Posts filed under 'Sports'

Epilogue

One week has now passed since I left Seattle and the United States of America. Almost ten months has passed since I first got there. While I wouldn't be surprised to find my self back there one day, I feel that this is a good time to summarize my experiences from the large country 'over there'.

I'll start with a one sentence summary of the greater Seattle area; Like Sweden, but bigger.

To elaborate, pretty much everything is bigger over there. The trees are bigger, the mountains are bigger, the cars are bigger, the stadiums are bigger and more numerous, the streets are wider, and the food portions are more generous. While we also have trees, mountains, cars, stadiums, streets and everything else they have over there, theirs are simply bigger. Whether that is positive or negative depends on the question at hand, and I guess I can't give a much better generic answer than "it depends".

The second most obvious thing I've noticed about Seattle is that people are more relaxed, hospitable, and easy-going. They are simply just very nice. Nicer than Swedes, I would say, at least on a shallow level. But when you think about how many people you talk to on any given day, you realize that you actually have a lot of rather shallow conversations. Americans are just so much better than Swedes at having those casual and spontaneous conversations. In fact, if there is one thing I would like to bring back home to Sweden, it would be this very skill.

One of the absolutely best things I did in Seattle, possibly even the best, was to start playing Ultimate. I've met a whole bunch of cool Americans, I've learned a great sport, and I've had so much fun! Not to mention that it has helped me stay in shape, and not gain any weight. I can wholeheartedly recommend both Ultimate as a sport, as well as playing some kind of team sport while studying abroad. It's a great chance to meet new people.

Also, I'm happy I took the chance to travel as much as I did. I've visited Hawaii, Las Vegas, Florida, Olympic Peninsula and California. During some trips, I either visited someone I knew, or had a visitor, which made them extra fun. Although I've spent thousands of dollars on these trips, I don't regret traveling for a second. The places I've visited are places I would have wanted to visit sometime in my life anyway, and why not do it when you've already paid for the trip over the Atlantic anyway? However, as a word of advice, don't forget to bring a towel! 😉

So, finally, for any and all of you out there – if you have the chance to study abroad, do it! For some reason, most people who have studies abroad tend to say that it was one of the best times of their lives, and that don't regret it. Although it might sound as a cliché, I can't help but chime in. Do it! You will have a great time, and you won't regret it.

Over and out,
Henrik

1 comment July 11th, 2006

Swollen upper lip

Henrik with swollen upper lip.Tonight I played Ultimate as I usually do on Mondays and Wednesdays. Before the actual game started, I was just throwing back and forth with some random guy. It was somewhat windy, and when I held my hands ready to catch the disc coming towards me, the wind moved it up about a decimeter right before I was about to catch it. This resulted in that the disc, instead of hitting my hands as planned, hit right on my upper lip instead. Bam! That hurt. And it's gonna look beautiful tomorrow.

Well, not much you can do about it.. (besides putting some ice on it, but I was too lazy to get some). I continued playing. Towards the end of the game, I was running for the disc and just about to score when one of my team mates (who was also going for the disc) accidentally macked it right into my face. On my upper lip, to be more precise. Bam! That hurt, again! It's going to be even more beautiful tomorrow.

After this, I actually convinced myself to go get some ice to put on my lip. I don't know how much it helped, I might have been to late, but it's better than nothing I guess.

3 comments May 25th, 2006

A perfect day

A perfect day.Today has been pretty close to a perfect day. The weather has been really nice, with temperatures above 20 degrees Celcius. I've spent about five and a half hour playing Ultimate in one form or another. I've even managed to get some school work done! Incredible! 😉

By the way, the picture is taken by [Karin](http://nejlika.se/photo) while she was here. I'm not trying to take any credit for it, I just thought it represented "a perfect day" nicely. 🙂

1 comment April 25th, 2006

Going to Vegas!

Our team's logo, visually inspired by Soviet propagandaTomorrow afternoon, I'm leaving for three and a half day in Las Vegas. It's gonna be all about playing, but not about money and not in the casinos. Instead, we'll be playing Ultimate and we'll play at a sporting complex a few miles west of "the strip".

More specifically, it is an Ultimate Frisbee tournament called Trouble in Vegas featuring 96 teams from all over North America. And among those are both we, the Washington Ultimate B-team called "The Brawl", as well as the "Sundodgers", the A-team.

In preparation for this tournament, we've all ordered identical shorts and jerseys to play in, so that we will look like a team. Our beautiful dress consists of long and wide purple shorts and one white and one black jersey. We've also put the team's name and logo on the jerseys (in purple and gold, respectively), as well as player numbers on the back. I chose number 42. I'll get back with photos as soon as I've got some (most likely after Vegas).

The weather reports says that we'll have a 20-25 degrees Celcius and little wind during all of the tournament, so that's going to be pretty much perfect. As soon as the sun goes down however, the temperature drops more or less immediately to somewhere about 10 degrees. It's in a desert after all.

