Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here
So Mario had me running again everyday this week except for Friday and the one day that I don't go running he sees a deer in the woods. I have noticed that when we run we see these slugs crossing the trails and the slugs are huge. I've never seen any that big so its weird. Early on last week (Sunday) Will Smith was in Stockholm for the debut of his movie IRobot or whatever it was. Not only was he in Stockholm, but he did come to Tyresö and play a round of golf. Everyone was talking about that around here. They rescheduled some tournament they had for that day just so he could play 9 holes.
All the guys have been saying that while I was at home that it was raining a lot, but now the sun is out all the time so in their words " summer is here ". That is good because people are out everywhere just hanging out. I guess I would be too if I sat in the cold that long during the winter. We hung out with Ilija and his cousin a few times early in the week. One night we were out at "East" and this girl walked by and I called her " Paris " and yes we did end up dancing for a song or two. One evening we played putt putt at the local course in Tyresö and Mario and I both agreed that it may be the toughest mini-golf course in the world. If you think you are good at Myrtle Beach then you are nothing here.
On Wednesday we went to the Tyresö Castle and also to the beach. We had a guided tour by none other than Mr. Johan Rauge, who is a Swedish history buff, along with myself and Mario also added his knowledge on Swedish history during the tour. So with all of these scholars together the tour was pretty well rounded and I am surprised that we didn't receive job offers while touring. I have some pictures from the castle and the beach here. The beach is also different than from at home. I would say the differences are less clothes and no waves or sea shells, but other than that the principle is the same.
On Thursday one of the guys at practice told us to come by Berns which is a hotel that has a bar/dance room open at night time. So The Chief, Andre, Mario and I went to check it out. Since our guy was working the door we didn't mean to break in front of some people, but it just happened. Well, while we were going in we noticed a lot of Chinese looking people being around there mix with the Swedes. We went in and were hanging out for around and hour when we went to the restroom we noticed that it was " Tokyo weekend in Stockholm " because they had a sign on the door advertising it. This is explained why all of the Chinese looking people were there. I guess you would say Japanese rather, but anyways same difference. Mario saw 2 men in a business suit with a woman wearing a full kimono dress, but I didn't see her. Later on I told the guys that we should go out and check out this other room in Berns because this place is big and there was still a room that we had not yet been in. So we went into another room and this is where it got a little weird. Its going to be hard for me to explain this tactfully on here.
When we walked in (entering from the back of the room) I noticed that there were a bunch of people grouped at the front of the room. Then I recognized that they were watching a video on the movie screen, but I thought why was everyone so crowded at the front. Then we walked around to the side and could see what was happening. Let me try to explain here so bare with me. Ok this Japanese woman was laying on the stage with a gas mask and a rain coat on with 2 guns which had flowers on the ends of them and she was crawling like in Vietnam or something. There was music going on and a video screen behind her that was previously recorded and had a woman doing the same things that she was doing on stage. Like a routine. Well she got up and started doing a military march. At this point I turned and looked at the guys and they too were like " what is going on here " . Then she took the rain coat and the gas mask off as the music changed. Under the rain coat she had on this costume. Well the costume had a large upper end and it seemed to be cold in there as well and she wore another piece on the other end of the costume was some male anatomy, which had protection on it. Then these 2 guys walked out with kkk masks on their head and were also wearing white T-shirts with Japanese writing on them. They were holding a plastic chain from one of them to the other. So the girl, with the male anatomy suit ( it was red by the way ) hangs like 8 pictures on the chain. The pictures were of Osama, Sadam, Bush, France's pres, Japan's pres, The older Bush, Tony Blair, North Korea's president and the president of France. Then she was taking them off one by one and how can I say " reproducing " with the photos, but before she did this she had removed her protection and threw it in the crowd. Well she left President Bush up there to the end. She was singing the words to the song " Beautiful People " and they were randomly playing American music from back in the 60's in the mix as well. Finally she grabbed Bush's picture and looked at it real hard for a few minutes while she mustered up a huge loogie and then spit on it. Then she grabbed all the pictures and put them together and spit on them all together. On the backs of all the pictures it had the words "don't shoot". It was very weird to watch and it took me a while to figure out what she was trying to get across because at first it looked like another potential America Hate-a-thon. I guess it was a Tokyo performing arts thing and she was trying to say anti-violence because she equated everyone as being evil, but to me it was just like saying that she hated everyone, including her own president. This was only one of their routines, but we only watched 2 of their skits. Lord only knows how long these routines had been going on for. The other one that we watched for a few minutes was a parody to the song " The Age of Aquarius " which featured a Japanese guy with a globe on his head who wore a thong and a white bed sheet with random ornaments tied on it. To make it short I don't think I'll be going to Tokyo anytime soon. I would have given anything to have taken my camera with me so that I could have documented this spectacle, but I didn't so you'll just have to imagine the best you can.
So that night was extremely odd and I don't think I will forget it too soon. Throughout the week we practiced and boy these mosquitoes over here in Sweden are nothing to play with. I don't think they are as bad as Mississippi, but I think they are worse than South Carolina. Maybe its because they don't have as many people to bite, but for whatever reason they sure are out and about. On Friday night we stayed in since we had a game the next day. We went over to the O-coordinator's house and watched film on Stockholm and ate some food. He lives in the city and on the way driving through you could see all the people that were out.
