Read the thoughts and musings of a cultured redneck here
This week was a pretty good one. On Monday we ran and lifted as usual. Since I had the camera I took some pictures of the buses & subways that we ride and just random pictures to give you a feel for what we are seeing on a daily basis.
We were riding a boat to get to the Vasa Museum and it was pretty neat because our bus passes also work on the boats as well. So I was able to get some good pics off the boat. You will see pictures from a Theme park called Gröna Lund. Now they have a drop zone which I also got pictures of, that makes the drop zone at Carowinds look like child's play.
So you see we were on our way to tour the Vasa museum. This is a museum of a sunken ship that was recently recovered off the coast of Sweden. We " almost " toured it as our ultimate guide was confused about the time that the museum was open (we are still planning on going back). However this is what the museum looks like from the outside and here's a picture of Mario and our unnamed ultimate tour guides (Oliver & Chief) pointing towards the sign. * Names have been altered for personal protection due to disgrace of being Swedish and not being able to read Swedish times
Since we were downtown and the museum was closed we figured we'd walk into town and mess around for a little bit. While we were walking I got more pics of the scenery.
So that was Monday and was the day that I went crazy with the camera, thus all the pictures. Monday night when I got back I noticed that some Spanish guy had added me to his buddy list on MSN. I began speaking Spanish, but no one responded as it was kind of late when I authorized access on the buddy list. That was kind of strange then on Tuesday morning before we went to run I received an email from the guy. It was a team in Barcelona Spain wanting me to come play with them this coming year. The guy thought I was still in the states when he was emailing me so he couldn't figure out what I was doing up at 4am checking email. Anyways we got on the messenger later that evening and I talked to him for about an hour and a half and he was filling me in on the details. Their season is earlier than Finland and Sweden's and so he said he would want me there in January. At the end of the conversation he said " from what I can see your Spanish is very good " so it was good to be able to converse with him in Spanish and hopefully that will give him extra incentive for wanting me to come. However I didn't sign or anything like that because I still don't know what exactly I will be doing, but its neat to know that I can visit another country if I would like to. Then again I think when am I going to get a real job. Who knows what will happen. Other than that nothing much happened exciting on Tuesday besides lifting and practice. On Wednesday we lifted again and then bummed around as it was raining a bit and then later that evening Mario Santos had us over to his place to eat. It was good to visit with them and eat at their place again. This is the same guy that had me and my cousin David over to eat. So we just hung out over there and he's all into cars so he and Mario were speaking some kind of language I'm not familiar with. Thursday was haircut day and just running and practice. Not too much else worthy of writing about for Thursday. Now on Friday I will to say that we were rolling in high cotton as I have told some of you. Working the connections we were able to be on the list to the annual Crayfish party at the US Embassy here in Stockholm. They said that this is a 30 year tradition. Mario, Coach K, Coach A, Larry, and I went up in there to represent Tyreso, Cali, Finland, Jersey and of course South Carolina. Let me start with the entrance. I was planning on taking my camera, but Larry had said that no cameras were allowed inside the embassy. The embassy is in downtown Stockholm and is fenced in with tall white bars and it had a guard building. The fences around it reminded me of the houses in Colombia and Venezuela and the guard shack reminded me of Liberty..lol. Anyways we had to take our passports just to get through the guard shack. They would only let 2 people in at a time and the setup was similar to airport security. Slide all metal items on the belt and walk through the door. If you didn't work there you had to have a sticker that said " function " on your shirt. Our group might has well have been malfunction, dysfunction, no function, and functionless but as you can imagine we gave the woman at the door grief over the stickers. It ended up being true that no cameras were allowed in as Coach K had a phone with a camera on it and they held it there until the party was over. So we walked in and yes it felt good to be on American soil, yet in another country. Kind of weird huh. We entered the building ( it is a pretty big building by the way ) and followed the signs and yes Mario spotted the South Carolina flag flying in there so that was cool. Obviously we stopped and had a moment of silence for it. This is when we started seeing all these people. I would say that there was about 130 people there. I think some of them worked at the Embassy, some diplomats, some marines and then just other friends of people who worked there. We all hung out in the inner square of the embassy then we went into this room and they had the table set and ready. The party was catered and they made us wear these crazy birthday style hats. The tables were filled with drinks and food and then a guy got on the mike and started making a welcome speech. That's when the crayfish started coming in and I had to get some instructions on how to eat them from a few different people, but I figured it out there shortly. We had a really good time in there and we got to meet to meet a lot of people. After the meal the Dj started playing music and wouldn't you know it I ran into some girl from Chile and we dance salsa. The whole evening was surreal because we were 4 Americans and one Finn sitting in the US Embassy eating crayfish with people we didn't even know. Nevertheless we represented and had a good time. After the party we headed downtown. Larry put on a Holyfield demonstration for us as we were exiting the Embassy and that was funny. We went into the city and all hung out for a bit then headed home. The only evidence that I have for you that we actually went ( cause I know some of you thinking I'm lying ) was to bring home the piece of paper that was on our table. So take a look at this. I guess its safe to say that they have a good time at the party.
