Monday, May 31, 2010

A Quiet Monday

A quiet day after a game Monday. I spent the day reading, working on a Power Point presentation about American football in Sweden for a talk I'm making this Friday at the Hässleholm Rotary Club luncheon and met with our offensive linemen to review yesterday's game film.

Mike, Vanessa and I should be all over this on Friday night!

I love eggplant!

Offensive Linemen and Pizza

What could be more natural than this combo?

We had a good session tonight watching the Ystad game DVD together. Our line actually blocked fairly well as it turned out. Our backs blocking, reading of blocks and knowledge of assignments needs to improve in a big hurry.

The Ystad game article in the local NorreSkåne newspaper can be found at:*/forlust-for-hurricanes-i-ystad

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Great News from Catania

The Elephants did it! They beat the Parma Panthers Sunday in another tight defensive struggle in the IFL, 51-30!

This should have been the last week of the regular season but the Elephants still have to make up their away game with the Reggio Emilia Hogs. You may recall that this game had to be rescheduled when volcanic ash in the air from Iceland grounded the Elephants' plane in Catania.

With the win, the Elephants are guaranteed a home game in the semi-finals on Sunday, June 13th. A win this weekend gives Catania the #1 seed and a home game with the #4 seed Bergamo Lions who handed Catania their only loss of the season to date by a score of 41-20.

If the Elephants stumble in Reggio Emilia they enter the playoffs as the #2 seed and host Bolzano who Catania beat 81-52 in the season opener.

The tie-breaker for third place was the Bolzano Giants 43-40 win over the Bergamo Lions in Week #7.

Catania 51 - Parma 30
Milan 41 - Reggio Emilia 39
Bolzano 64 at Ancona 63 OT
Bologna 42 - Lazio 14
Bergamo - BYE

Parma Panthers 7-1
Catania Elephants 6-1
Bolzano Giants 5-3
Bergamo Lions 5-3
Milan Rhinos 4-4
Reggio Emilia Hogs 3-4
Lazio Marines 3-5
Bologna Warriors 2-6
Ancona Dolphins 0-8

Saturday, June 5
Catania (6-1) at Reggio Emilia (3-4)

The Regular Season has ended for Ancona, Bologna, Bolzano, Lazio, Milan and Parma

Sunday, June 13
#4 seed Bergamo (5-3) at #1 seed Catania (6-1) or Parma (7-1)
#3 seed Bolzano (5-3) at #2 seed Catania (6-1) or Parma (7-1)

Saturday, June 26
The two Semi-Final Winners will play in this year's Super Bowl in Milan

SAFF Division I Södra Week 4 Results

SAFF Division I Södra

Ystad 21 - Hässleholm 6
Limhamn 44 - Oskarshamn 0
Kristianstad 19 - Ekeby 16
Lugi 21 - Carlshamn 7

Kristianstad C4 Lions 3-0
Limhamm Griffins 3-0
Lugi Vikings 3-1
Ystad Rockets 3-1
Ekeby Greys 2-2
Hässleholm Hurricanes 1-3
Carlshamn Oakleaves 0-4
Oskarshamn Dockers 0-4

Saturday, June 5
Oskarshamn (0-4) at Hässleholm (1-3)
Lugi (3-1) at Ekeby (2-2)

Sunday, June 6
Limhamn (3-0) at Ystad (3-1)
Carlshamn (0-4) at Kristianstad (3-0)

Ystad Rockets Game


Hässleholm Hurricanes (1-2)
Ystad Rockets (2-1)

We loaded up the bus at 10:30 this morning for the drive to the Baltic Seaport city of Ystad for a key game against our fourth quality team to open the season.

When we arrived at the stadium there was a Junior game going on between Ystad and Carlshamn, the skies were overcast and it was starting to rain. In other words, it was a BEAUTIFUL day to be playing American football!

The Junior game referee may be in love

The Canes were 30 strong in warm ups

That's the Baltic Sea between the trees on the left and about 60 yards directly behind the goal post to the right.

Plan B at last!

By the end of the game I would be trying to come up with a Plan B, at least I now new where to look.


The Canes put together a very physical 70 yard drive to open the game as Pär Danielsson found paydirt from 6 yards out for the first TD of the game. The PAT was blocked, Canes lead 6-0.

Ystad is forced to punt.

Hässleholm punts the ball back to the Rockets.

Ystad punts the ball that dies at the Hurricanes 2 yard line.

