Clint Patterson's Blog


Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here

Week 4 / Game 1
This week it is starting to warm up to a more comfortable temperature.  I have been able to wear T-shirts outside, but at night you still need a coat.  Earlier in the week I got stopped by a Jehovah's witness in the subway and she handed me a tract/pamphlet (in English) and we had a discussion for a little bit.  She said she believed in the bible, but was not part of the church ?  I went downtown a few times this week and one thing that I noticed was that you have to pay in most places to use the restroom.  You even have to pay in Burger King and McDonalds.  Around mid-week I had to fill out my papers for obtaining my visa or work permit here in Sweden.  It was good to do this due to my previous record in Scandinavia so hopefully there won't be any more hang ups in the airports around here.  This week I also went to a practice that the Junior team had to see what that was like.  They practice at a different field than we do and so I went to the different location.  Ilija and I got a little turned around on the way, but finally made it there.  Getting to a new place is always a possible adventure when you aren't in a familiar environment.  Anyways, during their practice I noticed 2 deer that just walked out carelessly across the practice field like everything was cool.  They just mosied their way across the field and back into some woods.  I was tempted to try to pet one.  Finally on Friday night we went to a bon fire.  They said it was like a Swedish tradition or almost holiday that every year they have big bon fires on a certain day.  I was informed that it is a historical event that started way back when to keep the witches away and that the tradition is still carried on today.  The bon fire was held at a field near a pond and there were a lot of people out there as well.  The bon fire was not that huge in comparison to some I have been to, but yet was bigger than the annual Jamie Jowers Thanksgiving night Campout fire.
We did have our first game this week and I think the best way to describe it would be " less than stellar ".  We got beat 54 - 6.  The team we played was said to be the top contender in the league for the championship. They were way more physical than we were.  They pretty much walked the dogs on us.  We could not stop them running and they passed at their pleasure along with blitzing almost every play on defense.  It was like a scramble fest for me.  I was on the move so much that I could barely call the plays in the huddle because I had cotton mouth so bad.  Then I would try to lick my fingers to get a better grip on the ball, but might has well wiped my face cause my mouth was so dry.  I think I had my feet set for like 3 throws the whole game and the rest I was scrambling or sprinting out.  I got hit by somebody nearly every play.  I made a few good runs, but many times couldn't break contain enough to do anything.  One time a guy hit me and my chinstrap went up on my face and my nose started bleeding for a bit, but stopped shortly thereafter.  Some have referred to it as " The Passion of Clint " saying that they crucified me on the field and after the game some fans commented to me " you take hits pretty well " and " do you want me to call an ambulance for you "....just to give you an idea. So you can imagine I am pretty sore today and have several areas that I have to take care of.  Since this is my first game in a while all of my neck muscles are sore from not being use to getting hit.  However, our guys did not give up or give in and played until the game was over so I was at least proud of that.  I did sneak away with one Td pass that my receiver made a good play on in the corner of the end zone.  On a side note the referees in Finland weren't great, but these over here are on a whole different level by themselves.
Since 2 of the teams in this league are playing in the Euro bowl the league has been adjusting the schedule around a bit to accommodate their needs and we were suppose to play a game this coming week, but now we are not because of a schedule conflict.  So we have an off week which should give me time to heal up hopefully.   We will have to get a lot better if we want to compete for the championship over here.