Game Weekend Since we were playing on Sunday this week we all headed down on Saturday and stayed in a Scandic hotel. It's a pretty long ride to Carlstad and I made a cd so we listened to it on the way and saw a lot of the Swedish country side. It was a pretty day and it is still getting cooler over here and feels like it does when it turns fall. We got to the hotel and rested for a bit then ate dinner and then went into the city for a bit. It was neat to see another city in Sweden and we didn't stay out too late. We did see some of their players out in the town as well. One of the guys on our team had bought a Street & Smith's College Football magazine and so Mario and I were reading that while at the hotel. It was weird to be in Sweden and to read about GWU and Liberty and see our friends/roommates/classmates names in the magazine. I guess the world is small. Before dinner we did attempt to sit in the sauna at the hotel, but it indeed turned out to be a Swedish sauna and there was no Loylu or steam to be seen or felt. Game Now this was us returning down to a team that had killed us 2 weeks prior and they were anticipating a walk through I believe. Before the game they had a mascot...( a crusader ) come on to the field and drive his sword into the middle of the field. The crowd got hyped on this. He was wearing real chain mail and steel so it was more lifelike than a costume. It was a really windy day and we got the ball first and were going into the wind.We drove it right down the field on them and scored on the first possession on a long sustained drive. This put them on their heels and gave us some momentum. The defense was holding them and the game was going well. We were able to move the ball on them and they even had to switch their defenses on us. They were in a 3-3 stack and had to go back to their 4-2 because we were ripping them on it. I had a bomb td pass dropped on their sideline and soon after there was another one dropped in the zone. I can't talk too much though because one time I had a guy open in the end zone and made a bad throw and missed him on it, but we did score though. I had to do about 5 Qb sneaks in the game and one time guy ripped my helmet off and the chinstrap going up my face left some scratches on my face and my eye started to swell a little. One of our defensive guys got an interception and took it to the house only to have it called back for offsides or something. Seemed like some home cooking to me, but that was about where the momentum stopped as this took the air out of us a little. We went in at halftime like 21-7 I believe. The second half was similar to the first, but without us having too much momentum. We were hanging with them and I hit our TE on a touchdown pass on a corner route. One time in the 3rd quarter I really got popped as I tried to scramble up the middle and someone got my feet then one of those defensive guys had me for lunch. My helmet again went up my face. I mean don't get it twisted now I didn't come out of the game or anything like that, but I can feel the soreness now and this is most sore my collar bone and jaw bone has ever been. The game ended up 39 - 12 and we lost and the season was over. So no championship this year, but its ok. I guess you can't win them all the time. I was proud of our guys this day and glad that they came to play and put up a fight. The easiest thing to do would have been to lay over and let them walk over us, but that wasn't the case. I think we surprised a lot of people in the stadium as well. You know how it is when you know you've given it your all and you can at least walk out with your head high...well that was how this was. After the game we had the team huddle and I thanked the guys for allowing me to come and play and thanked them for going out of their way to make me & Mario too feel welcome and taking care of us. I have some pictures from the game and post game here. After the game we all headed home and ended up all eating at the same McDonald's about an hour into the trip. It was reminiscent of after our High School football game when everyone would go to Bojangles. We headed home in the night and I believe the moon looks bigger from Sweden than it does in the states...lol. We saw a lot of farmers combining what looked like their wheat late into the night. Mario said that it reminded him of a scene from Indiana.
