One Hundred Posts. Time For A Celebration And A New Perspective.
Three seasons in Finland have given me so much to look back on. I have acquired friends, a championship and a deep well of memories. On top of that, I now have a chronicle of one hundred blog posts that I have shared with you all, upon which I can look back and reminisce. I would have loved for post number one hundred to have come a couple of weeks ago, coinciding with the end of the season. Not only that, but I would have loved for it to have been a celebration of back-to-back Maple Bowl titles. As we know, that did not happen.
What I have chosen to do instead is offer up the stage to someone else. I wish to celebrate one hundred posts by revealing a different perspective on life with the Wolverines. I am quite sure that on top of the many football players who read this blog, there are friends, families and loved ones of football players. This post is for you. With that in mind, I would like to introduce Kayt Hennessy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
As one of Ric’s older sisters I follow his career in American Football as closely as I can. I read his blog and twitter feeds and spend many a weekend glued to the sajl website, waiting for the results to come in. He asked me to write a bit about what it is like from my point of view, so here goes.
As with our whole family, I am a bit of a sports fan but until a few years ago American Football was not one that I knew anything about. My first experience of the game was watching a game that Ric played in Leicester a number of years ago. Men in pads randomly flinging themselves against each other and stopping play every two minutes was about the extent of my knowledge. Having now followed Ric for a number of years, I still see this as very much the case but I have developed a bit of an understanding of the reasons behind the flinging and the stopping. I now know the basics of, for example, why the whole team seems to swap on and off the field at regular intervals, and the reason why two men stand with giant lollipop sticks at the side of the pitch. I consider this progress.
During Ric’s time in Finland in particular, I have been able to access some of his games on the internet. This has caused much entertainment for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Finnish commentary, which of course I understand none of. The only words that my husband an I (who is invariably hooked along with me) can make out are people’s names and the announcement when someone scores. It seems to us however that to say these words in Finnish, you must add an ‘e’ to the beginning and/or end of all words. Games commentary on the skills of the likes of ‘ejohnson’, ‘ewebbe’ and, our favourite, ‘eric hennessy’!. Points were often scored to the cries of ‘etouchdown!’, both on the commentary and live in our lounge. More entertainment comes when watching the games in the company of others. I have spent many a game explaining these basics to friends and sounding to them (with no knowledge of the game) like a pro. Some of them are very interested in the ins and outs, some on the other hand are just interested in the fact that my little brother is on tv and would watch excitedly for ‘the one in the yellow shoes!’
There have been a few real highlights from Ric’s time in Finland. Firstly, I was lucky enough to go out and visit him last year during the season. My husband and I flew out for the weekend to see where he lives and works. We had a very enjoyable weekend, meeting some of his friends and watching a match too. His position had been changed for the end of the season due to an injury to another player so he was no longer in defence as usual. He was concerned that ‘we would not see him at his best’ but to be honest, for us it was much more exciting as attacking is always more exciting than defending! (controversial!)
Another was the Maple Bowl last season. I searched the internet in the weeks previous to the game to try to find a link and quizzed a number of computer friends to see if they could do the same. Just when it looked like an impossible task, my friend came through with a link. Hurrah! I found myself caught up in a spectacularly tense afternoon, shouting at the laptop quite a lot, either cheering like a normal person or shouting at big beefy men that were landing on top of my brother! In addition to this I was also in constant text updates to my parents who were at a football match, keeping them informed of the scores. It wasn’t a walk over. Tense times.
There are of course a number of downsides. Namely that contact can be a little troublesome. I will make a sweeping generalisation here but in my experience, boys that I know are are a lot less likely to keep in regular contact than girls so although we are in contact, this is very sporadic. I read the blog and go through spells of Skype conversations with Ric when he is in range of the internet but these come and go in waves. When we do see each other/speak, we get on really well and have a laugh. In fact some younger relatives recently declared that they hope to be like my siblings and I when they are old (much to Ric’s disgust!). But being away means that we do miss out on things in each others’ lives. He now for example, has a couple of nieces that could benefit from some Uncle Ric sporting and musical tuition!
Being far away, you sometimes hear about bad things very late too. He has had his ups and downs medically apart from anything else and it is frustrating being so far away and not being able to do anything to help. The benefits of his career far outweigh the negatives. Ric is good at what he does and I am very proud of his achievements. He enjoys his work (most of the time) and it has enabled him to travel and live in other countries too. Through football (and his recent academic achievements) he has also developed a liking for writing; sharing his blog and guest writing elsewhere. So time to think about next season I think Ric… Do any tropical countries with miles of sandy beaches have leagues that you could play in…?!