Week 3
As you can imagine this week started off rough coming back from Germany and having to recuperate.   When I finally got my sleep straightened out I started back into my routine.  After 2 weeks of wearing everything I had, and much of it twice, it was time to wash clothes.  This was another experience, but I will say that the set up here is a little more efficient than the one I had in Finland... that never drained the water properly.  Over here they have a key and lock system for washing clothes.  Each person that lives here has  a lock specifically for their room number and it is stored in a grid on the wall in the laundry room.  This " grid " is almost like a bingo board or something.  It has sectors divided up into the dates of the month and is broken down into 3 hour sections.  So if you want to reserve the slot for Friday from 9 - 12 then you place your lock in that hole and leave it there until your time comes and then you go and wash your clothes.  When your time comes you take the lock out and then put it in the door that leads to the laundry room.  That door also has a main lock that everyone has a key to, but to keep people from stealing your clothes you have to put your personal lock in the top space that is also built into the door lock. This makes like a double lock.   Now I understood the principal, but not being able to read Swedish and they also put dates backwards here in Europe makes it a little difficult.  However, I had some of the guys explain it to me and I got it done.  I also hope I pushed the right buttons on the washing machine, but they came out smelling better so I guess I did.  They also have a machine in there that I have never seen.  Its like a roller or something that gets the wrinkles out of your laundry.  I don't even know the name of it.  Basically is has a cloth on it that wraps around  itself and you place your sheets or clothes on it and it pulls them in tightly and gets the wrinkles out.  It was neat to see.  Here are some pictures to hopefully help you understand.
Early this week I received official confirmation in the mail that Garth ( G - Funk ) Knight will indeed be gravitating in May.  I'm sure he will accept all gifts prior to, and after graduation, so send him something.  Rumor has it that it took a lot of prayer to get that boy through, but he did make it so what else can you say except... God is good.  hahaha.  The second half of the week here was dreary and rainy so I kind of stayed in for the most part.  We still had practice and are preparing for the game this coming week.  We still have a ways to go to be good.
At practice on Wednesday there were 3 people that came and stood on the field while we practiced.  Everyone was like who are those people, but it didn't take us long to figure it out.  These people came to do drug tests on our players.  After practice they had selected like 6 or so guys to take the test.  They wouldn't let those guys leave until they got it done either.  They ended up coming to the club house because some of the guys couldn't make ends meet for a while.  To me it looked legit and just like an NCAA drug test from the procedures that they were going through.
On Thursday I traveled with one of the coaches down to one of the southernmost points in Sweden.  A town called Malmö.  They said that Malmö is like the 3rd largest city in Sweden. It was a 6 hour ride (one way) and it was pretty neat to see the country side of Sweden and some of the coastline.  When we got to the very bottom you could even see Denmark from the shore.  It would be like being at Myrtle Beach looking over the ocean and when you could only see the horizon and at this point you would see towers and buildings.  To me that was odd to be able to see a different country in the distance, but they said that Copenhagen was right there.  We went to Malmö to watch a football scrimmage.  The Swedish national junior team had a scrimmage and this coach's son plays on the team so we went.  They played well and I think they even won.  I think they scored twice or something.  They play against the Junior national team from Holland on Saturday.  We got back at 4 am on Friday.  On the way I saw this building on the coast.  It is like some ruins of some castle like structure. 
I finished reading Numbers and Proverbs this week.  I was reading them at the same time and now I will start on Deuteronomy and Psalms.  I am jumping around a little bit I trying to cover some ground.  Numbers was tough for me to read because it was so much detail.  This week I also saw a hedge hog.  From watching that thing I don't think that they are intelligent creatures.  I also keep getting these Swedish pop-ups on my computer too, some of which are pretty hilarious.  I noticed that when cars ride by some are quiet and then some are loud, speaking of the tires against the road that is.  It is because they have special tires for the winter with small spikes in them and some people have changed over and some haven't.  They had these in Finland as well, but these spikes must be bigger or something because they are louder.  These people have 2 sets of tires.  One for the summer and one for the winter.
On Friday, Ilija and I went to lift weights.  After we lifted we went to get in the sauna.  Well there were like 7 kids in there and when I opened the door I noticed that it wasn't too hot.  These kids were probably around 13 - 17 years old.   I figured they didn't know what it was all about so I grabbed the water bucket and went and filled it up.  When I came back in they were looking at me like I was crazy.  I started to consistently throw water on the sauna heater and they were trying to be hard core, but pretty soon they started moving to the lower levels and when the lower level got full you could  hear them saying " ne ".  ( Ne means no in Swedish).  I just kept throwing and they kept saying " ne, nee, nee ! ".  I was laughing at them.  They sounded like a bunch of horses in there saying " neigh "  It honestly wasn't even that hot, but they started peeling out of there like flies.  Like two of them stayed the whole time and when the rest had left one of those guys looked at me and said " what are you Finnish or something? " .  I said yeah half Finnish half American how'd you guess.  So now I have a group of kids at the gym that hate me and look at me funny when I go lift. How great.  I had heard rumors that the Swedish sauna is not as intense as a Finnish sauna and I guess they were right.
So now its game week so we have to get ready.

