Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Party People and Where's the Beef?!


I'm so gangsta. 

It’s been three days since I posted last, and I actually have some stuff to talk about!  Not important stuff, mind you, but random biased opinion!  If you were expecting more then you have comically overvalued my commitment to journalistic integrity.  This blog is more or less a gossip column about people you don’t care about.  In short my target audience is people who want to know about the European soccer experience so badly that they’re willing to sift through the boring tidbits of my daily life to get to some useful information every few days.  Today isn’t that day my friend, but I think you’ll be entertained all the same.

On my contract situation, I still don’t know anything.  ESK haven’t spoken to me about anything so I assume that decision will come later.  Meanwhile, I sent my Swedish agent an email today just to set up a time to meet.  I asked him to put out feeler for me, while passive aggressively suggesting who those feelers should go to first.  We’ll see if he comes through.

Now I wrote about the game and how it didn’t go so well and why I thought that was.  Well, after the game we decided that the only way to sort things out was to…go and get really drunk.  And we did; at least I did.  I was reintroduced to the idea that if you drink 7 beers while sitting down, then when you stand up you will feel like you drank 100 beers.  I was also reintroduced to the awful taste of hard alcohol, clear and dark.  Lastly, I learned that when Enkoping parties, they party as a community, so if you get really drunk expect to see every single person you’ve ever met in the city all at once.

The night started not long after the game.  Most of the team met at one of the guy’s house and played drinking games on the deck.  It was nice to hang out with the team.  I saw some guys who I never expected to see outside of training like Mica Tuhkanen, so it was nice to hang out with those guys.  After a few hours, we went to the city center.  There was a concert with the artist Laleh (the one who won the Motherf*cking Eurovision Song Contest) and a Swedish rapper named Timbuktu.  We got there after the concert was over, but we STILL had to pay 250SEK to get in!  Essentially, they put a fence up around public space and charged me $40 to get in, and like a chump I paid it.
Me and "the gang" looking exactly how we felt.

Once inside though, we had fun.  We went to a club-type place and danced for like an hour.  I took this picture inside the club and it pretty much explains how things were going at the time.  The girl’s name is Lina and along with her sister, Stina, is kind of like a new member of the gang.  It used to be Me, Robert, Fabian and Daniel, but now Fabian’s gone (he moved to China to work with his brother’s company) and has been replaced by Lina and Stina.  Lina wasn’t invited to the photo but popped in anyway!  Also you may notice the new face in the back: that’s Robert’s brother, Mattias.  Mattias played for ESK last year and since then has made incredible upward progress to the Atletico Madrid reserve team.  He has even had 1st team offers in the top two leagues in Spain.  Living in Madrid, he knew how to party and thus was in much better shape than me.  I wanted to go home, but I got peer pressured into going over to Emil Strok’s house to drink some more.  On the way I made this video.  Please note that there is nothing to be learned from this video.  I didn't really see any reason to put it in the blog other than the faces that Joel and Robert make starting at 0:50 of the video.  Enjoy! 
Twenty minutes after the video, me and a couple of other guys gathered on Emil's balcony around this:
Tequila, whisky and vodka.  WHY???

Needless to say, that was bad news.  I went home and got in bed.  Two hours later I woke up and puked.  Then I slept for another 8 hours and woke up early Sunday evening.  Eggs and bacon saved the day.

The next day at training I got my pay for the month of June. 

*warning*  If you don’t like listening to my moaning and complaining then the post is over for today.  If you’re like me and take joy in hearing about the tedious problems of other people’s lives, then I’ve got a treat for you today….

So I get my pay for June and I start looking at the receipt (or whatever they call the thing that says where all your money has gone that you aren’t receiving directly) and I see:

Taxes – 2850 or so

Rent – 4000 (I still don’t have a shower or cable.  I gave up on those dreams weeks ago.)

Restaurant – 1500

Wait, what?

I haven’t gotten a single meal from a restaurant since I’ve signed my contract, and three months later they’re still deducting the money from my check?  Sensing my opportunity I chased after the guy who gave me the money and asked about the mystery deduction.  He sent me to Stefan and we had a conversation.  It wasn’t an argument and I don’t want to say things got heated, but they were contentious and perhaps a bit combative.  I pretty much was arguing that since I never have gotten a meal from a restaurant that I should get the money reserved for the meals.  Stefan told me that the club didn’t have the money to do that and that I needed to go to the restaurant.  My response was that’s fine, but I should still get the money for the food I didn’t receive in April, May and June.  Not to mention that the restaurant wasn’t even open in June because it had a fire.  His response translated roughly to, “tough titties.”

The club, he said, doesn’t have any money so the meal plan is the only possibility.  Not taking the meals is not possible because presumably the club can’t spare the 1500SEK each month.  But wait a second…didn’t two players just leave the club?  Surely their combined salaries were over 1500SEK.  How would we have survived if they had stayed?  The answer is simply the business of soccer:  If you are wanted then there is always money.  If you’re not a priority then money is always tight.

That’s not actually a big problem for me.  I know that there are a handful of players at this club who would NEVER have had to have the sort of conversation I had with Stefan.  But then again, what have I done for this club?  I’ve been here 15 weeks and we have 4 points.  I haven’t scored a goal in the regular season.  I understand that I’m not gonna be able to convince the people at the top to pay me the money, even though it is rightfully mine.  I just wish they wouldn’t hide behind the “We have no money” line.  I would bet that 2-3 new players get brought in in August with all the money ESK doesn’t have.

I’ve ranted enough.  There’s not much to report from the last two days of training other than the fact that we have about 13 healthy bodies at the moment.  Should make for an interesting trip to Lulea this weekend – the only game we have to fly to.
In case you were feeling kind of down for any reason, I leave you with delightful photobomb:

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