The Hurricanes fumble the ball away on first down, Ystad ball at the 2 yard line!

After one period, the Hurricanes still lead 6-0.

Pär Danielsson's TD run


GREAT defensive goal line stand! The Canes actually forced the Rockets back to the 10 yard line thanks to a huge tackle for loss on a Sweep by OLB Martin Andrä. Hurricane's ball on downs but our field position is precarious to say the least.

Hurricanes are forced to punt again.

The Rockets take advantage of their short field and score on a 15 yard pass play. The PAT is good and the Rockets take the lead 7-6.

The Hurricanes are bottled up again and are forced to punt.

The Rockets return the punt for a 50 yard TD play. The PAT is good again and Ystad extends their lead to 14-6.

Another Hurricane punt but this time Lady Luck smiles on the Green and Black as the ball ricochets off a Rocket and the Canes' Rasmus Grip recovers the ball.

The Canes work it down the field and get a First and Goal at the nine yard line but turn the ball over on downs.

The defense rises to the occasion yet again and forces the Rockets to punt for the third time this half.

The Hurricanes run a few plays as the First Half ends with Ystad ahead 14-6.

OLB Martin Andrä's
GREAT play on the Goal Line

Martin has been one of our steadiest players this season. He is playing football for the first time in his life but his great attitude desire to learn and tremendous practice attendance have more than made up for his lack of experience.


The Canes defense starts off hot again and forces the fourth punt of the day by the Rockets.

Hässleholm punts it right back to Ystad.

The Rockets score a TD on a 30 yard reverse, the PAT is good again and Ystad is now cruising 21-6.

The Canes are driving as the Third Quarter comes to a close still trailing 21-6.

Philip Jensen's reception

This catch at the end of the Third Quarter kept our drive alive.


The promising Hurricane drive ends with an interception in the end zone after achieving another First and Goal situation.

The Rockets punt for the fifth time.

Hässleholm turns the ball over on downs.

Grizzled veteran Free Safety Clair Brenneman out of Philadelphia, PA intercepts a Rocket pass and returns it 20 yards to give us renewed life.

Canes again turn the ball over on downs.

Ystad punts for the sixth time.

The Rockets intercept a desperation Canes' pass.

The Rockets run out the clock to win by a Final Score of 21-6.

The Rockets improved to 3-1 on the season while the Hurricanes are now 1-3.

Next up for the Hurricanes is a Saturday home game against the 0-4 Oskarshamn Dockers.

Player of the Game
Ystad's Mattias Mårtensson

We felt before the game that he was their best player and he played like it today. He caught their one TD pass to give them a lead that they would never relinquish and kicked all three of their extra points.

Mattias Mårtensson's left left

His left leg is his punting leg and that was really the difference today.

The good news for us was that he was forced to punt six times.

The bad news was that all six of his punts were boomers that died DEEP in our territory causing our offense lots of field position issues.

It was another disappointing loss but there are no magic answers other than to practice hard and improve on our fundamentals.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

After a good night's sleep thanks to the suspended S¡esta! I prepared to make the trip to Malmö to scout next week's opponent, the 0-3 Oskarshamn Dockers play the 2-0 Limhamn Griffins.

Hässleholm's Stortoget was buzzing

Between the three-day S¡esta! and today's American Car Power Meeting the streets were packed.

Alternative Music, Hässleholm style

Well, it is at least an alternative to the music at S¡esta!

The ride to Malmö proved problematic. First, my 30 day Jojo card expired yesterday. Then I inquired about the rumored Jojo Summer Card. It will only cost 460 Krona, good for unlimited rides in Skåne for TWO MONTHS! That is less than half the price of the usual Jojo card. The only problem was that it does not go on sale until June 1st.

So today I had to stand in lines to buy tickets both here in Hässkleholm and again in Malmö. It cost 192 Krona for the round trip so you can see how valuable the Jojo Sumer Card will be.

The next issue is that the normal 50 minute train ride took more than two hours today because they were doing work on the tracks between Hässleholm and Höör. This meant that I would have to board a bus to Höör and then catch the first available Malmö bound train.

The bus driver to Höör was noteworthy as he talked on his cell phone a few times and drove with his elbows for a short while as he surveyed a chart of some sort.

I faced the same issues on the way home after the game as well except we had a better driver.

Höör has a Combat Zone?

I would never have known about it if it wasn't for the bus trip. Now I'll have to go back and check this out.

Limhamn's "Knot Hole Gang"

I finally got to the stadium as the first quarter was coming to a close the the home team Griffins leading 6-0.

