Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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why this american is rooting for sweden

For all of the sports inclined people out there, it won’t be news that the Olympics are currently occurring. For all of the women’s soccer enthusiasts it won’t be news that the USA woman’s team has won four golds in the past five Olympics. Or I should say, six Olympics, as this Olympics marks a marked decline in the teams results with a loss to Sweden in the quarter finals.

Why, you may ask, would this American then be rooting for the exact team that dashed the USA team’s chances and dreams of winning a fourth consecutive Olympic gold? My answer is Pia Sundhage.

Pia Sundhage

To summarize the media coverage (and awesome memes), after the US lost to Sweden in a nail-biting shoot out, Hope Solo called the Swedish team a bunch of cowards. When asked about this comment Pia Sundhage said “Jag skiter i vilket. Jag ska till Rio, hon ska hem.” The popular translation of which is: “I don’t give a crap. I’m going to Rio, she’s going home”. My personal translation would be “I don’t give a shit…” but I suppose that makes for a slightly less child-friendly meme. So I understand the distinction.

Hope & Pia

What makes tonight’s final even more exciting is the nail-biting shootout win that brought the Swedish team here. After an initial loss to Brazil in group play, Sweden came to play this past Tuesday. Overcoming the initial loss was no small thing either, the two team’s first meeting this Olympics was an epic loss for Sweden with Brazil finding the back of the net a full five times. But with another grand display of defensive play the Swedish team did it again in five shootout shots, with two saves by Lindahl.

And yes, no one in Sweden has any finger nails anymore after all this shootout action.

The cherry on top is that Pia Sundhage was the head coach of the US women’s team for the past two Olympic golds. That is to say Sundhage is coaching tonight for her third gold in a row. Making their win over the US team a little sweeter for the Swedes, and her response to Solo’s comments all the better. But wait, this also happened: A reporter asked Sundhage if she could coach a men’s team. What do you think she said?

A whole country

Mic drop…

Now, I hope I’ve convinced you to also root for Sweden tonight. As we say in Sweden: Heja Sverige!

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go skating on a bandy arena while it’s snowing

Just to be clear, it needs to be an outdoor bandy arena. Little did I know when I wrote this list, there are, in fact, indoor bandy arenas. The thing is, outdoor hockey rinks work just as well.

A couple of winters ago I was practicing with my hockey team on the outdoor rink.

outdoor rink

There’s something about being outdoors in the winter. Working up a sweat and having a blast with your teammates. It’s a feeling that’s hard to beat. I think working out and training during the winter is especially important. Especially when one lives in Sweden where the winters are dark like night for 6 months. Getting outdoors in the winter time can also be less than motivating. Which is why I highly recommend this activity.

Gliding along in a muffled world of white while snow sprinkles down from above. It’s truly an experience.

The thing is, there is no longer an outdoor hockey rink where we play. A second rink was built this past year, and finished for this season.

new rink

It’s a beautiful rink, fully equipped for sled hockey. We even have our very own sled hockey team here in town.

new rink

Check out those clear boards!

 

Luckily there’s still the outdoor bandy arena. So there really is no down side. It’s soon to be spring in Sweden, but don’t forget to lace up those skates next year and take the time to be outdoors in the winter. It’s worth it.

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another season come and gone

Not only is it officially spring, but the hockey season has officially ended.

If you haven’t read my previous hockey update, check it out here. We had our last playoff games this past weekend. Although we didn’t quite get the results we were hoping for, we still had some successes along the way. Here were the results:

final standings

We came in 7th place. It would have been great to be one of the four teams moving up to Riksserien, the highest women’s league in Sweden, but it just wasn’t in the cards for us this year. But, like I said there were some positive aspects of our play. We won 2 games, and tied 2, winning 1 game in over time. Against the team that has played their season completely undefeated, Djurgården, we were the only team in kvalserien to score against them in both games in playoffs, scoring one goal each time we played them. We were also the only team to win a period against Djurgården in the entire playoff series, our third period in the second game against them we won 1-0. We took points from Sundsvall, winning in overtime our first game against them. We worked hard, but most importantly we came together as a team.

We played with determination and heart. Although we didn’t achieve all of our goals, and while it is difficult to be completely satisfied placing 7th in the standings it’s important to focus on the forward strides we did make. Live and learn.

damlag_4x3_bakgr

Here’s looking forward to what next season will bring, and all the hard work to come during the off-season.

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kvalserien

I scrolled through my posts for the past 7 months and found, to my surprise, that I haven’t written a single one about hockey this season. If anybody else is keeping track, this is my 14th season playing the sport.

As I scrolled I noticed how updated I kept you all last season, so I hope you’ll feel the love again as I summarize the 2014-2015 season for ya.

This year the team I played on last year (Linden) joined up with another team in Södermanland (kind of like a county in Sweden), that team is Södertälje Sportklubb. We joined our forces to create SSK/Linden, and my oh my was that a good decision. The resulting team has more players, more talent, and I’d like to think more fun. It’s a totally different environment from last year, where there are always a good number of girls at the practice and practices are high intensity and focused. (Okay, mostly focused.) With so many players we’ve also been able to play four lines all season, which is a great advantage over teams who are forced to play with many fewer players.

