Saturday, April 30, 2016

Two Day American Football Camp Began Today

Saturday, 30 April, 2016:

Our Wäsby Warriors U15 team made the 20 minute drive North to the city of Märsta for a two-day American football camp where we would be joined by two other U15 clubs, the Arlanda Jets and the Sollentuna Stars. Märsta's multi-field complex is the home of the Arlanda Jets.

The Camp site has Artificial Turf

The field was good and the sun was shining, what a BEAUTIFUL day for American football!

 The old scoreboard has seen better days

This field is no longer the Jets game field, practice only now.

 The Wäsby Warriors were in the house

Make shift numbers on
one of our best players

The Arlanda coach laying
some ground rules

The Sollentuna Stars are in blue while the Arlanda Jets are in the black and orange.

 Arlanda Jets warming up in a
blue Jimmy Clausen jersey

Even in fashion conscious Sweden, there is sometimes no accounting for taste.

We had an excellent fundamentals period in the morning.

During the morning break, many of us ambled over to a neighboring field which is now Arlanda's new game field to watch the Jets' powerhouse women's team in action.

The Armada Jets women in Orange
The Västerås Roedeers

Women Game Action

It was no contest, the Jets rolled to an easy victory.

 Brian's Song

 Political Incorrect perhaps,

Our team executive, Lotta Douhan, gave me a bunch of little Swedish chocolates to sustain me throughout the day. They were GREAT!!!

 Warriors getting ready for the
Camp's afternoon session

Love the signs with all the umlauts 

 Inside Run

Sollentuna in white in the afternoon

The afternoon session featured 7-on-7, Inside Run and Team Work periods.

During the afternoon break, it was back to Arlanda's game field to watch the Jets U17 boys team take on the Stockholm Mean Machine.

Yes, like in the "Longest Yard" movie.

This game would be of great interest to the Warrior players because our program tops out with the U15 club. After maxing out their eligibility with the Wäsby team, our players move on to play on the Jets U17 team.

Several of our players had brothers playing for Arlanda, all had friends in Orange and Black today.

Arlanda U17s in Orange,
Mean Machine U17s in Blue

Tied at the half, the Mean Machine scored two unanswered TDs after the intermission to win the game.

U17 Boys Action

Ever wonder what Oscar Gamble
would look like in referee garb?

The evening session was 100% devoted to special teams play. This is a brand new concept for many of our players as there is no Kicking Game of any type in Sweden at the U13 and U11 levels.

Grillin' Dogs after a Long Day

Thanks to the Jets for feeding all of the players with tasty and plentiful hot dogs.

I even had one.

Or four.

Michael Contreras would
LOVE this Jets Dad!

Night of the
Walpurgis (Valborg) Bonfires

These bonfires are a once-a-year tradition in Sweden and tonight was the night. This one was close to today's practice facility and was as close as I got to a bonfire tonight.

We go back at it at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow with scrimmages against the two other clubs being the highlight of the weekend.

Stay tuned . . .

Friday, April 29, 2016

Finally, a GREAT Nights Sleep and a Slow Day

Friday, 29 April, 2016:

After a truly great nights sleep, ten hours worth to be exact, I believe that I am finally over any lingering jet lag issues as of the moment.

I opted to do some minor exploring in Upplands Väsby during the afternoon.

The view from my
Ryttargatan bus stop

 Upplands Väsby Sports Center

It is both large and comprehensive including an ice rink, basketball courts, an indoor pool and a track/soccer field.

 The pool inside is MASSIVE!

 Track/Soccer Field

Rustic, picturesque, woodsy . . . you pick the adjective.

I always thought it was Wang Chun

We have got to get one of these
installed for the grandkids!

Outdoor Disco Ball . . .
Upplands Väsby ROCKS!!!

I finally gave in today . . .

. . . FIKA TIME!!!

It was as good as I remembered.

The Hub Building for many of
Upplands Väsby activities

It is hard to see through the tree on the left but the time/temperature dial read 19°C which is a balmy 66°F!

Hey, check out that big window in the middle of the building.

No expectation of
privacy in public places

Fortunately, nothing was akimbo.

In the evening, Warriors' Head Coach Thomas Andersson took me out to dinner. We had a good two hour meeting to go over the Wäsby playbook and discuss all things American football related to our team's success.

I am getting more excited by this project every day!

The next two days will be busy with a U15 team camp that will include teams from Sollentuna and Arlanda as well.

On Saturday we will have a full day of American football. Our U15s will go through a combination of individual techniques periods, classroom sessions, 7-on-7/inside run, team time for all three phases of the game and installation of new plays. We will start at 10:00 a.m and finish at 9:00 p.m.

On Sunday, the U15s will work out from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. with the highlight of the day being scrimmages between the three clubs.

Two days, 19 hours with the U15s . . .
Is this American football heaven? No, it's just Sweden.

A Raw, Rainy Day in Stockholm

Thursday, 28 April, 2016:

This is the Transportation Card
that the Warriors gave me

During my first two years of coaching in EuroBall with the Catania Elephants on Italy's beautiful island of Sicily, we were given a brand new rental car to use. We had to pay for the gas which at about $9.00/gallon proved depressing.

In all of my other EuroBall stops, clubs have provided me with a Transportation Card good for any of the busses, trams and or metros that that particular city had to offer. These cars were a great way to move about town with no additional cost on my part.