Germany Camp
Well this past weekend we had camp in Germany.  It was a fun experience overall and was also my first time in Germany.  Everyday I stay up late surfing on the net and messing around and usually don't go to sleep until 1 or 2 am (European time).  Our plane to Germany left on Friday morning at 6:30 which meant that we had to be up and stirring around 4:30.  Since I have gotten into a small routine with my hours it was difficult for me to go to be early so I only got like 2 1/2 hours of sleep the night before we left.  We were scheduled to land, check-in, eat lunch, then have the first of 2 practices for the day.  I knew it would be a long and tiresome day with the sleep I got, but nevertheless I was still excited.
On the way to the airport I saw around 20 deer just standing out in the middle of fields over here. I don't know if its not season over here or if hunting is not a big sport, but the deer were sure out.  I also saw some tree house style deer stands which reminded me of back home.  We flew out of a different airport than the first one I flew into.  This one was much smaller and it would be pushing it by a long shot to say that this was a maximum security airport.  After we got our tickets we had to exchange money so that we could buy stuff in Germany.  This can get aggravating sometimes.  Could you imagine having to exchange money every time you wanted to buy something in NC?  It's not the same, but similar.  I think the flight cost less than 100 $ per person as well.  Also, our whole team didn't go.  I think we missed a few guys due to various reasons.
After 1 1/2 hours we landed in Frankfurt Germany into another small airport.  This airport, as well, did not hassle you  much either while traveling.  I didn't even get a stamp in my passport book that says Germany so I was a bit upset.  Upon landing it was obvious that it was much warmer than back in Sweden.  Over the weekend the whole team got sun burned.  The heat reminded me of home, minus the humidity.  During practices there was talk of being dehydrated, but I was thinking to myself these guys have no idea.    We took about an hour and a half bus trip from the airport to the hotel in Russelheim.   Along the way I noticed that Germany is very green and the scenery is somewhat hilly with a lot of farming going on.  I saw another deer and another tree house stand there in Germany as well .  It was like dejavu 2 hours later, but yet in another country.  They also had these big windmill turbine things in the middle of some fields.  The kind where the wind blows and they make power.  They were pretty big.  On the way from the airport we passed Wes Baiten (spelling) Army Base.  This is an American Army Base in Germany.  It was pretty big and sat right off the highway.  I believe I have some friends who have been there and told me about it.  Seeing a road sign that said anything about the US was weird.  I couldn't help but to think about Neil over in Iraq when I saw the base, wondering what was going on at that time and all.
Then we finally arrived in Russelheim and to our hotel.  The hotel was nice and had an internet station and sauna as well.  Yes I did throw more loylu.  Somebody had thrown in some eucalyptus in the loylu too so I , again, had flashbacks of Finland.  After we all checked in we walked down the street to get a bite to eat and wouldn't you know it that sitting right there was a Super Wal-Mart with a McDonald's on the inside.  Now though it was a Super Wal-Mart it wasn't as big as the ones at home and did not carry as many different products, but the set up was pretty much similar.  I did return and take my camera to get this sight documented.  I also noticed a sign that stuck out to my eyes that I got a pic of.  I remember seeing this sign in Switzerland as well.  That would be the " ausfahrt " sign.  It stands for Exit.  In Sweden they are called " utfart " and I have seen them just haven't gotten a chance to get them on camera, but now I have spoiled it so who knows.  On a side note, over the weekend I also noticed that many of the buildings and houses in Germany are made out of either stucco or concrete and that the water has a weird aftertaste to it.
The German exit sign Wal-Mart in Germany
After we ate we went back and got ready for practice.  We had a half-pads practice at 2 and then came back that evening and had a joint-team practice with the team from Russelheim.  They are called the Russelheim Razorbacks.  There practice and game field sat right beside a river and was obviously close to another airport because these huge planes kept flying over all day long and huge barges kept going down the river.  Both practices went well, but we did have a  lineman to get hurt during some of the drills so that wasn't good.  Their practice field left a little to be desired, but they did have a nice game field.  After both practices we went back to the hotel and got some food then just messed around for a while before going to bed.  The next day, Saturday, we had a morning practice @ 10 then we ate lunch together with the other team at the field.  After lunch we all just kind of laid around for about 45 minutes then we had a controlled scrimmage.  It was weird having lunch with the other team and all like that because the two teams talked and hung out, even did drills together, and helped each other out with football fundamentals.  This was unique because I was thinking there would be some tension, rivalry,  or " non-communication " in between the teams since we were about to scrimmage them, but it wasn't like that at all.  The other team had one coach from Canada and one coach from Washington State.  The majority of the people in Germany, like Sweden, spoke English well.  
As far as the scrimmage .... it was a controlled scrimmage in the fact that the Qb's were not live and each team only got 5 plays on then we switched sides of the ball.  Our team did well and got better as the day went.  It was tough to score in only 5 plays when you have 70 to 80 yards to go, but I think we scored once and the other team did as well.  It was difficult to sustain a drive.  I played decent, but did not throw any Td's or interceptions.  You could tell from watching the other team that  their guys were drilled on their defensive schemes and techniques.  They were showing one thing, then rolling to another.  They had some good athletes on their team, but I thought we hung in there well with them.  I had to scramble a lot and throw on the run.  We still have some work to do on our " hot reads " on offense, but we are getting there and hopefully we will have everything clicking well here soon.  Here is a pic of both teams after the scrimmage.  My team is the red team and I wore # 12 this weekend.  You can see how the teams are integrated here rather than each on his own side and the coaches were even standing side by side.  This is an example of what I was just mentioning.
Teams Pic
After the scrimmage we all went back to the hotel again and took showers.  We were in a hurry because we were late for the " power party " , which is basically a big tail-gating event before the NFLEurope game that we went to.  We saw  the aftermath of the power party though and I will say that it looked like they had a good time there.  We watched the Frankfurt Galaxy play against the Rhein Fire.  Both teams were 2 - 0 coming into the game so it was a pretty hyped up game.  I was interested in seeing the Qb play in this game as well.  I believe there were 27,000 people on hand and it was weird to be in that environment with nothing but other languages that I couldn't understand going on.  They say that American players make up  80 % of the NFLEurope teams.  The Rhein Fire had a hyped up Qb named Chad Hutchinson, who was the Qb for the Dallas Cowboys last year.  I was not that impressed with his play in the game, but he was under a lot pressure from the defense too.  When they brought the lefty in he moved the team down the field.  I was flipping through this game day program (which was in German) and was looking at the rosters to see if I would recognize anybody.  They didn't list the schools that the guys came from so that made it difficult, but when I was reading the names for the starting o-line I came across a name that stuck out to me.  Kevin Breedlove was right there in front of me playing right guard the whole night and I didn't pick up on it until about the 3rd quarter.  Kevin Breedlove played at Daniel High School in Daniel South Carolina and went on to play at University of Georgia.  I'm pretty sure that we graduated in the same year as well.  This was also weird.  The Frankfurt Galaxy ended up winning the game which was good for the home town I guess.  They do it up just like an NFL game.   I mean they have 3 sets of cheerleaders/dance girls, TV timeouts, American referees, mascots, loud music, did the wave, and a jumbo tron.  The fans were in all purple because that's the Galaxy's color and I was surprised at their support for their team.  I did take my camera to the game and get some footage of the game.  The only thing that I could say that was different was that the fans were blowing whistles the whole time.  I don't know if it's illegal to bring a whistle and blow it at a game in America, but I don't think I have ever heard anyone actually do it.  These fans were blowing on them the whole time.  Our guys had a good time at the game to say the least.  We got on the jumbo tron 3 times during the game because our section was so crunk.  We had a few guys leading some chants for the crowd.  Some of our guys were so hype that they had drunken Germans doing Swedish cheers for the Galaxy.  Neither them, nor I, had a clue what they were saying, but I did pick up on one cheer.  It goes Bira, Bira, Bira, ...Bärs, Bärs, Bärs...................Bira......Bärs and so on.  I think it has something to do with beer, but for whatever reason they were sure yelling it a lot.
I wore my shirt that said " Suomi " to the game.  Suomi means Finnish of course.  Well some guy came down there and asked me if I spoke English and I was like yes of course.  Turned out that he was from Texas and was playing ball in Europe too.  I think he said in Switzerland.  I didn't know they played in Switzerland, but whatever.  He had seen my shirt on the Jumbo Tron ( 1 of the 3 times that we were on it mind you ) and came down to our section because he had played in Finland a few years back.  He played for the Roosters though so I did let him know that they were de-throned as of last season.
Here are some pics from the game: (notice the beer guy who frequented our section with the latest technology in beer dispensing and Germans take a lot of pride in their beer I learned)
Beer Dispenser Guy
After the game some of the guys went back to the hotel.  As I was walking one of the guys asked me if I was going out and I told him that I didn't have any plans basically because I didn't even know where I was and I was an American in a foreign country, which these days puts you at a disadvantage.  He was like don't worry I know where to go and I will get us back.  So I thought to myself...ok this could be the only time I'll be in Germany so I might as well see what its like and after all Coach just said be there by the time the bus leaves.  After the night was over I was glad that I decided to go out with the guys too because we had a good time.  We went to a place called the " Halli Balli " or something close to that.  It was a nice place that played good music and it was big.  When you first walk in they take a picture of you and hand you a card.  Anytime you buy anything you slide your card and then when you leave you scan your card and pay for whatever you ran up.  I got out of there for around 9 euros.  Some of the Galaxy players came in there later on.  You could tell they thought they owned the place too.  I spoke with a few of them, but it was just " what's up", where you from " type of stuff.  I also spoke Spanish with some girls from Portugal, which was neat.  After this we got a cab back to the hotel and when we got there everyone was eating  breakfast.  We just filed right in line and ate then I went and took a shower and we all got on the bus and headed for the airport.  I was knocked out for this whole ride and then we did it all again and ended back up in Sweden around 9 am.  So that was a pretty long day for me.  I went to sleep at like 5 pm and just woke up at 10 am today.
Below are some pictures that one of the guys on the team was nice enough to email to me .....for your viewing pleasure that
A view out of the windo over Denmark
A view right before we landed in Germany
Me and Pearlan
Hasse och Oliver
The pre-scrimmage coin toss
NFL Europe game pics
We were on TV at the game
Chad Hutchinson
After the game the players thanked the fans

