Sunday, March 14, 2010

Helsingborg Sunday

One of the hard things for our players is the fact that for the third straight year they are being led by a new American coach. This means new systems, new terminology and, most critically, new levels of confusion.

It is my responsibility to make this transition as simple as possible in the limited practice time we have weekly. Thus I have had meetings with a few players at a time at their request to go over things and clear their minds. We even hit the field with about 10 linemen on Saturday to bring clarity to them.

Sunday was such a day. QB Kalle Nordström wanted to get together as he was not sure of some things and, obviously, the QB is the last guy on the field you ever want feeling unsure.

Kalle lives in Helsingborg, population 90,000+, which is about 53 miles from Hässleholm. Helsingborg is a port city located on the Öresund, the straights separarting Sweden from Denmark with the Baltic Sea to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the north.

He works in Stockholm as a civilian on a Naval vessel that recovers old sea mines. He says it is safe but . . .

Sculpture at the Hässleholm Central Station

How to get to Helsingborg? Well I don't have, or really need, a car. The cheapest gasoline in town goes for $7.05 a gallon so I'm OK walking and/or getting a ride from a teammate.

At these prices, the drive to see Kalle, if I averaged 30 miles per gallon for the 106 mile round trip, would have cost me $24.91 in fuel alone. I'm sure some kind of parking ticket would have occured as well.

Instead, I took the Pågatågen Train for $23.16. I saved a whopping $1.75, was relaxed, saw the country side (including a deer) in peace, didn't get lost nor did I have to argue with Garmin! Well worth it.

Also, the schedule said the train left at 1:22. The moment I felt the wheels start turning, I glanced at my digital watch and it read 1:22.00. Talk about being on time! Also, the price of the train ticket also gives you free rides on the Helsingborg bus system for the day.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: Sweden wins this one by a wide margin over Sicily.

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION: A car is nice and gives you some freedom that I have yet not needed in Sweden, still, advantage Sicily.


Kalle and Sanna in front of
The Helsingborg City Hall

Kalle and Sanna met me at the train station. Before going over the playbook, they took me on a 90 minute walking tour of this very interesting port city. I can see spending a lot of time here in the summer with Laurie.

What the . . .

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY!!! Hässleholm has skateboarders, Helsingborg has a Skateboard Park!

OBSERVATION: After two plus years living and traveling in Europe, I have come to a simple and obvious conclusion. Every country here has two powerful cultural influences. The first is their own native national culture and the second is our American culture.

We're big here!

Our walk took us to some interesting sights like . . .

Helsingborg Konserthuset

This group of statues in the in the Concert Hall courtyard was interseting. Not sure the context but this young fellow just died, I think, as the others watched and reacted.

"OH NO!"

Significant other or at least a shocked women.

"Hmmm, that was interesting"

I guess these two have seen lots of people dying in their presence, no big deal.

"The King is dead,

Note his crown rolling on the ground behind him.

Ballar av Stål

This ad is for a new English TV show that premiered last night.

"Baller av Stål" translates into "Balls of Steel" . . . MUST SEE TV!

David with a beheaded Goliath

Glad that someone lent David a beanie and scarf to stay warm.

Battlement Tower

Long ago this was part of the city fortifications that included a battery of canons. Helsingborg sits on the most narrow part of the Öresund straights. Much of Skåne, southern Sweden, had been a part of Denmark during a considerable part of Scandanavian history.

Across the straights on what is now the Danish side sits the city of Helsingør. It also had similar fortifications, so that if any enemy ships tried to sail through the Öresund they would be caught in a deadly crossfire at this point.

For you Shakespeare fans, Helsingør translates into Elsinore, the home of Hamlet's Danish Royal Castle.

Helsingborg's Music High School

Except for Stadium H.S. in Tacoma, Washington, they just don't build them like this anymore.

Funny thing here in Sweden, not every child is a college prep student!

They actually get to a point at about 14 or 15 years of age where students are channeled into schools specializing in the student's strengths and interests. Some schools stressing individual academic disciplines, some encouraging the trades and some, like this one, improving the arts.


A Quaint Neighborhood

What is that huge light standard in the distance? What is all that noise?

Olympia Stadium
Helsingborg IF vs. Brommapojkarna

The season opener of the 2010 Allsvenkan Primier League, Swedens highest level of fútbol was in progress. Lots of LOUD cheering and chanting in the air!

HIF blew them away with a convincing 1-0 trouncing!

HIF Glory Days

Orange Red Bricks are the BEST!

America needs more Gargoyles!

This anchor reminds us that this is a
port city with a long naval tradition.

The Communist Party

Here they are stressing that they are the party of choice if you are into the environment.

Is that Karl Marx I hear groaning?

Teamwork Preparing Dinner

After the city walk, we returned to Kalle and Sanna's flat for our playbook review and dinner.

During our conversations I asked them if they had ever been to California. For Sanna, it was no but Kalle had been their once for work related issues in some place called Port Hueneme.


Hand Picked Blueberries in this DELICIOUS pie

Great swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes with gravy and Lingonberry sauce for dinner! The pie was drizzled with a vanilla sauce.

Why did I only eat one slice???

Kalle and Sanna's Living Room

Asian decor with lots of artifacts brought back from their two month trip to Thailand.

Great Gift

They gave me this Swedish map puzzle to help me learn more about Sweden's geography. I got to work on it as soon as I got home.

Another dusting of snow

While Helsingborg had been clear, crisp and sunny, apparently it had snowed lightly again in Hässleholm when I got off the train.

"Mirror, mirror . . ."

Too cold to be so vain!


The puzzle was finally conquered before I ate breakfast.


Blake Selig handing off to Jamaal Perkins

News bulletin just in from Rio Mesa High School's Hall-of-Fame Track Coach, Brian FitzGerald:

His Spartans participated in the Ventura Relays over the weekend with some fabulous results.

The Boys 4 x 100 Relay team ran a 41.42, the fastest high school time in the USA so far this season! The 4 x 400 Relay team ran a 3:22.48, the fastest time in California for the 2010 campaign.

Brian further reported that in winning the 100 (10.71) and 200 (21.91) meter dashes, Jamie Jordan also recorded the fastest times in California in 2010!



DPLassen said...

Your "America needs more gargoyles" comment makes it clear you never knew some of the teachers I had in high school. Otherwise, I agree.

George said...

Hey wait a second, I was a high school teacher!