4 July 2014
Here it is the Fourth of July in Finland. A holiday of no significance. While BBQs and fireworks would be the norm in the USA, we were preparing for a 6:30 kickoff against the Kuovola Indians. The game tonight would be the home opener for the Maple League for the Crocodiles. All week long the organization had been hyping up the game and trying to draw attention to it so as to coax as many people out to the game as possible. Typically, we draw anywhere from 300 to 400 fans for a home game. Players had been passing out colorful posters advertising the contest as well as personally getting the word out to as many people as they could. The big pre-game event today was the Media Road Show.
The Media Road Show was held in front of the local restaurant named Rosso. Rosso, in my opinion, serves up the best pizza in Seinäjoki. The road show was essentially a media event designed to drum up awareness of the sport of American Football and in particular the Crocodiles. Out-of-town media people associated with the league showed up in Seinäjoki with their microphones and cameras and held the Noontime event in the main streets of the city.
I got on my bike and made my way down to the event around Noon in time to see things in full swing. There were Crocodile Cheerleaders, Junior players, Maple League players, team officials and the like everywhere. They had erected a league backdrop they used to conduct interviews, a stand-up target that kids could throw footballs at, and a blocking sled.
While I was there, I saw three interviews. First up was Head Coach Charlie. He did a fine job of providing the stock, neutralized responses that a head coach coming off a 79 to 14 thrashing of the Wolverines three weeks ago should. Next up was Doug Webster, our American Quarterback. Finally, was Vili Rajamäki, one of our receivers. Doug and Vili predicted a large victories.
I enjoyed the ambiance and ordered a double espresso, which I promptly spilled at the table I was sitting at while Vili was being interviewed. I blamed it fully on the saucer that they given me on which it was place. It was micro-cut to precision that you could only find in Finland. Unfortunately, I had not placed it in the hole exactly right after taken the initial sip and then an accidental bump sent it toppling over. That was three Euro down the drain.
Among the attendees, where several players in full gear from the Women’s Professional Crocodile Team. I managed to run them down and got a nice photo of them. They would be playing the next day here at “The Swamp”. Then, following that game, would be a the U19 Junior game. So Seinäjoki had a full table of American football scheduled for the weekend.
Around 1PM, Charlie and I hit the bikes and peddled to our designated eating place for our pre-game meal. We discussed a bit of strategy during lunch and then headed back home to the little apartment to get prepared for the game. Kickoff was set for 6:30PM. It was good to be playing at home.