Week 2
Not too much happened during week 2 that is worthy of writing about.  It did warm up here though towards the end of the week so hopefully it will stay pleasant.  I got into somewhat of a routine this week.  That is staying up late talking on IM, sleep late the next day, lift weights, come back and eat, check email, then go to practice, eat, then start it over.  There are some deviations during the day, but that's the general schedule.  One thing that I have noticed again here, as it was in Finland, is that no matter how fast a car is going or at what point the color of the light is.....if you go to cross the street they will stop and let you cross.  They don't give you a mad look either.  I always double look and then hustle across the street, but here its more like no look and take your time.  I see people just walking out in the road and I think that they are crazy and about to die, but then the car will stop and let them cross.
Practice was ok early in the week, but we picked it up towards the end.  I feel we still have a ways to go though.  Sometimes its hard for me to adjust to the pace of the game here.  I will overthrow receivers big time or throw it when they aren't ready or looking because I am use to the pace of the game at home, but I will adjust and hopefully the receivers will too.  I guess it won't happen just like that.  So it may take some time.  I believe it took a little while in Finland as well so hopefully we'll all get on the same page soon.
So I can officially count to 10 in Swedish.  Now I can do it in Swedish, Finnish, English and Spanish.  Maybe I'll get German here this weekend.  I am trying to learn the basics of the language here so that I can get by, but really there's no need to because everyone speaks English.  I can say " excuse me " , "you're welcome " , " I don't speak Swedish " and " I want to have a good practice/game " in Swedish as of now.  I will have to build my vocabulary in hopes of aiding in tracking down females.  Speaking of seems I get one to two random emails a week asking me why I don't have a woman here yet.  I don't know what the big deal is and didn't known that I was supposed to be  in a hurry.  I'm trying to stay focused over here and my mama told me to be picky.  So if you have a problem just email her about it (or if you're married to her or happen to be her other son then just ask her).
So I finally got my shoulder pads and a helmet that fit.  I was hoping that I would get those soon seeing as how we leave for Germany tomorrow  With that thought I must begin to pack.