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5 comments February 9th, 2006

Seahawks lost

Oh, shit. Seahawks lost against the Pittsburg Steelers. Well, that was too bad. But at least I got to experience a real Superbowl party at a couple of friends' house. There were about 40 of us at the party, cheering for Seahawks, but it didn't help. The other team won, and the feeling of losing was pretty obvious. Most people just left imediately. Some of them stayed however, most of them the few people who didn't care too much about football.

At the party I was at, they had a big screen with a projector and a couple of smaller TV's to show the game. They also had a keg (roughly "kagge" in Swedish) of beer for those who wanted something to drink. Overall, it was a fun party. At least until the Steelers took the lead the Seahawks originally had.
I guess it would have been more fun if the Seahawks would have won, but as I said, at least I got the chance to experience a real Superbowl party!

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1 comment February 5th, 2006

The art of lying

Before Ultimate practice, we have track practice. That basically means that before the normal two hours of practice, we spend an extra hour running on a running track. It is all but killing me, but I guess it's good for me. And also, we're running at the huge Husky Stadium (see image below), which is a cool feeling.

The Husky Stadium

Anyway, today we were told to run 3 times 200 meters at 85% of our top speed, 3 times 400 at 75% and finally 2 times 100 at full speed. That we "only" have to run at 75% of top speed for the 400 meter races rather than full speed makes it sound reasonable, almost nice. I mean, after all, they don't make us run at top speed for 400 meters, but only 75%. However, it's really just a nice little lie. Why? Well, nobody (at least none of us at the team) can run 400 meters at their top speed! 75% of top speed is probably about as fast as any of us can run. So what they're actually saying is; always run as fast as you possibly can. But that sure doesn't sound as nice. 🙂

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1 comment January 24th, 2006

OFUDG

My on-field outfit.I just came back from Eugene where I've played in my second Ultimate Frisbee tournament called Oregon Fall Ultimate Disc Games. It was great fun, although I'm very happy with being back home since you get awfully tired of running around on a field all day. In the picture to the right you can see how I looked when I played. I have full-body under armour, a t-shirt, and pair of shorts, and a hat to keep my head warm.

The trip down took about six hours by car, and I went in a big van together with five other people. We then arrived to Eugene and found the house (belonging to a friend of one of the team's captains) where we were supposed to sleep and more or less directly went to bed. I slept in my sleeping bag on the floor. That was because I wasn't quick enough to grab one of the couches. 🙂

When we woke up next morning at roughly 7 am, we went to the field where we were supposed to play during the day. It was a turf (artificial grass) field belonging to a elementary or middle school (not sure which) in the area. Our first game was supposed to start at 9, but the other team never showed up, so we got roughly one hour extra time off and were considered the winners of that game by 15-0. After that, we played three other teams, where we won the first one, lost the second and almost won the third one. It was a really close one and a very good game as such. We had a 3 point lead before game point which we managed to lose somehow.

At Saturday night, there was a party planned. We went there and stayed for an hour or so but then we were just too tired to stay, so we went back to our house and slept. We heard the day after that we missed a good party, but on the other hand, we played better on Sunday morning than many who stayed longer at the party. 😉

After the games on Saturday, we managed to qualify for the playoff ("slutspel" in Swedish). That means in other words that we were one of the 16 best teams in the tournament. Unfortunately, we lost both of our games today though. But even though Sunday and perhaps the tournament in general was not a big success result-wise, it was still a really good tournament for the team. It is good to play several games together with the same people, as you get to know them better, both on and off the field.

For me personally, the tournament was also good. I tried to do my best in every point I was playing, and although things didn't always go as I planned, I did pretty well. Apart from the obvious feeling of success you get from actually scoring a point, there are other things that can make you feel good about your play. For example, if you are playing defense and the person you are guarding never gets to touch the disc because you can anticipate what he's trying to do and position yourself in his way, that is a great feeling. Very much of the game is about that, read the game and outsmart your opponent.

A detail which was both annoying and funny was that it was very foggy during the weekend. Late Saturday evening during our last game for the day it was sometimes actually hard to see the white disc while it was flying because of the mist. Sometimes, it was almost even hard to see the players on the other side of the field. 🙂

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4 comments November 20th, 2005

Research?

I'm currently thinking about trying to get into some kind of research here at the university for the winter and/or spring quarter. My thought is that the credits I get for it would replace one of my traditional courses. It would also be a fun experience, to actually do some real academic research.

I've been talking to (my third interview ([1](The first interview), [2](Amazon.com Interview)) in eight days) one of the people involved with a research project called KnowItAll. It is a system which tries to automatically extract huge amounts of information (facts) from the Internet. For example, it could figure out which countries exist in the world, what their capital cities are and their populations, without any human telling it anything about what a country, city and population is, or the relations between them. To use their own words, it's a "a domain-independent system that extracts massive amounts of information from the Web in an autonomous, scalable manner". I'm not sure yet whether or not they want me involved, but I'll hopefully find out in the next few days.

