Byes, Breaks and Basketball

We’ve got a bye week this week. The week after is midsummer so the whole of Finland packs up and goes to their summer cottages. It’s nice to have a change of scenery in order to drink beer and sit in your sauna. Either way, we’ve got no official football until the week before the Butchers game on the 2nd July. I say ‘official’ as most players will still work out in some sense. Defensive players are meeting tonight for an unofficial practice.

So not a lot of football going on. My real reason for coming on to post here is to tell you something I encountered at the gym this morning. I think it gives a nice snapshot of the Finnish physical activity culture. On the whole, they are a pretty healthy country (ignoring the drinking problem for a moment).

It is common to see groups of kids or middle aged people at the gym having a game of basketball or floorball but today I witnessed the other end of the spectrum. A group of 10 senior citizens were tossing a basketball around underneath the ring, not moving too quickly. It was nice to see the older generation still ‘having a go’, enjoying participating in a nice, gentle game.


Or so I thought….. until someone took a charge. Then another player made a block in a move I understand to be called a ‘pick and roll’ (basketball is not my game). Finally, one of the gentlemen (whom appeared to be old enough to remember when Vera Lynn was top of the charts) attacked the rim and polished off a fantastic little shot off the backboard. These guys were good. Damned good. This wasn’t just a bunch of old men stumbling around. They had great ball skills, vision and good (if a little laboured) movement. I can only imagine that when these chaps were a little younger, they probably played at quite a high level. They certainly would run rings around me.

It totally made my day.