Week 1
After the scrimmage with the roosters coach gave the guys the week off because some were banged up and also because it is Easter.  On Monday I lifted weights and for all of my Finnish readers I did locate the sauna in the gym and did throw loulu, but it wasn't the same without Marlon by my side.  I had no one to talk to while in the sauna and felt as though I was breaking tradition or something.  Then for lunch I went with one of the guys on the team to the Tyresö Centrum.  Later on that evening my boy Ilija and I went  threw on the field.  It took me an extremely long time to get warm due to the coldness.  I couldn't feel my fingers for like the first 15 minutes.  We threw for about an hour and then went and ate pizza at a local place and caught up on old college days.  Can you believe that a medium pizza could cost 17 US dollars.  I have got to watch myself over here or I will be spending everything that I have without even knowing it.
Then on Tuesday I went into the city of Stockholm to meet coach for lunch.  I took a bus then a metro that took us underground and then we popped out in the dead center of town.  This  was a new experience for me.  I don't remember ever taking a metro before in my life other than in Venezuela or Atlanta.  So I finally saw some of the females that everyone has been talking about and no Pat and Adam I don't have any pictures of them  because I don't carry my camera everywhere I go.  The city really has a lot of stuff going on down there.  I will have to get some footage of that place because there is water everywhere, bridges, neat looking buildings and such.  There are also all kinds of people there as well.  I guess you could say melting pot if you want to.  Coach just showed me around and gave me the tour on how to get to different places though in relationship to the city we really didn't get too far because there is so much down there.  It was interesting and I definitely will be heading that way again.
When I returned we had offensive meetings here at the club house.  The offensive coordinator was going over the playbook and the routes, blocking scheme, cadence, and theory of the system.  I started to understand how things worked and hopefully I will have a handle on it sooner than later.  After offensive meetings I went with 3 of the guys to watch the movie " The Passion of The Christ ", which made my second time seeing it.  The first time was in Aramaic and English and this time it was in Aramaic and Swedish.  Though I could not read the words, I knew what was going on and even sometimes explained what was happening to one of the guys who went with us.  It was a pretty neat experience to watch it over here though the movie theatre was smaller, the ticket cost like 14 US dollars, and there were less sniffles in the crowd than when I watched it at home.
The next day offensive skills had a short practice.  Skills meaning everyone except the lineman...sorry big guys, but its the truth.  Anyways we were throwing and getting warmed up when one of our receivers popped his Achilles tendon.  It was pretty bad and he has already had surgery on it and will be out for the season.  He was in his starting stance and when I said " hutt " he immediately went to the ground.  I guess when he tried to take off it just gave way.  This kind of put a damper on practice, but we still made some strides.  I have to memorize the system quick or I will be in trouble, but I am getting there.  Hopefully I will pick up on things with more reps in practice.
I have noticed that here, like in Finland if I remember correctly, that the stop lights don't go from red to green, but rather go back to orange in between.  The lights also can sense when a car is coming so if you are alone on the road you will see the lights changing as you get closer to them.  Just a little factoid for you there.  Also, I mentioned that the people dancing in Finland looked as if they were catching full body cramps.  Well if they were cramping in Finland then I guess we can say that they are having seizures here in Stockholm or at least from what I have seen in the past 2 days that is a safe statement.
Ending up the week I have just been trying to figure out how to keep my laptop online and have been throwing the past 3 days in a row.  Ilija came through and got my laptop online for now, but its tricky on how to get it to stay online.  My arm is getting into better shape now that I have been throwing more.  Also this week I took the bus, to the sub to the city....hung out got on the subway from a different location then back to the bus and made it home.  That sounds like an ordinary day for someone who lives here, but for a country boy it was good to be able to find my way around.  I will post a picture of the subway routes so you can see what I am saying.  I think we have a few more practices then we are going to be heading to Germany for camp and a scrimmage against a team in  Russelheim. Our team is also going to go watch an NFLEurope game too because our coach has to scout the game.  I will be posting again before that and afterwards have a Germany trip entry as well. 

