Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here
On Sunday of this week some of the fellas and I went out to a nearby lake and grilled out. It was pretty neat and relaxing. It was unique because we went out there at like 6 pm and stayed until like 10 pm and the whole time the weather was cool, but yet the sun was still out. The sun just hung in the sky forever and never went down. Usually at home you know it would cool down and shortly thereafter get dark, but here it cooled down and just stayed light. We did have an attempt at catching a fish, but nothing came of it. We ate hot dogs and hamburgers and just sat on those huge rocks. We bought some " American Dressing " at the store for hamburgers and its weird because I have never seen this dressing at home, but it did taste ok. Maybe its the secret McDonald's sauce...who knows. The only bad part was that my ankle was throbbing the whole time from the game. Turns out that we had 3 people with problems related to that great field that we played on last week. So I was hobbling up and down the rocks and we were throwing fishing lures at mallard ducks. It was the first day of sunshine like all week. I think when David came he brought the rain because this week was nothing but sunshine all week long.
Early in the week I went and got my ankle X - rayed to make sure that it wasn't fractured. It was an awkward injury and for that matter still hurts, but the location of the injury and how it happened was weird which made me curious. I'd never felt something like that before so they took me to get it looked at. Some fat guy fell on my foot while I was lying face down on the ground and his weight hit my heel right where the Achilles tendon attaches. The next day my ankle was all swollen and black and blue and started from the bottom of my foot and then went upward so I had to ice it. I could walk on my toes, but couldn't put much weight on my heel. I walked on my toes so much that my calf became sore. So we went to the doctor and after waiting ...ALL DAY LONG...they said it wasn't fractured so that was all I needed to hear and so I played this week. They didn't tell me what exactly was wrong with it, but just that it wasn't fractured. One thing I did notice that was different in the hospital here was that you pay a flat fee before they do anything and it covers whatever services you receive unless you stay overnight then they charge you a small fee per night. I think this is possible due to the taxes or whatever, but am not sure.
Since the sun was out and I knew my ankle wasn't fractured I went downtown a couple of times and yes I did have a pimp limp. This week they had this festival of restaurants I guess you could call it downtown. They were playing music and had a lot of restaurants in tents there and you could eat and just hang out. It seems when the sun finally does come out in these Scandinavian countries that any excuse to be outside is good enough. Though its warm it's still not that humid so its pleasant. As I was downtown I noticed the streets being overly packed. I kept hearing loud music coming from different directions. There were the like 14 flat bed trucks or dump trucks riding around playing loud music with teenagers, in what looked like sailor caps, riding around on the back of them drinking, dancing, and yelling. See the high schools were graduating over here and so a tradition that they have is to parade downtown in the streets and ride in the streets on trucks drinking and listening to music. You could smell beer in the air and many times they were throwing it at people. The sailor looking hats are there graduation hats so they don't look like our graduation hats at all. I remember seeing hats like this in Finland as well. While downtown and also while we grilled out, I saw like 7 hot air balloons in the sky at the same time. I don't think I've ever seen more than 3 in the air at one time and that was in Switzerland so that was a unique site. I think they were trying to advertise on the balloons near the restaurant festival as the balloons were relatively close to each other. This week I finished Deuteronomy and have started on Joshua and am in the middle of Psalms. My stats from last weeks game are posted on this link. The guys on the team said that the 9 td's was a record. The Game This week we played a team called the Sundsvall Flames. Sundsvall is a 6 hour ride to north Sweden. We had to get up at 6 am just to make it there by game time. On the way we had a debate on the bus in between me and 2 other American guys (with swedish residency) on the team. One is a player and one an assistant coach. They were trying to represent California and Maine. Its like what is there to represent you know They actually thought that California and Maine were better than the Carolinas. Don 't worry I held them off as there was no evidence that they could produce to back their arguments. After educating these outcasts we finally arrived and went to their field to check it out. They had a turf field with the good turf so it wasn't that bad to play on. The stadium sat at the bottom of a small mountain or foothill so the wind was only blowing in one direction. Before the game I had to get my ankle taped to support my heel. So I had a little extra support, but it still was hurting during the game. Sundsvall also had an American quarterback, but I'm not sure where he was from. The Dj before the game was getting everyone hype by playing some dirty south music on the speakers.
We won 60 - 35 in another offensive shootout. I ended up with 4td passes and a swollen ankle again. I got late hit two times and one of them was on a Td pass. We were finally able to establish a running game yesterday so that was good. The defense played better and caused a few turnovers and that was enough for us to hold on to the win. I split one of my receivers down the middle of his numbers and the ball popped off his shoulder pads into the air and so euro pick #3 occurred. One thing that is a terrible rule that they have in Sweden is that the referees bring new balls to the games and we are suppose to play with those balls. Well up until now they have not been bringing them and yesterday they finally did. So its like trying to throw slick leather squares to your receivers when we have perfectly fine, broken in balls right there on the sideline. I asked the referee about this before the game and he could not give an explanation other than the fact that " we were going to play with the new ones ". So as you can imagine that was great news to get like 3 minutes before the game. They have the slick, oily, film on them and are difficult to throw. I can't see a benefit to having this rule, but for whatever reason it exists. So now we are 2 - 2 and seem to have things on the up and up.
And in other Scandinavian sporting news the Turku Trojans of Finland beat the Crocodiles ( the team in the race with Solna to see who can have the worst turf in Europe) and are 2 - 0 and looking to make a run at the Maple League title again. Good luck guys and see if you can make it back to back rings this year.
Now I am returning home to the states for a month to work. In Sweden they have a month long break in the middle of the season. This is another thing that I don't understand, but for some reason they have a break in the season. I think its so they can vacation in the summer. So I am returning on Tuesday and will be home for a few weeks and then will return back to finish the season. Quite the schedule, but I have to do what I have to do. So until then I will drop my web page and pick it back up when I return for round two.
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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