Butchers 36 – 50 Wolverines
We did it! We only went and flippin’ did it. We became the first team to beat the Butchers in the playoffs since 2004. This year will see a new Finnish champion for the first time in seven years and it is all thanks to a Herculean effort by every member of the Wolverines squad yesterday.
I rarely remember what happens in games after they have happened, so I will forego the detailed match report and give you the brief version. I believe we opened the game by going fourteen points down. Then we scored loads of points and gave up three more touchdowns. That is my understanding anyway.
It was a fantastic experience and there was an enormous crowd at the game (I didn’t actually notice that until the final whistle), which included three of our dedicated followers, Ama, Kiirsi and Jomi. I didn’t know that they were going to make the trip to come and support us so to see them striding across the field to congratulate me after the game was fantastically uplifting. I’m looking forward to seeing them in the stands on Saturday for the Maple Bowl.
Huge thanks to Ben too. Unable to attend the game following his surgery, he spent the evening posting updates on my Facebook page for friends and family to follow. Ben and I have played football together for many years now and in the pre-game build up, I was surprised to find myself hauntingly aware of his absence. His dignified and supporting approach in what must be one of the toughest situations to face as an athlete is a perfect demonstration of his excellent character. I look forward to having him back on the sideline along with Aku and Matti, our other casualties for the season. They are on the sidelines at every game, despite their own personal struggles and it lifts us all.
But the celebrations were brief. The elation short-lived. The victory is utterly incomplete. All focus now shifts to the Maple Bowl on Saturday. We have a hard week of preparation for a team that have broken records this year and have beaten us twice already. But the belief is flowing through our team. We truly believe that we can win this Saturday and that the Wolverines can be Finnish champions for the first time in the club’s history.
I will ask of everyone who reads this, the same thing that I have asked of the team. Commit. For one week. Commit. Do whatever you can to drive the Wolverines to victory. For players, we know what we have to do. For Finnish fans, be there and be loud and be proud and cheer us to victory. For Brits and everyone else around the world that I wish could be at the game cheering us on, rally the troops.
This is a call to arms for anyone that I have the pleasure to have met. If you Twitter, #BacktheWolverines. Same on Facebook, on your websites, email your friends, team mates, family. Get on the Wolverines Facebook page and show your support at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Helsinki-Wolverines/43101223021
Whatever you can do, show your support as you have all season. We need you. We need you and we will be eternally grateful for your support come rain or shine.