For the first time in weeks, I actually have some things to talk about. I’m really excited about my blog actually being entertaining again. In the last 72 hours I’ve gone out socially for the first time in Enkoping, been offered a job and excelled at training. Hopefully I’ll start playing really well and then the blog will be interesting for soccer reasons, but until then you’ll have to settle for hearing about my social life.
First you should know that I’ve been doing quite well in training. I still make my fair share of mistakes, but having the confidence of my peers and time to work on my game has helped me a lot. This is really the first week that I’ve not been worrying at all about playing time or if I’ll earn a contract or anything else. I’m just going to training and focusing on improving. I think playing as a winger is helping that process, because I have so much to learn about the position. It’s always easier to work hard to improve when you know you need it, as opposed to training the same thing that you’ve been doing for 10 years. It’s been paying off. We had a intrasquad scrimmage with the teams evenly split between starters and reserves and I scored two goals. My team won the game 2-0 so of course that will loom in Siggi’s head when he selects the team for our game Wednesday.
In life things have started to become more fun in Enkoping. I’ve kind of come to accept my apartment as the place that I will live for at least the next three months. I think I’ll go to IKEA (obviously) and get some stuff to spruce the place up. Ironically, getting stuff from IKEA will make my place feel more like (my US) home. As of right now, the only thing I have on the walls of my room are some newspaper cut outs and an enormous American flag. Not to mention the green sheet acting as a curtain. I give you all my word that by the end of this week there will be some changes around here.
Anyway yesterday training was very simple. We just did some finishing drills and some 5v2 and called it a day. We training in the morning since it was Saturday and no one had any schedule conflicts, and it was fun because there were a lot of people around. They were they for their own various reasons, but it was nice to train in front of a crowd. You’ll be happy to know that my team dominated the finishing competitions, but perhaps unhappy to know that I contributed absolutely nothing to the cause.
After training, I went home and immediately cracked open a beer. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had any alcohol of any kind, so with the following day free and 5 days until the match I felt safe in having a couple beers that have been in my fridge since a week after I got here. Then I went over to Fabian’s house and hung out with the guys for a few hours. Fabian and Siggi had bet on a series of matches and for once they actually won, for a jackpot of 20,000 SEK so they were in a great mood. Also in a great mood (and completely hammered at 5:30pm) was a big sponsor for the club. We saw him by chance because Fabian offered to buy drinks at K14 since he won so much money. I don’t know the sponsor’s name, but I wouldn’t mention it anyway. He was hilariously drunk and after two minutes of talking I was offered a job! Whether or not the job actually exists is up for debate, but I’m sure if he does offer something then it will be not-so-difficult and have good pay. A nice combination if you ask me. After a few minutes at K14 we went back to Fabian’s before we headed to the house of some of their lady friends.
If you ever happen to be with a group of college-aged Swedish guys who are about to go over to some girls’ house, then bring something to read. Something that will take time, like a textbook on String Theory, because the guys you are going out with WILL take a minimum of 90 minutes to prepare. I’m convinced that Fabian, Daniel and Robert are all secretly competing in some sort of reality-fashion design tv show. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that they take so long to get ready because they are actually creating and sewing their outfits on the spot for when we go out. It would actually make the 90-minute time frame pretty impressive.
-end of Sidebar-
So we get to the girls’ place and we’re having a good time. I was enjoying myself even though I didn’t understand 90% of the conversation. One conversation I did understand (because it was in English) was a hilarious exchange in which Daniel tried to convince us that incest (yes, incest) shouldn’t be illegal. Amazingly, this wasn’t the first time Daniel had brought this up, which made the conversation even funnier. He wasn’t defending incest, just saying that it shouldn’t be against the law. If a brother and sister love each other, he posited, then they should be able to be together and get married. Of course we all saw no place for civil discourse and immediately wanted to know if Daniel had a sister and what she looked like!
The time spent not understanding the rest of the conversation was a bit depressing, not least because I felt kind of like a chaperone. None of the guys are within 2-3 years of me and the girls were probably the same age. Now I’m no saint; I have no problem being romantically involved with an 18- or 19-year-old lady. I’m a pretty stand up guy, but the law is the law and if I’m on the right side of it then I have no moral objections. I figure I’m something like Bill Clinton: the more you know, the less of a saint I become. That said, there was a pretty lady who seemed quite interested from that group of girls and then a couple more at the bar/club we went to afterward. I didn’t go home with any girls because that’s not really my thing, but I will say this: I still got it J. Even with the hair of a caveman I still got it!
As is customary after a late night out, I got up ungodly early this morning (9:30am. Shocking, I know). I went to McDonald’s with the guys, which has been a dream of mine since I got to Enkoping but where I’ve never gone since it’s a solid 30 minute walk from my apartment. In Sweden the colors for McDonald’s are green and brown. They still have the classic red/yellow signage, but the facility itself looks more like a Whole Foods than fast food joint. A funny thing I’ve noticed about McDonald’s in Sweden(Gothenburg, Stockholm and now Enkoping) is that the cashiers are universally college-aged girls. It’s kind of like in the absence of Hooters, hot girls just decided to give Mcdonald’s a go. After Mcdonald’s, we all went to Café Wickman for what I affectionately call “birdwatching” . This is when you set up shop somewhere and admire all the pretty girls that walk by or come into the establishment. Feel free to use that term, btw. You think you won’t use it, but you will. My gift to you.
That’s all for now folks. I have a game in three days so I don’t know if I’ll get to a post before then. I’ll have you know that I’m very close to starting my career autobiography. It’s a mental battle in my head because the task is so daunting. I’m trying to decide now if I want it to be 5000 or 50,000 words. I could literally write 100 pages on my time between my last college game and now. It’s a hell of a story that goes from Tampa -> Denver-> Bradenton, FL -> Baltimore -> DC -> Austin, TX -> Saigon, Vietnam -> An Giang (Nam)-> Can Tho (Nam) -> Indianapolis -> Tampa -> Ave Maria, FL -> Orlando -> Wilmington, NC -> Harrisburg, PA -> Gothenburg, Sweden -> Valkeakoski, Finland -> Jakobstad (FIN) -> Myllykoski (FIN) -> Enkoping. That doesn’t even include the great non-soccer-related stories in Charlottesville, VA (2-3 hilarious stories); Philadelphia, San Antonio, Stockholm, London and dozens of road trip stories. I put a picture up from the very early days of my Baltimore adventure. As you can see, my autobiography could go on for quite a long time. I’m just concerned that most people don’t really care about an unabridged account of the last 3 years of my life. I’ll probably publish the short(er) version and keep the longer one for when I’m famous and write a book that people actually will pay money to read!
Til next time.