Sunday, February 12, 2012

Team Bonding on a Frozen Lake

February 12:

Hey guys!  I missed yesterday because last night I was…a little bit drunk!  That is because apparently in Finland, “team bonding with your wives/girlfriends day” is just code for “drink from noon until you fall asleep day, while taking an hour break to do games that make you look like a drunken idiot”.  Needless to say, it was a pretty fun time.
We started by having a very light training session.  I stayed a bit after the rest of the guys left the indoor facility to do some extra stretching, and when I returned I found that there were beers and sausages everywhere.  The reason everybody was so eager to get out of training was that they wanted to get to the clubhouse and eat and drink!

Around this time the wives and girlfriends started to arrive.  I met quite a few of them and about an hour later we were all on our way to a mystery location.  Fun times! 

70km later we arrived: at a big plot of nothing.  In reality, hidden behind a few houses was an enormous frozen lake.  There, we drank lots of beers, hot cocoa with vodka and other forms of alcohol.  We also tried to hula-hoop, spin around a bat ten times and run (not easy), and sled races.  It was a great way to have fun with the people who I’ll be working with every day.

After that, we went to a nearby restaurant that was cleared for us.  We ate at a really nice buffet which gave us an opportunity to talk amongst ourselves.  I got to know Obi Metzger a little bit as well as Shane McFaul and Shane Robinson.  We all speak english better than finnish so naturally we ended up sitting together in the restaurant.  I learned that Obi has played a bunch of games with the Sierra Leone national team and he has a bunch of friends playing in leagues all around Europe and western Asia.  It was cool to hear about experiences from other players with similar situations.  I’m a Yank Abroad, but my situation is much the same as a player from Africa or other parts of Europe.

After dinner, a few people from the club’s hierarchy spoke.  It was nice to meet the people who make my new club run.  Even pretty drunk, I realized that we were in good hands.  The club does not have much money, but with people like Haka has I’m sure things will work out. 

As we headed back to Valkeakoski, some players decided it was time to get on the bus’ microphone and sing.  You can probably guess how that went; Drunken Finns belting out terrible songs off key.  It was a big hit though with the crowd who were also drunk.

Of course, once we got back to the clubhouse there was only one place to go and that was Mama’s, a bar in Valkeakoski’s city centre.  After a few hours with the boys there drinking more free beer, I walked home and fell into bed.
In good news, nobody handed me a pink slip today so I assume I am now a full contract player for FC Haka!  I will go in sometime this week to put the final touches on the contract so that I can finally put that behind me.  I’ve been kind of anxious with this deadline approaching so it’s nice to have it in the past.  All in all, a good day.

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