So now I will be staying here for Mr. Paul Tucker's wedding and that leaves me with a banquet to go to and 2 weeks to explore the cultural riches of Sweden. In other news the Turku Trojans will be playing this coming weekend in the championship. Did somebody say road trip? Mario and I are debating on going to Denmark and/or Norway, but being broke does come into play so who knows what will end up happening. I will post again next week to let you know if we do anything worth writing about and will end the web page with a Conclusion entry. Regards,
As I stated last week, my cousin David had flown in to visit and so this week we toured around the city and tried to show him a little bit of Scandinavia. We had a good time, though it rained the majority of the week, which limited our sightseeing since we were mainly traveling by foot. Having David here on his first time in Europe it made me realize some differences that I saw in Finland and Sweden as well, but since my eyes have become use to them I failed to mention them on here. I will try to recap a little. I have failed to mention are the fact that there are rocks everywhere here and they are some big ones at that. The fact that everything is in the metric system can get confusing sometimes. The fact that I never really know how much money I have or am spending unless I specifically count it and convert it in my head. I think I did mention the stop lights going from red to orange then to green. The general structure of bathrooms is different. There aren't many bathtubs and usually you have a floor with a drain in it and a squeegee to push the water toward the drain when you're done. The structure of the buildings here is different than at home. This is probably due to the age of them. The buildings are very artsy in the fact that they are pleasing to look at. They have like designs, or peoples faces or scenes carved in the concrete or stone and statues are frequently found around the streets. They use spiral staircases over here a lot. The keys that you use to get in your house are cut in a different manner than the ones we use at home. A mall here is not the same as a mall at home. They are just set up differently on the inside and the building structure is also different. Its like not as open aired and spacious or whatever. So those are some things that I have failed to mention, but that hearing David talk about them opened my eyes to the fact that I did not write about them. Not to mention the price of gas over here. We also took some pictures with his camera, but we couldn't get them to my computer because he uses some off the wall brand chip that isn't compatible with my laptop...lol. Like it could be my computer's fault or something...lol. He is going to email them to me so I'll have them up sometime soon.
We pretty much had the same routine and schedule as any other week just with a little less time on the net. He even went and watched practice this week. We did bust up in the KPMG headquarters over here in Stockholm and get him a tour of the complex so he can have some international contacts you know. Got to get that networking down. We went and saw the changing of the guards and while we were there the Royal family was exiting the building so we saw all of them. We saw the princess who is all over the magazines over here. She wasn't all that, but I did get eye contact so you know....lol. Also this week one of the guys on the team had us over to eat at his place which was nice of him. We ate some steaks, fries, and some béarnaise sauce. This is a sauce that I've never seen at home, but I have never really looked for it either. It's really buttery and I can't eat too much of it, but Rauge (self proclaimed " Diesel " ) said he could live off of that stuff. I think David was also VIP 3 times in 3 different places over here so that's not bad for an App State graduate you know. I guess there is hope after all. We did see a Michael Jackson impersonator who was dancing for money and he danced all day long. David also sat in a real sauna and officially threw some "loylu". One funny comment that David made was that he said " Watching those girls dance made my hip hurt "....hahaha. I thought that was hilarious, but then again it helps to have seen what girls he was talking about.
