I ate pizza with a fork. Don't worry we are still working out in the gym everyday and sitting in sauna's daily. This week we went to a track and ran and threw the ball a little bit. I forgot how good my hands were until these boys challenged me. You know I had to prove them wrong.
In our league there are 2 teams from Helsinki. The Roosters are the defending champions and the other is the Wolverines. We played the Wolverines yesterday and beat them 56 - 8. This was the first time that our defense has been scored on this year. They threw a lucky bomb/hail mary type pass and scored. It was a pretty fun game. I threw 4 official Td's in this game and I don't know about the yardage, but you can check the stats link around Wednesday. I also ran a 2 point conversion on a naked bootleg off of a sweep fake. I did throw one Td pass that got called back because the ref said my knee was on the ground again. It was about 15 yards or something as I was falling. It was a close call but I'm not sure again on this one. Another pass I rolled to the right on was dropped in the end zone and I took a shot on the play, but its ok cause we scored soon after that. We have put in the shot gun this week and it helps me see the field better. Because the linebackers keep trying to blitz us, I put in a screen this week at practice and it worked well in the game once we got everybody on the same page. My neck muscles are sore now from taking some hits yesterday, but I'll just have to get a massage here sometime. The defense had to play a long time yesterday when usually they are on for like 4 to 7 plays and then off. I think it was good for them though. Offensively we played better I thought. We didn't make too many mental errors and had only one offsides penalty. So next week we play against the Helsinki Roosters, the other undefeated team in the league and many say that it will be us versus them in the championship. They supposedly have 2 good running backs, but you know me, coming from Central...I will be a good judge on how good of backs they are. I hope we have the same intensity in practice as we did on Thursday of last week.
So everyone went out Saturday night like always after the games. Once again the guys are nice and really take care of us. Marlon was MIA by this point, but I think he was seduced...not sure though. We went and shot pool, then grabbed some food then went back and fourth from clubs for a little while. I had some girl tell me that she would die for me. She didn't even want to dance, just wanted to compliment me and let me know what she thought. Now there was a slight chance that she was intoxicated, but I'm going to go with my gut feeling and say that she was sober and that she shares the same feelings of many females in this city. I saw a lot of pretty women, even talked to a 33 year old hottie, saw a fight, and talked to a guy who played soccer at USC Spartanburg. He didn't believe where I was from until I showed him my license. They even played against Gardner-Webb in soccer. After I left the club I went and found Enes, who was working at a nearby club as a bouncer and we went and ate Kebabs. At home we would go to waffle house, but here they all go eat Kebabs. It was neat and even though it was like 4 in the morning, it was bright outside. I thought that Rod, Coach Mangum and I were about to go fishing or something...thats what the sky looked like. By the way, those 2 better be practicing up while I'm gone if they want to be on the same level that I'm on when I return. So that was it for this week. We have a big game this coming week and will be able to tell how we stack up against the defending champions this week. It's probably time for me to start washing my clothes.
*(and yes the site went over 1,000 hits this week)
Also BIG PROPS to Andy Polk, (currently on the hill) for dropping bombs on the message board this past week. That was some serious knowledge.
Well this week was our off week for the season. This didn't bother me that bad because obviously it was like a week off. We only had practice one day so that was ok. We did the normal lift weights and sit in the sauna Mon-Wed. Wednesday night we went to a club and saw Miss Finland from last year and yes she was fine standing about eye level to me. However, I wasn't going to let her think that she was good enough for me to talk to or something. She was being harassed enough as it was, but then again..she was fine. I almost witnessed my first Finnish street fight as well. Some drunks where harassing a man at his hamburger stand and he did shove the guy and they were about to get into it, but then the cops came and arrested the drunk man before any dukes were officially thrown.
On Thursday afternoon we left for a town called Pori, which is where my head coach lives. In Finland they have a festival in the summer that is basically called "midnight summer" or something to that effect. Its the day with the longest amount of sunlight and marks the middle of the summer. They say it is tradition to go to people's summer cottages/cabins and celebrate. So on Thursday evening we went to the golf course where they were having a tournament that my coach played in. I don't think he won, but he did beat JP so its all good. After that on Friday we went to the cabin. We had to ride about 20 minutes or so and we were deep in the woods sitting right on the baltic ocean. Now this ocean is not like the ocean that we have at home. I didn't see a beach, but this may have been due to my location. I do know that our water never gets that cold though, specially in the summer. I think they must feed their mosquitos protein powder or something because they are big and they are plentiful. It was a job to keep them off of you, but we did have some OFF with us and a grill going and some candles and things so the combination of smoke and off helped keep them down. And yes, the cabine did have a suana in it. This one was a wood suana though which is a little bit different than an electric suana. They say it is tradition to sit in the suana and then go run and jump in the ocean. Now before I came here one of my friends,(PGA Champion) Paul Tucker gave me some advice. He said "no matter what they tell you, don't jump in the Baltic Ocean". Well sorry Paul, I had to go against his advice and jump into the ocean with the rest of the guys. We sat in the suana for so long that when we came out we were steaming like we were on fire, then we jumped in the ocean and it still took my breathe. I could only stand to be in there for like 25 seconds then I had to get out and go directly back into the suana. What had seemed to be so hot, now seemed nothing. They also brought some leaves in off of this certain type of tree and put them on the rocks of the suana. These leaves gave off a fragrance that opened up your sinuses and smelled like aroma therapy or something. It was pretty neat.
I did go fishing on the Baltic ocean though I didn't catch any fish. This could have been due to several factors. My fishing guide was slack and claimed to know where the fish were. Instead of finding fish, I found water all over my back from the wakes of the waves. I didn't have my own rod and reel, which we all know is crucial and I couldn't feel my fingers for the second half of the trip in the boat. Not to mention that this wasn't one of my frequent fishing holes.
We did get to eat some different things while we were there too. We ate perch, salmon, and heron or something like that and some of these were raw. I had trouble getting some of these raw fish down, but I did try them. You can see the pics for better explanation. We grilled out and ate hot dogs, sausages and everything. The people were all nice and we were always outside doing something or listening to music. There must have been about 15 people in all. Mainly everyone was chilling and relaxing. We did play spades and representing the USA, Marlon and I did win 20 euros off of some Finnish patrons. We were also taught about our government and all of the political issues at hand. After a long day on the ocean here's what JP had to say about one topic Click . I never knew that we, the USA, are wrong in everything that we do, but I was informed of it all day long. Nah, just joking we had a good time though we were outnumbered.
Trying to get to sleep was another battle in itself. Marlon and I both slept with cans of off in our hands, but still suffered bites from these cornfed mosquitos. I tried to cover my body with the blanket , but this just made me hot...so you could see the dilemma. After overcoming the magnified snoring and afer the singing of 2 strangely dressed Finns we were able to sleep for a few hours. We stayed at the cabin for 2 nights.
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