Rooster Scrimmage
It was very odd to scrimmage the Roosters today.  I did not play due to the fact that I've only been here for 2 days and I don't know any of the plays yet, but seeing that team in a different country was a weird feeling.  I did throw in warm ups though.  I recognized some of those guy's faces and even spoke with their coach before the game.  We were talking about last season and all.  He was telling me about his different strategies of stopping the Trojans because the first game they blitzed like crazy and in the championship game they backed off to stop the pass...neither of which worked out in the end.  I remembered his face from being interviewed on TV and this was the first time that I have ever talked with him.  See our offensive coordinator here in Sweden use to coach for the Roosters so that's how they know each other and how they lined the scrimmage up.  
Also, another pleasant surprise was the fact that my good friend from Turku Enes Becic came over and played with us in the scrimmage.  He is trying to get signed on to play here this season and its looking good so far so hopefully it will work out for him to be on the team.  One small note is that the team from Finland took the boat over to the game which was something different or at least in my eyes it was.  Enes also took the boat and we were talking about where to go to eat after the game and he mentioned that he was driving.  I was like what?..didn't you ride the boat too and he was like yes.  It didn't occur to me that they can bring their cars on the boat with them, but he did and he drove it in Sweden.  It was neat to see him again and also weird to see him playing with a different jersey on, but yet still on my team, and yet in a different country.
I also saw a guy named Timi who played on the Trojans team last year except this year he is playing with the Roosters.  I immediately recognized him and talked to him.  I think some of the Roosters were still bitter towards me about last year's championship so I just made my way down to my new team's sideline.
And for the scrimmage game...well the Royal Crowns didn't prevail, but did show signs of some things to come.  We got beat by a few td's.  The scoreboard wasn't on so I can't really remember.  I just know it was so cold out there that I thought it was going to snow.   The running back on our team broke a few ankles on some runs so that was tight.  I think we will have a good team this year once everyone on the team gels.  Coach says that there are a lot of new faces out there so hopefully we can make a good mesh and make a run at the championship.  For the overall scrimmage the team played a little flat I thought.  Hopefully that will change as well.  The Roosters had their Qb back from Germany that they all say is so great.  I won't lie..he did play well, but I don't think he's all that they built him up to be and if he is then he'll break the records I set in Finland.  I guess Mr. HomeAmerican Patrick Morton can fill us in on that one at the end of the season.  So overall I believe we can be better.  It seems there were a lot of mental mistakes and in the second half a lack of enthusiasm.  I will do my part to make things right for the scrimmage in Germany which is about 2 weeks away I believe.