The Game So for the game ........the Tyreso Royal Crowns are no longer winless. We got our first W yesterday against a team named Solna in a very crazy game. First of all let me talk about the field that we played on. David has pictures of it and I will definitely post them because my words will in no way do it justice. This field may be worse than the turf in Sejaiolki (or however you spell it ) Finland, but its a close call. I'm not sure which is better to fall on; the turf with small rocks all in it or the turf with sand all in it to cut your skin up. Its a close call and right now I'm torn between the two. You could lift this turf up and look under it every ten yards. It was so outdated that I couldn't believe that they still let people play on it. There was like half a centimeter of padding on that thing. Before the game they were lifting up the mat (in 10 yard increments) and sweeping the rocks back under the turf. When it rains it brings all that stuff to the surface and the small rocks come out. I had seen this stadium before so I was prepared and I had about 8 wrist bands on going up one side and down the other on both of my arms. It was like I was sponsored by Nike or something. I got out of there without too much turf burn, but with an odd ankle bump. Some D-lineman fell on my ankle and when he tackled me and right now its just sitting here throbbing. Never fear...time is the best healer and I got some ice and athletic tape.
As for the game itself...it was an offensive shootout. Neither team's defense could stop the other team's offense. The final score was 67 - 62 (Yes, really) and I threw 9 td passes and ran a 2 point conversion. There are rumors of 9 Td passes in one game being a Swedish record, but I'm not sure about that. It was a very boring game to watch probably as there were not too many pads popping. However there were some pads popping on one play as the other team had the ball with like a minute or two to go and they tried to run a play action pass and our defense finally stepped up and hit the Qb, he fumbled, and our guy picked it up and ran it in the zone from about 55 yards out. This put us up and they got the ball back and tried to throw a pass, but it got picked. We then ran the clock out. Due to the odd nature of that game, the play where he got hit, fumbled, and we scored has been coined by the guys over here as " The miracle at Bergshamra ". Bergshamra is the name of the field. The great turf field that is. After the game they gave the MVP of the game to one of our receivers, but he just turned around and gave it to me so that was pretty nice of him to do that. I guess there was some hating going on somewhere around there, but who knows. Everyone got paid in Stockholm this week and so we all went out and the streets were packed and so David again missed his flight, but this time purposely, and is again flying standby. In other news: Turku Trojans defeated the Pori Bears 24 - 7 in a head to head battle in the maple league of Finland. And another page turns...
This week was another routine week. We lifted on Tues-Thurs so I'm still trying to get swole, but I don't think its working. On Monday, we grilled out over at Patrick "Home American's" house and that was fun. We ate and solved the world's problems for a while. On like Wednesday while we were eating downtown I noticed these weird looking people walking down the street. I went out of the restaurant and into the street and it looked like all the people from Braveheart were marching down the street in a parade. This wasn't a parade like the Watermelon Parade either. I was talking to the people in the street and they told me that it was a Medieval parade. It was a short parade, but nevertheless interesting. We also ran into some more America haters on Wednesday night. One guy told us that he was going to murder Bush and then some other people told us that all Americans were cocky. We tried to tell them differently, but since they had there minds made up already there was no hope. We usually only hear this from people when they are drunk. So that made for an eventful night. We also went and watched the movie "Hulk" in the theater over here. It was pretty good I guess. It had a lot of science and technology in the movie that was kind of neat. I also have to take back one of my earlier statements....I had said that there are no Wal-mart like stores over here. Well I finally found one that is very similar to Wal-mart. I think I'm going to go back there to go shopping soon. That was about it for all of the interesting things over here this week. We are still seeing the drunk zig zag walk all the time, but thats not anything new.
This week we played the Vaasa Vikings. We had played them before if you remember and that was the game that I got a little light headed. This game was Marlon's first game back in over a month and let me tell you it did make a difference. He layed about 4 vicious hits and I mean they would be big time hits in the US. He hit their qb from the blind side one time and he coughed the ball up and one of our d-lineman caught the ball and scored. I was glad that I wasn't that qb. We won this game like 62 - 6 and I didn't play the last quarter. I threw for 193 yards and 3 td passes with 3 running tds as well. This puts me at 28 td passes and about 6 running. The defense played better since Marloncwas back and we're hoping that they will continue to play well and I finally got one of my receivers to read "hot". If you know anything about football then you will know what I'm saying. After the game our coach told us that our season starts this week. He said this trying to relay the fact that the team we play this week will be good and that from here on out we will have to play. This was our last game in the month of July. We now have 5 weeks left and 4 games since we should get the first week of the playoffs off since we should finish in the top 2 teams in the league. We have to play the Crocodiles again and the Pori Bears again. We have played both of these teams before and won so we should win if we play well against these teams again.