IMG_5585

Officially, according to the Swedish Icehockey Association (Svenska Ishockeyförbundet or SIF), we’re only allowed to play under one club name, so on their standings we’re listed as SSK.

image courtesy of the app by swehockey.se

image courtesy of the app by swehockey.se

It has been quite the adventure joining two teams together, but it has paid off in game play as we’ve finished the regular season in second place. Our regular season ended the Wednesday before last with a win, and we’re continuing on to play offs.

Playoffs start TODAY. You read that right, to-day. Playoffs consist of game play across Sweden against one team from the Southern region, one team from the Northern region, one team from the Western region, and two other teams from the Eastern region. We’re the third team from the Eastern region. The two teams that placed last and second to last in Sweden’s highest women’s league, Riksserien, join us as well in playoffs.

The schedule is broken up into three games a week in 30 days. We play Saturday & Sunday, as well as one week day game. All eight teams are competing for four spots in Riksserien. These four spots are two more than any other year, as this season SIF has decided to increase the number of teams in Riksserien from 8 to 10.

The eight teams playing in the play offs have until January 31st to finalize their roster. This means that up until three weeks ago teams were recruiting. Many of the teams in playoffs now knew they would be playing in this league a while back so they have planned accordingling and brought some “fresh legs” to their teams. In the past this has provided for exciting game play as teams no longer have the same composition they had during regular season play.

Who knows what will happen once game play begins?! Things will be exciting. Guaranteed.

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2013-2014 hockey season

Every hockey season spans two years. Since starting off the hockey season in September we have come a long way.  The second half of the season starts tomorrow with a game in Stockholm.

Back in September we had a team bonding day where we played different team bonding games. Games that involved long poles, cooking meat sauce and rock climbing. It was a great day, where lots of bonding took place.

poles and such

meat sauce

climbing

We had a few serious conversations about our goals that day. I thought it’d be fun to take a look back, now that we’re embarking on a new year and the second half of regular play. Which is why I made a word cloud, using the fancy Java found here. Before our season started up we had the following goals and ideas about what this season would look like and what it would take to get where we wanted to be.

lindendam_wordcloud

Yes this is in Swedish. For those of you less adept at the Swedish language I also made one in English.

wordcloud_english

This is how we thought, felt, and expected to act at the beginning of the season. This is what we thought we would need to achieve in order to reach our goals.

Side bar: I know I didn’t translate “allettan”. Let me explain. We play in Division 1 East. That entails that at the end of our season three teams from our division move on to compete in a tournament called “allettan”. Allettan is a compilation of the top teams of Division 1 across Sweden. The top two teams from the allettan tournament go on to compete with the bottom two teams in riksserien for a spot in next years riksserien (the highest women’s hockey league in Sweden).

I thought it would be interesting to take a look again at what we were looking to get out of this season. How well have we lived up to these goals? It may be too soon to tell. We still have a chance at making it to allettan, but the road ahead will be a long one. We will have to work harder than we have worked thus far. I still think all of these words have a place in describing our team. I hope they still do when the season wraps up.

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video killed the radio star

A couple of weeks ago I was singing this song to my self. Over and over again as I walked down the road from work to Sörmlands radio station. I only know the one line, so really I was just singing “video killed the radio star” over and over again, and dancing like MC Hammer as I went.

Evelina and I appeared on Swedish public radio. I say appeared because it sounds like we have been long-awaited guests. Or that we’re super cool and interesting people who appear on the radio. Which we are.

We visited P4 to talk about hockey. Each week they have a contest where the listener is to guess which athletic activity is being referred to. Following the unveiling of the correct athletic pursuit, participants of that sport make an appearance on the show. The week Evelina and I made our appearance our sport was the sport in question.

P4 coffee

Evelina and I not only current players, but we also coach cute little kiddos how to skate on weekend mornings. We clearly like this stuff if we’re willing to give up our only two sleep in mornings for it. In hind sight I think we did well. We talked up our sport and discussed the differences between men’s and women’s hockey, we even got a word in on how inexpensive it is to start up and how children should come try it out. Over all, very successful.

If you’re dying to hear the interview here’s the link. Or if you’re just super curious about what I sound like in Swedish. Fast forward to about 2:39:00 if it doesn’t already start there.

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happy birthday dad!

Last year on my Dad’s birthday I shared one of my earliest memories. With him and with you all.

This year, luckily, I was able to be home to celebrate with my Dad and family. Not on the actual day…but weekend before is pretty damn good when you live an ocean away. That’s what I say.

We watched my Dad play soccer and had a cook out. The soccer game was a good match, where Dad was in net. Or he was in net up until the last 20 minutes, where he came in and put one away. That’s right, he had a shut out and a goal, quite the Sunday morning. Dad’s goal brought the score to 4-0. An exciting game to watch on a beautiful fall day.

Dad's soccer day

Dinner was also good.

dinner time!

And of course there were presents.

Dad's birthday 2013

So: Happy Birthday Dad! Grattis! Congratulations on another year well lived.

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