We played against the Stockholm Mean Machines who are the #2 team in the league. I don't really know how to put it lightly here, but I guess I can just list the facts and you can draw from them what you may. The facts are that due to injury, vacation, wedding, birthday, funeral or whatever we took the field with 24 and the other team took the field with 44. They scored on the opening kickoff as they ran a reverse and had our whole team lost in the mix. We got the ball the next time and ran a counter and fumbled on the first offensive play. They then scored on a long pass about 5 plays later. I did however scramble one time and score. I did make some good throws in the first half, but either the pass would bounce off the guys shoulder pads or they would catch it and then we would get a penalty. I made some crazy throws falling backwards as well, but we don't really have anything to show for it. As I stated earlier it is just starting to be summer time here as far as heat wise and so the heat was wearing our guys down. Its not as humid as at home, but these guys aren't from SC so some of them were hurting out there and you can imagine with 24 that some of them were going both ways. We didn't get completely embarrassed in the first half as we were moving the ball and hanging in there what we could, but in the second half our guys gave completely out of gas and then they started running the score up. To top that off they starting blitzing in the 4th quarter which didn't help me out any. I also threw Europick #3 as I threw one up for the TE to make a play and I had gambled the wrong way on this one. One thing that is hard to adjust to is that if I let it fly like I have to at home then these guys won't catch up to it so I have to take some off sometimes and trust on my receivers making plays. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.
If you would like to get positives from the game you could say that our guys never gave up and this game was more of a test of character than anything, as Coach Wikstrom stated. Also, my heel did not bother me which is good news for me. The o-line did give me more time in the first half which was pleasant and because of this I was able to make some good throws so I think Mario is helping the guys out a little. The final score was 62 - 7 and I was glad to see the clock hit 0:00. I also met the American from their team. He played at Buffalo State and informed me that he had played in Italy and Germany so it was neat to share stories of our experiences with each other after the game. Also a side bit of info is that this week in practice our head coach informed us that he would not be returning for next season. This coming week we have to play the #1 team in the league who blitzes every play so it should be another fun game.
Then of course after the game we came back and ate and then all went out downtown. We went out to a Latina club for a bit and then to 2 others and yes I did cramp up in 2 of the 3. It was fun trying to explain to a Swedish person what a cramp is and why I just kicked them in the leg....hahaha.
Below are some pics that David sent me after he figured out how to resize and email. Check out the bottom pics of the turf field at Solna that should be banned from anything taking place on it.
now this chick was really feeling me
I thought I saw Paris Hilton
The above picture was taken at 4am.
Check out Haggar's pants
Me & Tofe (and his snake suit)
David & Rauge
The worst football field on earth
This week we were supposed to have a game, but the team we were scheduled to play is competing in the Euro Bowl so that game took precedence over a regular league game thus giving us an open week. Each year whichever team wins the league championship in their country gets a bid to the Euro Bowl in the upcoming year. Well last year at Turku we won so this year they are playing in the Euro Bowl series. The leagues in different countries across Europe intertwine the regular season games with the Euro Bowl games so it can get confusing. Anyways...Turku played against the Arlanda Jets from Sweden and beat them 10 - 0 this past Saturday and now will be heading to Moscow, Russia to play in the next round. So congratulations again to my guys in Finland. Many of them called me after the game and it was good to speak with the guys again. I hope they can pull it off in Russia as well. Now our upcoming game for this week is against who...none other than the Arlanda Jets. Yes, it seems like a coincidence to me too, but who knows.
Since we didn't have a game I did a little sight seeing. Some of the guys here took me around to different places in Stockholm to see some sights. We went to the castle as you will see in the pics. It was a pretty big place that sat right by a lake and seemed to be on the outskirts of town I guess. They have guards that walk around in blue to " protect " the castle. They walk with a unique step I might add. The king has a nice sized yacht sitting out back beside the castle as well. I did not go in for the tour because I'm too cheap to pay money for that. The pictures will explain the castle better than my words so I will just let you view them here.
So as you can see the King is fit to throw a good party if he wants to. Somebody said something about a single princess around their somewhere, but that doesn't necessarily mean she's good enough to be Mrs. Patterson you know. So after we did MTV cribs at the king's house we went into town and checked out where he works. There were guards there too and we just happened to catch them when they were changing. If you care to view a small segment of that then click here . There is more to it than what that video shows, but I don't have enough space on my server to put it all up there. So that was pretty neat.
After this we went to the highest point in Stockholm, which has a good view of the city. I put a span view of the scene there online too, so click this if you want to see it. I can't make the resolution to high on these for storage sake as well. If you look at it you will see a theme park on the right hand side of it right when the clip starts. They have a drop zone that is higher than the one at Carowinds. Needless to say I will not be participating on that ride when we go there. From this view I got some pics as well. Check them out.
We saw some more things as well in the city, but none that I thought I should put on here (picture wise that is )...for example we went by the embassy. This was all early in the week. I still did the general weight lifting and practice stuff too so don't think I'm trying to slack. I did receive a very nice package in the mail this week too so thanks Karen for throwing the hook up and I do mean the hook up. We also had some fun @ McDonald's this week. Check out the European version of the double nodd . However the double nodd was unsuccessful in achieving anything. Speaking of McDonald's ... I went into a McDonald's and was looking around when I noticed that they serve beer. I was informed that its only " light beer " so its ok. hmm. I was thinking of suing because they didn't offer low carb beer with the meals, which aids in making consumers fat due to lack of beverage options, but I'm not sure if I'll pursue it or not yet. lol. Since we didn't have a game some of the guys went on Saturday and scouted some of the other teams in the league that were playing. It was a pretty good experience, but I saw some turf that I am not looking forward to playing on. Then on Sunday I went down with the juniors and watched them play a game in Nyköping Sweden. It wasn't a bad ride. We had a pimp bus driver that Rauge interviewed. Seems he was a guru of facts on Thailand so therefore he gets his picture on the page and also because he also gave us a ride to McDonald's after he dropped the team off.
I know I have said McDonald's like 70 times now, but you don't realize how many McDonald's there are over here. They have a monopoly. You can find a Burger every now and then.
Also I saw some of the weirdest referees ever...check out the pics
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.
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