Pass Happy Griffins

Limhamn was clicking on all cylinders

The Griffins extended their lead to 22-0 at the half and were in complete command of all facets of their game.

The story of the game in one picture

On the far left, a Dockers player is limping off the field on his way to the locker room while another Oskarshamn player, on the far right, is being helped off the field.

The Griffins simply had too much firepower today and cruised to a 44-0 victory.

An Arizona State fan in Malmö?

Outside the Malmö Opera House

We've seen this before but now that it has warmed up, the fountain is flowing AND there are flames bursting from the top of it!

Malmö's City Hall

I just don't get tired of this building.

An artist DEEP in thought

Once finally back in Hässleholm, I stopped by Christian Boesgaard's flat to see all of his new furnishings and watch his daughter Jasmine create some new masterpieces.

Christian's youngest daughter Matilda was being held by the autorities for further questioning, so the flat was unusually serene this evening.

Hässleholm Power Meeting

1960's American Muscle Cars

If Castro had taken over Cuba in 1969 instead of 1959, Havana would probably look like this today.

Cars were getting ready to cruise
and drink beer all night!

For some reason, these American car buffs are called "Hill Billies"

Some are self-professed "CRAZY BASTARDS"

"Little GTO . . ."

Almost Hurricane Green


No Seat Belts?

Nothing says American Muscle Cars more than FLAMES!

Lots of FLAMES

Even green and purple FLAMES!

Among my favorite cars today were . . .

The Old 41

A nice '56 Chevy

We had one just like this in brown and white when I was growing up. Didn't see any '57 Chevy's today, my all-time favorite classic car.

Ford Fairlane 500

Nice fender skirt!

My runner-up for "Best in Show" Award

But the winner is . . .

"Little Deuce Coupe,
You don't now what I got!"

I think this was exactly the car that the Beach Boys were singing about!

Wild times in H-town indeed!!!

Sunday we load up the bus for the trip to Ystad to play the 2-1 Rockets. It will be our fourth straight tough test to open the season, stay tuned.

Jamison Jordan

#5 Jamison Jordan
"The Blond Blur"
Rio Mesa H.S. Sprinter
in yesteday's CIF Masters Meet
100 Meter Dash

Yesterday at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) held their annual Southern Section Masters Track Meet.

This meet brings together the very best track athletes from over 600 high schools in southern California as they try to qualify to compete in next weekends California State Championship Meet at Buchanan H.S. in Clovis, California.

Rio Mesa coaches Rick Torres and Brian FitzGerald have built a Ventura County track dynasty over the past 25 years and yesterday's meet just added more luster to the program.

Two Lady Spartans advanced to the State Meet. Defending 100 meter State Champion Valexsia Droughns who came in second yesterday in a time of 11.68 and high junper Raegan Nizdl cleared 5' 5" to advance.

On the boys side, Blake Selig moves on in the long jump with a 22' 6-3/4" leap. Both boys relayed teams advanced as the 4 x 100 meter team clocked a 40.97 while the 4 x 400 meter squad ran 3:15.32. Sprinter Jamison Jordan qualified third in the 200 meters, running 21.23.

But the highlight of the day for the Red and Black was Jamison's 100 meter dash. He outleaned Covina's Remontay McClain at the tape to win the Master's Meet Championship in a time of 10.52! It was a seasonal best for Jamison who will attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in the Fall.

Good luck to all of the
Spartan State Meet qualifiers
next weekend.

Somewhere Forrest Beaty is smiling.

Friday, May 28, 2010

What a Difference a Week Makes!

Last Friday, I was in Lund at the Student Karneval listening to Rufus Wainwright singing his signature song "Hallelujah."

This Friday afternoon, I was the one giving a stirring rendition of this same magical tune when the 2:00 p.m. alarm sounded and it was finally my turn to . . .


Hallelujah, Hallelujah . . .

In the morning while waiting for two o'clock, 14.00 here, to arrive I had time to put the finishing touches on our offensive play sheet and kicking game depth charts.

I should mention that the last set for Thursday's opening night of the S¡esta! outdoor rock music festival, located about one VERY LOUD American mile from Icelandia, started at 12:05 a.m. FRIDAY!

Always save the loudest band for last is my motto and they did! Quiet returned to the wee hours of the morning at 12:45 a.m. I know because I was held captive by the music until then.

