|That about says it all, doesn't it?|
One thing I got right though was the result of our match. We beat VPS, 1-0. It was a hard fought game with a lot of emotion. Obviously we wanted to win the game so our emotions were high. Surprisingly though, VPS also played with a lot of emotion. Too much really, as their right back got sent off in the first half for elbowing Piri and breaking his nose. Another surprise was the strong team that VPS fielded. I had suspected/hoped that they would play a 2nd choice team, but as far as I could tell they played at least most of their regular players. Every player that I knew started the game, so they definitely weren’t in the mood to either do us any favors or to screw over their rivals Jaro.
As for the game itself, there’s not much to say. We won 1-0 and maybe could have had a few more. I could have had a few assists in the first half if not for some misfortune. The most blatant case of this was when I played Obi clear in on the keeper. His first touch took him around the stranded goalie, but before he could tap into the open net with his 2nd touch, he fell on the ice and couldn’t even get a shot off. It is what it is though, and fortunately it didn’t cost us.
As a bit of a side note of our game I have to mention the incredible fan support we received. The number is estimated at almost 400 people who made the four hour bus ride to Vaasa and cheered us to victory. I’ll not soon forget looking at those fans and seeing them legitimately go wild after we scored. It was like the scenes you see on tv every weekend around the big European leagues. I know it was “only” a few hundred people, but it felt like all of Valkeakoski was behind us. VPS didn’t have hardly any chances, and honestly I can’t imagine that we could have lost that game with the support that the fans showed us. Unfortunately, winning alone wasn’t enough. Jaro shockingly beat TPS in Turku and stayed one point ahead of us and in the league.
It’s easy after getting relegated to think about all the things that could have gone differently. I’m sure every single fan has had those thoughts, and I know every player and coach has. We only finished last by one point. I mean so many tiny things going differently would have kept us safe: I had a header saved in the last few minutes against MIFK. We tied Jaro at home after they got a red card with 20 minutes to go. We lost in the last second against FC Inter after missing multiple chances to win the game. We gave up a lead at KuPS with three minutes left. The list could go on and on. But we can’t think like that. We have to think about our time going forward. This isn’t the first time Haka has been relegated, and it says a lot about the club that both of the previous times they went right back up. I’m very confident that the third time will be no different.
On a personal note, I am leaving Finland tomorrow. I'll be leaving Europe on Nov. 14.
For those who care to know, over the next few weeks I will be in London, multiple cities in Morocco, London again and then Helsinki before I return to America for the winter. I have no idea where I’ll be playing next year and I haven’t had any contact yet with Haka about returning. All of that will be sorted soon enough though, and that’s why players have agents! I’m very confident in the people who represent me and I’m sure they will help me decide what’s best. But those conversations won’t happen for many weeks or months. In the meantime I’m just worried about staying in shape and recharging my batteries after many months away from my family and old friends. I can’t wait to return to America and spend a few months visiting them. It will be good to put this past year behind me.
|outside my apartment|