Start As You Mean To Go On
As regular readers will be aware, I have been on holiday recently. Rather than regaling you all with fantastic tales of my Caribbean antics, I left the blog alone whilst I was away. I would have loved to have been describing my daily sessions of bat-and-ball or beach frisbee, but I feared that I would risk losing readers to the burning fires of jealousy. None of us want that to happen. So instead, just be assured that I was able to balance relaxation and fun with some beach training in order to stay in shape. True to his word, my brother in law Paul was a willing training partner and together we entertained the baying hordes of elderly ladies with our sunset workouts.
Through extraordinary good fortune, the holiday managed to avoid clashing with any games. Instead, it delivered me bleary eyed and struggling with sleeping patterns to Helsinki less than 48 hours before our season opener. But far from catching up on much needed sleep, my Saturday evening was filled by my first refereeing duty of the 2012 season. Naturally, I was fair and balanced, displaying equal levels of incompetence towards both teams.
Then finally game day was upon us. Traditionally, the Jaguars have given us a rough ride in games. We always emerge victorious but never through good performances. This time around we put in a competent performance for a season opener, opening up an early lead and finishing the game 49-13. The Jaguars have some personnel issues, with the most obvious being the absence of their american QB, who is due to arrive this week.
We performed pretty well overall and we got the win, but as with the majority of season openers, there is a lot of room for improvement. We play against the Northern Lights next week, who should prove to be more of a challenge.
One grumble that I am afraid that I must voice involves a quite unnecessary level of pedantry on the part of those who administer and officiate Finnish Football. As you all know, we play our home games on an astroturf that is more akin to sandpaper than grass. Thus it is necessary for players to wear long sleeves in order to avoid losing a few chunks of flesh here and there. It is pretty much unavoidable to come away from each game without a burn or two, but it is nice to try to minimise the risk.
Yesterday, on a number of occasions, players were sent from the field in order to remove their under shirts on account of them being ‘not the designated team colour’. Apparently, in order for us to wear long sleeves, they must be either blue or yellow this year. But the farce did not end here. So intent were the referees on ensuring that we all looked nice and pretty for our colossal 327 spectators, that any time they saw even a centimetre of the wrong coloured short sleeve protruding from beneath the shoulder pads, they sent the player off the field to remove the offending garment.
I would like to know the reasoning behind this disruptive and quite frankly, ludicrous rule. In particular, I’d be keen to know why a tiny flash of short sleeve that is only evident on close inspection warrants the demand for the removal of the shirt. If this rule is to be enforced in a largely amateur sport, where players have to pay exorbitant prices to import the equipment necessary to play, then I suggest that whoever is responsible for it’s implementation step forward and purchase every player a beautiful, matching set of under shirts. Surely there are more important things to consider within the sport than worrying about petty vanities such as this.
In more positive news, this evening we are welcoming our new Defensive Coordinator to the team. Everyone is excited for his arrival and I think it will prove to be another great step for us. He has an abundance of experience as a coach in Europe and we all hope he can make sure we are all improving all of the time.
nb. All photos are courtesy of Riku Flink