Attitude

Olympic Games, World Cups and The Euros. Those are among the most interesting events in recent history that have lacked a considerable amount of Finnish colours, as in Finland has not been represented in a major football (soccer) tournament since the Olympic games in 1980, which were held in the now defunct USSR. The Finnish national team has at times been rather close to making it to the “big games”, however always lacking the “final push” to win important games so as to qualify for the tournaments. Nevertheless, we Finns are not ones to give up easy, nor do we listen to commonsense.

Most cities abroad, when hit by a blizzard, go into “lock-down”; Airports, schools, stores, you name it, close down and people tend to not go outside if it is not mandatory for them to do so. When Helsinki gets a ton of snow (as expected) it’s business as usual, no big deal. Still, even though, I am a full-fledged Finn and do manage well in this climate that has been given to us, even I wouldn’t think of going out to play football in this weather (and this has nothing to do with the fact that I am more of an Ice Hockey fan).

It had not even crossed my mind that when I went outdoors for a walk with my camera that I would run into kids running around the fields, first clearing the pitches of snow and afterwards kicking the ball around. It was as if the players did not notice that Siberia was moving to Helsinki flake by flake, already occupying most of the football pitches with large amounts of snow. I for one enormously enjoy being indoors and staying warm, heck, I even skipped ice hockey practices as a kid, simply because I did not feel like going outside, which is why it is hard to get my head around why these youngsters would go outside, during a blizzard and play football?! In shorts! (They did have long johns underneath, but still!)

To my understanding the main club of Helsinki, HJK, travels abroad, seeking warmth and holding their training camps in more desirable destinations, but I also know that there are a number of indoor training facilities at the disposal of these young Ronaldinhos running around in the snow here. I would have to assume that there are not enough facilities to cater to these seemingly enthusiastic football prodigies, or that these guys really enjoy some fresh air. Be it as it may, I have to say that, even though, I have given football in Finland a hard time, I have to respect these dudes for doing their thing, rain or shine, kinda like the U.S. Postal Service (Ok, for the postal service it’s probably more of a marketing motto).

Regardless of the fact that we have not seen Finland in tournaments in a long time, I have a strong feeling that that is going to change in the future. It has to. It’s a long and rocky road, but we have already seen positive outcomes of the Finnish training system, Teemu Pukki and Joel Pohjanpalo to name a few prospects. With this amount of attitude and perseverance these guys have even in their training, if we manage to add a bit more skill into that, I think we will be seeing Finland in the major tournaments once more in the future.

Autumn

This post was due already a couple a weeks ago, but because of technical difficulties, a lengthy post that I wrote on a cold October night never saw the light of day i.e.  never made its way onto the world wide web. Sometimes my life feels rather hectic, even though when observing from a far, it isn’t, perhaps it is just my own mind that makes everything so difficult and complicated in my small world, but at times I feel that I need to unwind.

I often clear my head by going for long walks during chilly autumn nights, thinking about the past, present and future. One evening as I headed out, a scarf around my neck, a beanie on my head and a camera in my hand, I reminisced about a lot of things as I took deep breaths of  the fresh air outside. It’s funny how climate can bring to our mind our own past sometimes, as if those things had happened just yesterday.

As I walked in my local park, that had gone silent for the winter, inhabited now only by small bunnies running mindlessly through the leaf covered scene, I remembered how I always linked autumn to anticipating something. I remember how as a small kid I waited eagerly for the leaves to fall and the colder weathers to come, because with cold weather came ice and with ice came ice hockey. Even though I have had periods in my life when hockey hasn’t been that important, as a kid it was. Partly because that was where all of your friends also were, on the ice. Only now as I’m a bit older I’ve noticed that in fact my oldest and most trustworthy friends were indeed my line mates as I was 6 or 7. Some of my friends continued to play hockey, I didn’t, I moved onto skiing, downhill that is.

When I started to ski and film my friends for snowboard videos and stuff (LINK), I got into new fun circles for which I am to this day still damn grateful. Every autumn as the weather started to get colder, we watched ,nearly non-stop, the webcam of our local ski center, to see if the snow-cannons had started to paint the slopes white, and when they did start to cover the hill with what was more Ice than snow, we headed to the center to film something. Waiting for the ski season to start was for a long time a part of my autumn, but that changed once I moved to Helsinki, and especially now that I live in Berlin.

Sure,I could have continued to ski in Helsinki, but it would’ve been way too much of a hassle to travel to the nearby towns, with public transport, not to mention not having the familiar faces of my “crew” there. As if by accident my road started to lead back to my former hobby, although this time to the rafters. A good friend of mine started to lure me into going to see the hockey matches in Helsinki, needless to say it didn’t take long for me to be hooked again to ice hockey. As the hockey season starts usually around September, this “spectator sport” started to be the new thing that I awaited to begin during autumns, we even went to see my team’s (IFK Helsinki) training matches in August, because at times it felt that the season couldn’t come quick enough. Needless to say, I haven’t been to IFK’s games in a while having moved to Berlin.

I have tried to follow both my team’s games and the local Berlin team’s games here, but it hasn’t felt the same. I do still watch the Finnish league (and the NHL , if they didn’t have a lockout season), but nowadays I’ve noticed I enjoy spending a lot of time with my camera. Even on that cold October night, as I was kicking the maple leaf piles with my feet in the empty park, I had my Sony with me. I perhaps lacked the anticipation of something “seasonal” but I have a continuous hobby now, which is surprisingly chill and allows me to clear my head as well. Dwelling through the park, snapping photos and enjoying the lack of noises is just bliss at times. That night I spent a good few hours walking around, stopping now and again to sit on a bench to observe the wild life that had still stayed in the park for the upcoming winter.

I believe Nietzsche once said ” All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking” and I do believe he is on to something there, since at least for me, when I walk alone in the evenings I am able to clear my head of the  less useful thoughts and focus on the good ones, which is something that for me is hard to do at times when surrounded by people. I might have walked out that night out of the door, with a big stressful mess of different thoughts, but returned with a much calmer mind and even a couple of nice photos, all thanks to a “sleeping” park and a late evening walk. I also know now that I do not need to have anything to anticipate during the autumn anymore, sure skiing would be fun, but in the end, taking pictures or writing nonsense isn’t a bad hobby either, and you can do it anytime of the year.