Today it rained most of the afternoon but you could still hear the music wailing in the distance until an incredibly loud thunder clap and lightening bolt hit some where very close to Icelandia. The rain picked up and I have not heard music for the last six hours or so. You just HAVE to love that jokester Thor and that hammer of his!!!

I spoke with Roger Kelly of today and he gave me the heads up that the

0-1 Seinajoki Crocodiles,
coached by blog friend Erik Slivoskey, was playing at

the also 0-1 Tampere Saints
in a crucial Maple League game in Finland

The best part is that it was going to be on live on the internet! Thus I spent the late afternoon watching the Crocs manhandle the Saints 31-10 behind an absolute beast of a running back named Robert Bishop and a stifling 3-5-3 blitzing defense.

When that game ended I was faced with a choice, walk on over to the now silent S¡esta! or go see a movie. Afterall, "Sex and the City 2" was debuting.

Yea, right!

It was a Disney Action Film for me!

These were the only two films playing at the Hässleholm Kulturhus Park Biograferna cinema at 21.30, i.e., 9:30 p.m. The lobby was packed with Swedish women in their 20's and 30's and a few men making the ultimate sacrifice and hoping for lightening to strike town again as they endured this month's ultimate chick flick with their dates.

Our little theatre was made up mostly of men and Persian families, really. It was a good movie and entertained me for its full two hours. I'm now thinking about becoming a Muslim if I don't join the Church of Sweden first.

Back to the scouting grind tomorrow as I train it down to Malmö to watch next week's opponent, the 0-3 Oskarshamn Dockers play the 2-0 Limhamn Griffins.

I was SO close to being the leader of Contreras' Commandos!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Saga Continues

The Laundry Room Saga dragged on for another day. The keys were still missing this morning so I missed another chance but indaunted I took the positologist path and took the open 14.00-21.00 slot tomorrow.

Just for the heck of it I dropped into the basement this afternoon to find a guy named Stefan washing his clothes! He showed me the super secret spot where the keys had been stored all the time unbeknownst to me. I'll be fired up on Friday for sure!

Hässleholm's Rock Concert/Festival

This three day outdoor Rock extravaganza started this afternoon and goes on until the wee hours of the morning each day. Think Woodstock comes to Skåne. Lots of beer, people, beer, music, beer, food and, did I mention, beer.

The S¡esta! is close enough to Icelandia to ensure that I will be up late for the next three evenings.

Spring Ball

It was a crisp Spring evening and after practice our QB Kalle Nordström and WR Alex Lilja hung out for another 30 minutes working on their timing. What could be more fun than playing catch on a day like this?

Tonight was our last practice before our Sunday game in Ystad against the very tough 2-1 Rockets. This may be the toughest opponent we have seen to date so we will have to play extremely well to keep up with this experienced squad.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Roskilde, Denmark

Three Noteworthy News Flashes:

1. Mike and Vanessa arrive in Hässleholm a week from this Thursday.

2. Laurie arrives in town two weeks from this Thursday.

3. The Laundry/Drying Room keys are still missing.

Today I got up early and boarded the train bound for 90 minute trip to Copenhagen.

Why is this man smiling?

Nice door handle, I found this blissful image in the København H train station in Copenhagen.

From here it was another 30 minute train ride to the city of Roskilde. Today Roskilde may be most famous for hosting northern Europe's biggest annual rock/jazz/folk festival every July.

Eight hundred years ago, Roskilde was the seat of Denmark's royalty, its center of power. It was the capital of Denmark long before Copenhagen and is the burial place of 38 Danish kings and queens going back hundreds of years.

Only one "N" please

This was the first store I encountered when I got off the train in Roskilde, I was sorely tempted to buy a a Cuban cigar but I fought off the urge.

Building Mural

I liked the idea, too bad about the graffiti.

The Cathedral of Roskilde

It is the three spires in the distance. It is hard to get a good picture of it because of its massive size combined with the narrow streets and buildings around it not giving me room to get a good shot.

Two bronze naked guys
working on their tans

I have no clue what their significance is but I'm afraid I may be joining them soon if the Laundry Room key doesn't turn up soon!

Pastel Colors

The Tomb of King Christian IX

The Cathedral, built in the 1100s, is the site of the 38 royals await Judgement Day. Some of the tombs, like this one, are quite impressive.

The Trolle Family Crypt

Of course they opted for a troll on their grating.

"New" Pulpit stairway, only 401 years old

The Tomb of Duke Christopher, died 1363

Beautiful Wood Carvings

Three Banners

The three banners behind me were used at Admiral Ove Giedde's funeral procession in 1660.