Pics from the game
TD to my tight end Suopa
Well this week got started off to a normal week, but my hamstrings were a bit tight. So when we went to the weight room on Monday I did some straight leg dead lifts to stretch out my hamstrings and wouldn't you know that I strained a muscle in my lower back. Just my luck so I could hardly walk Monday night and have been sore all week. I couldn't move too well so I didn't practice on Tuesday, but finished up the week practicing. My back does this like 2 times a year and needless to say...I won't be doing any more dead lifts while I'm over here. I didn't lift too much for the rest of the week
This week we saw 2 girls just using the non-existent facilities on the sidewalk in the middle of downtown. These people will just about do anything when they are drunk I think. I mean we were walking right by these girls and they don't giggle, hide, or show any embarassment. I think Marlon and I were more embarassed than they were. I also saw another scuffle this week between a drunk man and a sober guy. It wasn't really enough to call a fight. The statue guy was smoking a cigarrette this week so its official that he's fake.
We also went to the pool one day and went to the beach on another day. While we were at the pool we went into one sauna and we were seeing who could take it the longest, while we were constantly throwing more water on the coals and people were coming in and as soon as they sat down they would get up and leave cause they couldn't stand it. We couldn't stand it for too long either. Its weird when you go to the pool or beach with Marlon because he's so big and ripped that everyone is staring at him. Not being white also sticks him out a little too, but I would venture to say that there are benefits that come along with being different.
Since my back was sore I spent most of the week trying to rest it and laying on my bed and pretty much going to every internet site possible. The muscles will loosen up if I lay in one spot for a while so I was doing that along with getting massages and stuff so it did loosen up for the game, but its still sore now... As for the game, we won 42 - 0. The team we were playing hasn't won a game all season so this was what we expected to do to them. I don't feel that I played that well because I was getting to my reads late and just couldn't seem to find the right guys or something sometimes. I threw some off my back leg when I didn't have to and so I need to get my mind right. I got off to a bad start missing some guys I should have hit in the first quarter, but I did finish strong as I had 5 td passes, which makes for 25 so far. My back was getting tight towards the end of the game and I hope it loosens up all the way pretty soon because I don't like playing tentative like that. It was pretty hot out there today. Its not as humid as back home, like I've earlier stated, but to be out under the sun in black jerseys, going as hard as you can still takes it out of you. This is the first "football season" that I've ever had during the summer. I drank a lot of water the night before the game and after the game so I was ok. This upcoming week we have to play the Vaasa Vikings a team that we have already played. We will have to play well against them, but should be able to beat them if we play right. Word on the street is that Marlon Grier may be staging a comeback/breakout appearance in this game. I hope he does and I hope that he doesn't "re-pull" his hamstring cause we could really use him. There have also been rumors that I'm being fined by the federation for my personal foul penalty. If that is true I will appeal it and take it to trial based on the referee's lack of knowledge of the English language.
So while many of you were at the Watermelon parade I was playing ball in Finland. I mean last year at this time I was on a "Tucker Lumber - Check out our studs float". I remind you we did win #1 float last year as well. I won't comment on the watermelon mile. I heard rumors that Mark Tucker was going to ride the float this year and have the theme " We're sold out of studs, but come check out our spindles"....hahahahhaa, those words came from his mouth not mine so dont send me any hate emails. I think this is one of the few festivals that I've missed, but I know you guys got a long fine without me. Afterall whats Pageland with minus one redneck....still Pageland. It would have been nice to be there though, but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Hopefully the boys are pumping some weights in the "Central Steel Mill" and getting ready to make a state championship run again. The weight room would probably be open more if Round didn't have to run those maters to Columbia, but they better be working hard cause this looks like it may be my first season where I can watch some games. I think another championship would be appropriate about right now. Well I better run to get some food. Hope all of you who are reading, (that is both of you...mama and big frank) are doing well.
Some pics from this week
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