As a side note: At 6 pm tonight I'm off to my second Ultimate Frisbee tournament. This time the place a bit further away, the city Eugene in southern Oregon, the state south of Washington. I'll be back after the weekend with a report.

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1 comment November 18th, 2005

Sundodger’s Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

This weekend I have been at an Ultimate Frisbee tournament. It was the first one for me, and also one which we arrange. There were roughly 30 teams there during the weekend, divided into the classes Open (99% men), Women and High-school. Since we in our teams were so many (at least 40), we could participate with two (roughly equal) teams, both the open class.

A lot of grass, and a bunch of people

We all went to the tournament in cars, I went together with two other rookies (players who are new in the team) in a car driven by Sundodger veteran Dru Orthman. We left Seattle about 7 am and was at the fields (in Burlington, see map link at bottom of post) about an hour later. There were a total of 14 fields, each roughly the size of a soccer field, on a huge grassy area. We were fortunate enough to play all of our games the first day at the field closest to the tents which provided food and snacks (might it have something to do with the fact that we were the ones who organized the tournament? ;-)). We met a total of four other teams the first day, some of them not too good and some of them very good. We won two games and lost two. I got to play quite often, perhaps 4-8 points per game (which means 1/4 of the time), and I think I performed quite well.

Saturday afternoon when our games were over and it was starting to get dark, it was time to think about finding a place to stay. Most people drove back to Seattle and slept there. I, however, had managed to find a place to live in Burlington. Sara, one of the girls in the women’s UF team lived there (or more precisely, her parents did). We had been talking at practices before, and she invited me to stay their house during the weekend. And I [said yes](http:// http://blog.nogo.se/2005/09/25/dare-or-not-dare-that-is-the-question/).

Their kitchen.Livingroom.The bed where I slept.

When we got to the house, we parked the car (each family member has their own, by the way) I met her mother, father and sister. After taking a very much longed-for shower (it had been a very cold day), we had an all-American dinner; hamburgers. I was given some tasks to do to help preparing the dinner, such as putting plates and silverware on the table. According to my travel guide, the greatest honor in the USA is not to be waited upon, but to be included and told to “help yourself�? and “make yourself at home�?. During dinner we chatted about Sweden, Seattle and a bunch of other things. I must say that the whole family was very friendly and easy to talk to, or as Sara described it: "easy going".
A very big TV with me next to it to show the size.
After chatting some more, I and her sister went to the movie rental store to find a movie to watch while Sara stayed at home doing some homework she had to do; we chose the movie The Motorcycle Diaries. They had a very big wide screen TV, although it was surprisingly enough not connected to an TV antenna or cable TV outlet. Apparently the parents didn't think [TV was something worth spending time on](Texas Cowboys Cheerleaders).

Although Sara's games on Sunday didn't start until about two hours later, she promised to drive me back to the field at 7 am. I arrived there, and helped assemble tents, prepare the breakfast and some other small things. There was one very obvious difference between this day and the day before; everything was wet. Really wet. And it continued raining most of the day. That ment everything was wet, and if it is wet it becomes cold. Nevertheless, games needed to be played. So after the preparations, it was time to warm up for our first game that day; we were playing the Rum Runners from Montana. It turned out to be a rather easy win. The next game was a completely different thing, however. The second team we played was the UW alumnae team. That means that the team consisted of people who had previously attended the UW, but who had now graduated. All of them played Ultimate Frisbee during their college time and most of them had continued to play after college. Some of them had even won the nationals togeather with the Seattle-based team Sockeye. Basically they were very, very good. Although they were pretty lazy (since they knew they were good), we didn't have a real chance of winning. We provided pretty good resistance, though.

After the loss against the alumnae, the tournament was over for our part. That ment we could get out of our wet sports clothes and change to (reasonably) dry normal clothes. Then we went back to Seattle with our respective cars tired but rather satisfied. That was all for this tournament, but the next tournament is next weekend, down in Oregon. Until then, over and out from your Ultimate Frisbee reporter.

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4 comments November 14th, 2005

Cleats

My new cleats.I just bought my first pair of cleats ever. They are intended for soccer, but works equally well for [Ultimate Frisbee](First ultimate frisbee practice). I am more or less the only person on the practices who doesn't have them, which means that it takes me much longer to change direction when I'm running (which you do a lot), and therefore I have to run even more to try to catch up.

First I thought it was too expensive to buy a pair of cleats just for playing nine months, but then I realized that they don't cost as much as they do back in Sweden here. I just got a pair of Adidas soccer shoes for $30 (~230 SEK). And they are not the cheapest ones. I could have saved another $5 if I had wanted to.

So hopefully, the Ultimate Frisbee practices will become a little, little bit easier and funnier. 🙂

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Add comment October 14th, 2005

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