It’s been quite a week. Since the last time I left you we’ve won two games and I’ve been generally active out and around town. I’ll start with the stuff you care about.
Last Saturday, we opened our league season in just about the toughest fashion possible, away to TPS. The highlights are on Youtube for those who care to watch. TPS finished 2nd or 3rd last year and are heavy favorites to finish 2nd this year behind HJK. The generally consensus seems to be that HJK is head and shoulders above everyone else, and TPS is at a level below HJK but above the rest of the league. Perhaps we challenged that notion a bit, because we came out and dominated the first 25 minutes of that match. To be fair, we did have a strong wind at our backs in the first half, but that cannot fully mitigate how well we played. In that early period we created 3-4 good chances, even though the TPS highlight package only shows two of them. I had a great chance to score, but slammed my shot a few feet wide. I should have done better and you can see in my face after the shot that I knew it. The second half didn’t go our way so much, but we held strong and Jarno scored right at the very end to get us a 1-0 win. It was a great way to start the league and has surely put other teams on notice. We intend to be a top team in this league, and now everyone knows we mean business.
|The mud pit between Kemi's locker room and turf pitch.|
Last night we won another Finnish Cup match, this time against 2nd division PS Kemi Kings. They had at least two Americans, though I didn’t know either of them nor did I speak to them after the game. Anyway, the game was pretty under control and boring to be honest. Kemi had some early counterattacks that were dangerous and put the ball in the net, though it clearly was never going to count since they fouled Henri well before taking the shot. We were 0-0 at halftime, but scored within two minutes of the second half starting and pretty much cruised from there. I played the last 15 minutes as a winger and pretty much just ran around not doing anything. We scored 2-0 immediately before I came in so at that point the game was effectively over. Long story short: No one got hurt and now we’re in the last 8.
Backtracking a bit, I was relatively busy in the days between games. I say relatively because I’m never actually busy in the way normal people are. Instead, my definition of busy is having more than 1-2 things to do in a day. On Sunday, I went to a IFK Vasa game against some terrible division 2 team. VIFK won 3-0 and that was flattering to the other team. The game easily could have been 8-0. During halftime of the game I went into Botniahalli to see the flea market they were having inside. Unfortunately, everything was closing down and people were just staring at me like I was a crazy person for walking around a closing flea market. My enormous coat surely didn’t help me look inconspicuous.
Tuesday I went with a couple of the guys to do a little presentation at a school not far from VPS’s home stadium. I’ve done about a dozen of these things in the past, so I knew what to expect and had a good time with it. Kids always love a) seeing big, tall professional athletes and b) getting out of class to go to anything happening in the gym. There’s not much more to say about the event other than that a few of the kids pulled tricks that I can’t even do, so it’s probably good that I wasn’t asked to show my best skills haha! Also, Jarno shaved and got a haircut so he looked like he went to the school rather than being a guest. Call it a gift or a curse, but Jarno can shave and look like he’s literally half his age. If he told you he was 15 you wouldn’t even question it! Maybe if the police ever need someone to go undercover at a high school they’ll call him.
The last thing I’ll note is something of pretty big importance I think. The win of Kemi Kings was my 4th in official competitions this year. We’ve won every official game that we’ve played thus far which is quite an achievement in itself. The reason that fourth win is so important to me is because I was only on the winning side of official matches three times all last year. That may sound impossible, but out of 28 official games I played between Enkoping SK and FC Haka I only was a winner in three games. And two of those were the last two games I played lol. Looking from that glass-half-full perspective, I’m riding a six game winning streak! Hopefully we can make it seven in the home opener on Sunday.