An Evening at a Football Match

Trip Start May 23, 2007
1
5
Trip End Jun 03, 2007


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Flag of Finland  ,
Monday, June 4, 2007

Su-o-mi! Su-o-mi!  Maali! Maali! Maali!

For 90 minutes on Saturday night I was yelling for the home team, the Finnish country team playing against the Serbs. The match was held in the Olympic Stadium (built for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics) and since our hostel was actually located inside the Stadium (think the old Architecture School at OU, if you're familiar with it) it was either beat 'em or join
'em.

And since we wanted to root for the underdog, Finland was our team for the evening. Of course about 95% of the crowd was also for Finland, but on the far side of the stadium, completely enclosed by security forces and with empty seats totally surrounding them was a vocal, boisterous cheering section for the Serbs.

The Serbs only won 2-0, so I suppose it was fairly close under the circumstances. I had a hot dog and a pepsi (no beer sold inside the stadium) and bought a blue and white scarf for Finland as a souvenir. I'd never been to a real football match before, much less a country match, so it was worth it. Our seats were REALLY bad, though. They were actually
behind the goal. But it was fun to cheer with the Finns. And it was probably better that they didn't win, at least for our own peace and quiet!

The night before the parking lot outside the stadium had been the scene of the Finns' version of American Graffitti. Yes, every first Friday of the month night Helsinkians gather to show off their classic American (and European and Japanese) cars in the parking lot and take turns squealing their tires until about 1:00 am or so... I didn't go watch, but someone who did said they actually burned the rubber off all the way down to the rims while videotaping it.... Weird hobby...  Of course, we couldn't sleep anyway that evening because the Serbian soccer hooligans staying in our hostel decided to drink and sing outside our windows all night. Ah, I'd forgotten how much fun hostelling is...

On Sunday all the students seemed to get off okay. Many of them left at 6:00 am and I decided not to see them off. I'll see them again back at UMKC for the last class. I took a boatride around Helsinki and its surrounding islands on Sunday afternoon and fell asleeep on the boat. I hope the trip was nice...

I moved from the hostel to a hotel for my last night in Helsinki. I stayed at a place called Omenahotelli (which means Apple Hotel). It's completely run electronically. You can't book by phone or in person, only over the Internet. They e-mail you a room number and an electronic code and you use that to enter the hotel and your room. It was a little weird, I never thought about using Information Technology to replace service personnel, but they managed to do away with the desk and reservations staff. There was a woman in the hall who was clearly cleaning rooms when I got there, though, and she said "hi." If they can just get a roomba, they can do away with her, too..

(Oh yeah, the cheers at the beginning of the message mean Finland! Finland! Goal! Goal! Goal!)

Next up.... Russia!
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