The First Weekend

Now that I have been here for a few days I can catch up to what's been going on.  First of all it is very cold here and I have seen snow on the ground in some places.  The river was frozen in some places as well.  The first day I was here we went to the field to see it.  The field is near to the Centrum, which is the shopping center in the middle of the town.  The turf is better than any turf field in Finland, though the stands/stadium leaves something to be desired, but I would rather save my knees/elbows and skin than have a nice bleacher section.  After I saw the field the coach and I went inside the Centrum and ate.  We ate kebabs, which I haven't eaten since Finland either.

Where I am staying is like a 10 minute walk to the gym, to the Centrum, and to the field so its not that bad.  Zooming out on your mapquest view Tyresö is about 15 minutes (in car) southeast of the dead center of Stockholm. From what I can gather its in between Stockholm and the sea.   I would say it would be the same distance relationship as like Pineville to the dead center of Charlotte, only without the ocean!  I am staying in the clubhouse which is like where the main offices for the team are.  There are several rooms here like I said before.  The team has meetings and watches film here and there is one other guy that is staying here with me.  His name is Christian and he played D-III ball in Wisconsin so he speaks English very well and for that matter every person I've met here speaks English well.

So later that day I went shopping for some snacks around the house.  The stores here are about the same as they were in Finland.  They resemble themselves in the manner in which they are built and how they operate.  However things here are pretty expensive and as always when I'm in other countries I can never tell exactly how much money I am really spending.  The conversion here is like 7.5 crowns to the dollar so I freak out when a cheeseburger is like 50 crowns or whatever.  It may take me a while to get use to it and all of this metric stuff.  Whoever thought I would have needed to learn that stuff in high school.  Maybe I should have payed attention.

During the daytime it is pretty much cold in the shade and warm in the sunlight.  So later that night I went out with my friend from GWU, Ilija Sekulic.  Ilija was the star tennis player at GWU ( that is along with B-Shoc of course ).  He was also a computer major so we are pretty good friends from school.  You can imagine how crunk we were to be seeing each other again, only this time in his country...not mine.  So he came and picked me up and we went downtown.  The city is a very nice city and is lit up a lot at night.  We went to a Yugoslavian place and the music was different as you can imagine.  You may ask why we went there...well the females we were with wanted to go there so once again I was along for the ride.  We just hung out there for a while and then came back.  It was good to hang out with Ilija again and I'm sure we'll hang out more as well.  So yes the girls in the place did look good, but nothing to make me write on this page about yet.  That was pretty much it for the first 2 days until we scrimmaged the Roosters, which will be the next entry to come.





The Arrival

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.

  • There are a lot of Indians in London
  • A super sized meal in Europe isn't really that big and costs twice as much
  • You get like 2 cubes of ice in a drink
  • And there are no free refills
  • When I got ready to go to sleep...the sun started coming up

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.



Week 7 / Game 6

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?



2003 Sauna Champion - Marlon Grier

Meet the 2003
Turku Trojans Sauna Sit off Contest Champion
Mr. Marlon Grier

Marlon Grier - Sauna ChampionIt 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. 

Pre-Contest Interviews

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...




Clint Patterson

I also blog on other sites...

And contribute to OSS Documentation...

See my pics on UnSplash