The black one is the mourning banner, the red one is the blood banner and the one closest to me bears the Admiral's coat-of-arms.

King Christian IV

I'm not sure if old C4 was the greatest of the Danish kings, but he definetly was the best self promoter of the Danish monarchs in my opinion. Instead of just a tomb, he opted for an entire chapel dedicted to himself and his immediate family.

C4 as a judge in the large
painting on the right

C4 had a way with ceilings . . .

. . . and gratings

C4 as the "Pirate King"

C4's relatively simple tomb

Simple message:
"Time flies and then you die"

Speaking of time flying . . .

It was time to go to Roskilde's other tourist sight, the Viking Ship Museum better known as the Vikingeskibshallen. It is located a pleasant ten minute walk from the Cathedral through a nice hillside park.

Ah Spring!

A small Manor House

It overlooks the Roskilde Fjord, I wonder if it is for sale?

Viking Long Boat

This must be the place! The Vikingeskibshallen is an active museum with ship builders like this one using the ancient tools and techiniques to build modern day replicas of the various types of Viking ships.

Two of the five different
Viking ships on display

These ships were deliberately sunk a thousand years ago to block a nearby harbor entrance and have only recently been found and restored.

While the ships in Oslo's Viking Ship Museum are much better than these, the Vikingeskibshallen does a much better job of explaining the Viking Era with detailed descriptions in English, a good 13 minute movie about the museum ship restoration program and lots of hands on activities.

Across the harbor, Fields of Yellow

Wool Sails

This lady is weaving wool into sails, the sailcloth of choice for the Vikings.

A replica Viking ship built
by museum artisans

The Roskilde Fjord

The Vikingeskibshallen's peaceful harbor

Traditional Ship Building Tools

Here workers are building a replica of a "modern" 1908 Eel Drifter boat

It is a Danish fishing boat and, as the name suggests, it drifts sideways pulling a seine net that captures eels.


The path back to the Roskilde Train Station

Dead Tree Art

I have noted several of these dead trees that rather than cut down, artists use as a canvas.

Star of David

A rare sight in Scandanavia so far.

I just liked the color of this house

Gringo's, Roskilde's Mexican Restaurant

I was hungry and they were advertising an all-you-can-eat taco bar buffet for only 59 Danish Krona. I channeled strength from David Lassen and entered.

It was great, authentic spicy Mexican food just like at home! I was as shocked by this as my waiter was when he saw me go back for seconds to shatter the old Danish record for the "Biggest Taco Salad."

After this satisfying lunch it was time to head back to Copenhagen for a few hours.

Stained Glass in the Rådhus

Rådhus means City Hall, in this case Copenhagen's.

The Rådhus celebrating one man among many naked women


Still in the Rådhus, this statue commemorates the dark years of the Nazi's occupation of Denmark.

The Australian Band "Wishing Well"

I love good street musicians and these were very entertaining. Lets take a closer look at that fountain behind them.

A Nursing Buffet

Wishing Well Live

Nutella and Banana Pancake

One please! Every time I'm in Copenhagen I have to stop here for one of these rare taste treats.

Mickey with a attitude!

For Vanessa's sake, she is a huge Disney fan, I hope this T-shirt is no longer on display when they arrive in Copenhagen next Wednesday.

Swedish Laser Pen

Finally back in Hässleholm, I was picked up by star offensive tackle Linus Nilsson and we went to Pizzeria Turino for the best pizza I've had in Sweden by far! It was a pork kebab meat, shrimp, mushroom and onion affair. I'll be back!

After dinner, the offensive line met at Lucas Grip's home to review the Ekeby game film on his extremely large projection TV screen. He asked me if I wanted to use a laser pen which of course I did. That is when he produced this "Cutting Edge,High-Tech, Swedish Military Laser Pen."

It worked.

We had a good session and I think it really helped that they accepted constructive criticism.

On a side note, I saw some info on Cuba laying on a table in Lucas' home and asked him if had been there. He said no but that Sarah was going in a few weeks. Sarah then informed me that she would be splitting her time between Havana (see, one "N" only) and Varadero Beach.

I am jealous! I mentioned that the restaurant in the second story of the old Bacardi Building in Havana is a great place for a quiet lunch and a cold adult beverage. She should definitely stop in to Havana's Hotel Nacional for a mojito as well.

At least that's what I've heard.

I pray that the Laundry Room key shows up tomorrow!!!