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Well week one is coming to an end already. Today I went to lift weights with my friend Ennis (tight end) and Marlon. Ennis is from Bosnia and last year he played in Italy with former Gamecock Boo Williams. We went to a gym named Sali 82. It is a power lifting gym. It was fun and afterwords we sat in a Finnish sauna. Suanas are a big tradition for this country or something. We went to practice later that day. The coach told me that I would play one quarter at the game. I was ok with this seeing as I had just got here on Tuesday and really don't even know the system that well. Later on that night I got my first finnish massage from a girl on our hall. She just graduated from Massage Therapy School and yes it was nice. The guys here really look after us and are always calling to see if we want to do this or that or go here or there. Since its a little colder over here my sinuses have started acting up and I have the congestion or whatever. I have a small cough, but its getting better. I am learning some finnish too. I know about 10 words now and can convey to the people that I don't speak finnish and a few other key terms and words. They usually already know and can tell by looking at us and they will approach me in English. Finland as a whole is nice. It is cleaner and greener than back at home. More people are outside walking and stuff all the time, but maybe this is because they can only walk in the summer because during the winter it is too cold to leave their houses. I also saw some rabbits over here.....they look like rabbits on steroids or something. They are huge. Some of the guys took me out to a movie tonight. We went and watched The Matrix II. It was an ok movie I guess. Can you believe that the movie theatres over here have assigned seats. Not only that, but the movies were packed as well. They guys won't let me pay for anything either. Well we have our first game tommorrow and it doesn't even seem like game week to me. We'll see how it goes. All I know is that we are leaving at 9 in the morning and its late now so I better go to bed.
Well this was an experience all in itself. First of all let me start off by saying that I've never played on turf this bad before in my life. Tennesee Tech was close, but this beats all. There was no padding underneath the field and the turf had sand all over it, which would cut your skin if you fell on it. I got some turf burn on my elbow. We had about a 5 hour ride north to some town and played a team called the crocodiles. I was a bit nervous, because I knew I would play at least a quarter, but things turned out differently than planned.
Lets start with my equipment. I have some decent shoulder pads and I brought my rib pads. Now my helmet is loose a little bit and my pants don't have a belt so we duct taped them up and I wear a size 13 shoe and during the game I was wearing 11 1/2's so you can imagine how it was. The jerseys and pants we wear have sponsor patches all over them. Kind of like a soccer jersey would look or something. I will try to keep mine so that I will have it for the Turkey Bowl this year.
The older Qb was to start and I was to get a quarter sometime later in the game. Well on the first series he got a neck inury and so I went in second series and played the rest of the game. My first series in on the 3rd play I hit the Tight End down the middle for a touchdown. It felt good to finally have the feeling again, but I must say it was like playin C.A. Johson or something. I ending up throwing 3 TD's on the game. I passed for 243 yards and rushed 4 times for 44 yards and one of these was a sack. I think the guys like me or atleast I try to bring them together and stuff. Sometimes I wonder if they understand me. We won the game 28 to 0, but we should have scored 50 points on them. I was 10 for 20. After the first score I found out that I was also the holder for our team, something that I have never done before either. I held for all of the extra points and we made them all so I guess it was good. I am excited at the outcome of the first game, but I also realize that the competition was not that great and the game does go at a slower level. While we play we have to wear a big A on the back of our helmet so that the ref's will know how many americans are in the game at one time. It was kind of weird. I was also a captain during the game. One time I rolled out and threw the ball towards one of our guys and he couldn't catch it and it hit the referee right smack in the nose. He immediately dropped to his knees. They had to stop the game because the ref got injured, but he came back after about 5 minutes and fnished the game. Everytime I threw a TD pass I gave the lineman a tap on the helment or a five letting them know that they were doing a good job and I think they liked it. You can tell they are expecting me to be a leader and some of the guys on the team even told me that. I hope that I will do good enough to please them, but they seem happy as of now. The coaches told me that I did well for the first game...so I am happy for now. I mean I don't even really know whats going on with the system totally. The other team had a linebacker from Maryland and we talked a little after the game so that was neat. After the game we took showers and sat in the sauna that was in the locker room.
Now the bus ride home was something totally different. We stopped in the town that we were in at a local store and the whole team, including coaches got off of the bus and went into the store and bought loads and loads of beer. I couldn't believe what was going on. I happen to be on the phone with Mr. J.E. and Mrs. Karen Aldridge at the time and was telling them about this. So the whole team, except for Marlon and I got drunk on the way home. We had to stop the bus 3 times so the guys could use the restroom. We would just pull over on the side of the road and the guys would line up and just go right there. I may take my camera on the next game and take a picture of this because it is quite the sight (pictures of the backside only though so don't worry). The guys were singing and talking/yelling the whole way. Marlon had his Cd's on the bus and so we put in a Snoop Dog cd to make the guys be quiet and because we knew they would hate it, but they let it play all the way through.
After all of the stops we finally made it back to Turku. The team was half lit by the time we got here and these guys got off the bus and went straight to the clubs. Marlon and I got a ride back here and cleaned up a little bit then went out with the guys. Once you go downtown people are going every which a way so its hard to keep track of everyone. We got into 3 clubs, for free with no wait so that was nice. Many of the guys on the team are bouncers at the clubs. It's funny to see these people dancing in clubs because they really think that they have it going on, but if you were to see them, you would be asking yourself what in the world they are doing. Its funny to watch them. Just imagine a person catching cramps all over their body is the only way I can describe it. Yesterday was graduation for the whole country of Finland so it was packed. While we were out I met a girl named Maria and she was nice. She speaks 5 languages and is dark headed. There are a million blondes over here. I may just have to see about her. Everyone over here has a cell phone and it is always a Nokia because there is a huge Nokia plant here so of course I got the digits. And that was that for the night.
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