The Warriors provided me with an Access card pictured above which is fantastic as it not only allows me to use the bus system in Upplands Väsby but also allows me access to the commuter train to Stockholm and, once in the Swedish capital, lets me use that city's busses and efficient underground metro system.

GREAT CARD, tack så mycket Warriors!!!

Thus armed, and having not been able to sleep all night, I left Icelandia II bright and early to take my initial trip of the year to Stockholm.

Our train station

It was a quick and easy bus ride to the station followed by a five minute wait for the next train to Stockholm. The train was packed with commuters heading in to work but the ride was smooth and took a mere 25 minutes to make the journey.

The inside of Stockholm Central Station

It was a bit bigger than the one at Upplands Väsby's.

Of note, when I used this Station's unisex bathroom at a cost of about $1.00 with about 30 of my newest Swedish friends of both sexes and I'm sure persuasions, I felt completely safe. 

The Swedes and I don't know what all of the fuss is back home over this issue.

Once relieved and out of the train station I found that it was raining steadily.

My goal was to visit the city's central area which I had not seen in our 2010 visit to this beautiful city. The rain combined with a lot of open land around the sites that I tried to visit combined with the fact that it was only 8:00 a.m. and nothing was open forced me into Plan B.

As it turns out, few museums and most stores do not open until 10:00 a.m. Most of the museums that I was interested in seeing had an 11:00 a.m. start time.

Back to the metro for a quick ride to Stockholm's oldest area, the Gamla Stan and . . .

. . . a warm, dry coffee shop

I nursed a large latte for about thirty minutes while the rain continued to disrupt my plans.

Finally, the downpour abated and my courage increased, tike to hit the road.

 One of many, many souvenir shops
on Gamla Stan's Västerlånggatan

 I walked up towards the
Royal Palace area


 One of Stockholm's great Churches

And another

Suddenly, I heard a bunch of commotion coming from back at the Royal Palace.

I had to see what all the fuss was about.


What the deuce?

I asked a policewoman what was going on and was told that this was a practice for the upcoming celebration for Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf's 70th birthday this Saturday.

So let's watch the parade

Laurie would have loved this show!

Lots of horses

I'm guessing that the riders will be
more colorfully dressed on Saturday

 The Stortorget
Stockholm's historic main square

 Every white stone on the building
on the left has meaning

The story is that each white stones stands for one of the noblemen and clergy who were beheaded in the Stockholm Bloodbath on this square over three days in 1520 by the Danish King Christian II. Current day Sweden was part of the Danish empire 500 years ago.

Interesting fountain on Stortorget

Loved it on this fountain

 And this one too

 Meanwhile, Practice #2 was starting

The security guard was snappily dressed.

They looked much better this time

 Bringing up the rear

Crowd Control

 Sabres Drawn


 Sweden's symbolic Three Crowns

The Changing of the Guard at
Kungliga Slottet

The Royal Palace has 608 rooms and the Royal Family moved here in 1754.

Definitely not a fixer-upper.


Did I mention that it was dreary?

 Time for a warm beverage
on the Stortorget

 Atmosphere and . . .

. . . maybe the BEST hot chocolate
I've ever tasted

At this point, I still had over an hour until the museum I had targeted opened so it was time to see some architecture.

 Nice Entryway Symbol

 One nice door . . .

. . . and another

 Over the top?

Alice in Wonderland store

What the . . .

Bike rusting in the rain

 Church Entry Arch


The Cookie Monster is coming to town!

I was getting colder as the drizzly
morning went on and on

 UT fans in Stockholm?

 The Nobelmuseet

Finally, at 11:00 a.m., this museum that houses all things Noble Prize related opened for business.

The Inventor of Dynamite

 Colorful Entry

Hard to see autograph

Currently, Noble Prize winners autograph and leave a message on the bottom of a chair the will soon be used in the museum's restaurant.

 Alfred Noble's Death Mask

George F. Smoot
2006 Physics Nobel Prize winner

More importantly, he has been a guest on the Big Bang Theory TV show.

The Noble Prize Award Ceremony

Strange sight in the Noblemuseet

Noble Prize winners are asked to leave behind something that symbolizes their life path to this award.

The 2009 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics winner was Oliver E. Williamson, a professor at UC Berkeley.

These are the two items he left to the museum stating, "The glove has special meaning because baseball taught me the importance of teamwork. The pipe holder was my companion when I wrote one of my major works in economics."

 And another church



 March . . .

 . . . march . . .

. . . march

Did I mention that Stockholm
is made up of 14 islands?

Swedish Flag/Pennant

Where did this come from?

Odin sporting a great helmet!


 Loading up the old crossbow


My kind of supporters

Nice House

 Even Swedish lions are nice

Carl Michael Bellman

Noted Swedish poet and, back in Camarillo, Dick Bellman's hero!

Saint Clara Church

 It was nice inside and so warm

 Time to head back to Upplands Väsby

Nils Ericson
Engineer and Builder

 Back at Stockholm Central
time to go home

At 6:00 p.m., we had a two hour meeting scheduled with the U15 team to go over the playbook.

Head Coach Thomas Andersson

Players taking notes

Still looking for more players

It was a good meeting to end a long day.