Friday, May 13, 2016

A Trip to Sigtuna and a VERY Difficult EuroBall Decision

Friday, 13 May, 2016:

I opted to use my first day off in over a week to travel comfortably and quickly by train and then bus to the oldest continuously inhabited city in all of Sweden, Sigtuna. This quaint lakeside city was founded in the year 980 AD by King Erik Segersäll.

The Mariakyrkan

This church is the oldest brick building in Sigtuna. It was a Dominican monastery starting in 1250 AD and became a parish church in 1529 AD after the monastery was destroyed by Sweden's King Gustav Vasa.

 The back side of Mariakyrkan

Bad Moon Rising inside of

Wall mounted candle holder

 Nice Restored Medieval Paintings

 A Cool Wood Carved Triptych

Swedish Churches MUST have Horns

How old is this painting?

Yet another Triptych

Colorful Carving

 The Murals were good . . .

. . . and colorful

Mariakyrkan's Cemetery

 The ruins of St. Olof Church
from the early 12th century

 I wouldn't mind a miniature golf
re-match with Grandson Jacob

Sigtuna sits on the banks of the Mälaren waterway whose beauty makes for a tranquil spot to sit and contemplate any tough decisions that need to be made.

 See what I mean?

Tree Down!

Make that TWO Trees Down!!

This was the perfect spot for
me to sit and read a bit

Sigtuna's Rådhus

Reportedly the smallest town hall in Sweden, it was built in 1744 and designed by the mayor himself.

 Rådhus Crest

Rune-inscribed stones are memorials and can be found all over Sweden. Here are a few that I stumbled across in Sigtuna today.

On a Mariakyrkan Cemetery Wall

Near a house

In a park

Ancient Meeting Place?

Even the manhole covers were great

Dragon greeting me from above the
Tourist Information Office's door

Quaint I said and quaint it is

That reminds me, I need a haircut

What time is it?

Open Air, Honor System
Book Exchange

Room Heater in the
Sigtuna Museum

The Museums main exhibit dealt with wood and how it was used over the centuries in Swedish culture.

Wooden Toys and Tools

Wooden Mallets

 Early Wooden Viking Tackling Wheel

Obviously the Norsemen were in tune with any tool that would help teach tackling in a safer manner.

 Wooden Shoes

Springtime in Sigtuna

Fun Mail Box

Ruins of St. Pers Church

Another nice spot to sit
and relax with a book

Swedish Gardening Tools

. . . marks the spot!

What a GREAT little city!

If you need a spot to get away and relax for a few days doing nothing but chilling out, Sigtuna is it.

Back home in Upplands Väsby, it was time for me to get ready for a special treat, dinner at a friend's home!

Over the seven years that I have spent EuroBall coaching and touring the Continent, people ask me what I liked the most. The answer is easy, the special moments shared with the people and friends that I have met.

Tonight was one of those special moments as neighbor and Wäsby Warriors Board Member, Aiki Parts, invited me to share dinner with her.

 Aiki Parts

Swedish meatballs baked in a blanket of cheese, au gratin potatoes, a homemade garlic based bread spread and a rhubarb-banana pie.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD was it good! 

Aiki's wine of choice?

Why a white zinfandel bottled by California's Bare Foot Cellars of course!


EuroBall Decision Time

Finally, I have spent several days agonizing over a decision that just had to be made.

About a week ago, during my daily phone call to Laurie, she put our four year old grandson Jacob on the line and he asked "When are you coming home from Sweden, Poppo?"

There was something in his little voice that was a dagger to my heart. 

Then I received pictures of our other four year old grandson Kevin playing in a soccer game in Las Vegas. This his first organized sports season and I'm missing it.

Dagger #2.

So for the past few days I have been re-evaluating my priorities in an effort to balance what I need to be doing as a Grandfather and my love of coaching American football in Europe.

A two month job like the one that I currently have and am enjoying immensely is perfect for my current situation. If any EuroBall team needs someone to help for a couple of months next year, I'm your man.

A full-time coaching job in Europe for the typical six to nine month season as I have done in the past is no longer an option as it would simply take me away from my loved ones too, too long.

It was a tough decision but definitely the right one for me. I must thank Laurie for talking me through this decision making process.

It has been a GREAT ride and I must give a special thanks to Rick Scott for getting me to take my first EuroBall Adventure back in 2008!

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