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.
This week we lifted about 3 times about the usual. Its kind of tough to lift in season cause I'm always sore, but anyways. On Thursday I helped one of the guys move and man it was hot when we were doing that. We did that all morning, then I lifted in the afternoon, then had practice that night. So, I had a pretty busy day on that day.
Ever since I've gotten here I've been saving the big plastic bottles that I buy...you know like Coke bottles. One thing that they do here is recycle. Its pretty neat how it all works so I will explain. Pretty much any bottle you can collect be it glass or plastic is recyclable. You just save them up and take them to the stores that accept them and slide them through this little hole. The hole has a conveyor belt that takes the bottles and separates them and all. The bottle gets scanned and whenever you are done you hit the green button and out comes your receipt. You take the receipt with you and whenever you check out you have them scan the receipt and thats how much money you get off of your purchase. I think I got like 7 dollars off from 14 bottles or so. I believe that is one of the reasons that this place is cleaner than at home because the drunks will pick up all of the bottles and recycle them. That may be promoting drunks, but I guess at least they are keeping the place clean. So I've been seeing all of these posters around town forever that say "Tall Ships Races" and I was wondering what was going on. Well towards the end of this week I saw a bunch of sailors walking around the city. At first I thought it was just "European fashion" ...again, but turns out that it wasn't. There is a race of ships that runs a course around the Baltic and Turku was the first stop on the journey. The ships ranged from very small to very large and there were many nationalities represented. One of the biggest ships was from Mexico. All of the boats were docked on the river that goes through town and you could tour the boats all weekend and stuff so it was pretty neat. Every boat had a sign on it and flags and told you where they were from and what class the ship was in. So I boarded the Mexican ship and of course I was flowing in spanish with those guys. I asked them if they thought they would ever meet an American white guy, in Finland, that spoke spanish. Of course they said no. I threw some spanish words that only exist in Mexico in there for them just to let them know. It was pretty neat seeing all the ships and those things are pretty big, but I don't think I could stay on one of them for 7 months, which is how long the voyage for these guys is. There was an American ship, but it was small and to be honest I walked everywhere and couldn't find it. Only the big ships were available for touring so most of the small ships were unmanned anyways. These sailors stayed in town for like 5 days and on Sunday there off to another port.
This week we played the Seinajoki Crocodiles. This is the same team that we played in the first game of the year. By winning this game we secured a bye in the first round of the playoffs. This was our last home game of the regular season. When we first played this team I thought they weren't that good, but all week the guys had said that they had gotten in some new players and some of their players had returned from other leagues or from their vacation. There was also a rumor that some of their guys were injured. The rumors turned out to be true as their American linebacker had a broken hand or arm. I couldn't tell I just know he had a cast on. The wind was blowing very strong at this game which made it tough to throw when the wind was in my face. In the first half I didn't really play that well. I came close to throwing my first pick and I also made some bad reads. I had some td passes dropped as well in the first half. We had at least 100 yards in penalties and never really got good field position in the first half. Our defense was holding them pretty well though. The second half was better as I threw 3 td passes and ran 1. I ran over a guy on our sidelines too. We ended up winning 52 - 3 in a flag laden, swirly winded, long game. We now have one more game left in the regular season and its an away game in Pori.
Here are some pics from this week
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
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