What have I been up to in Sweden? Well, over christmas I went to Barcelona and Madrid which was really really cool. It was great to see the sun in the middle of the dark Swedish winter, get a break then come back for the second part of the season. Unfortunately for me neither of those things (the break, or the sun) would help with the second half of the season in terms of results. We struggled in the second half of the season. Due to a variety of reasons, including at times performance, we also had a lot of injuries and players missing. Circumstances meant one of our pro wing Canadians had to leave with 2 months left in the season. Although we did pick up an extra Canadian over christmas, we managed to keep up our Canadian quota to at least 2 Canadians. Our captain and left side pulled his hamstring, and our Swedish wing player also missed a few games due to his beach volleyball commitments. So what did that leave us? With only 1 ‘traditional’ left side, although we did a good job of filling that spot, with our libero and middles spending sometime on the wing, which worked actually kind of well. We finished the season 5 wins and 21 losses, which put us in 9th place out 10 teams. This put us in the ‘qualification’ series. This series is where the bottom placed eliteseries teams, play against the teams who want to play for promotion (from the second highest division). This series would put us in a single round robin against 3 other teams who wanted to play in the eliteseries. To be honest, before the start of the series I had no idea how we would go. I’d never seen anyone from the second highest division play, so it was tough to know how challenging it would be. But the whole preparation was focused on our side of the net, and it all paid off. We won over the course of 3 weekends, all 3 of our matches, and all 3-0 (after all, 3 is the magic number). Some of the teams were clearly weaker, but we had some notable individual performances. Special mention to Anton, who in a 3 set match scored 8 aces (with a total of 19 points for that match).
So we swept the qualification series, which feels like the best situation of a bad situation (being in the qualification series in the first place, and not making playoffs).
So that’s all she wrote (hey that’s the title of this entry!) for the 2015/16 season. Now that matches are finished it is a cool chance to reflect a bit. It was a disappointing result, individually I didn’t perform how I would have liked. As a team, we definitely showed some really good signs at times, but never in important moments. Having said that, there was a lot to learn. Anyone who plays sports, knows you do learn a lot from losing, and this season there has been a bunch of stuff to take on board. Things from coaching staff, other players and just self analysis. Hopefully I can use this stuff, and get better, If not, then she’ll be right.
Also worth a mention, anyone who remembers a minute intricacy of my previous post knows and understand the number one rule in Sodertalje. That is, if you serve or spike under the net, you must bake a pie. And man oh man, in the second half of the season we must have had at least 1 pie being brought to practice a week. Then as the season got closer to finishing, and people still owed, by my rough calculations over the last 2 weeks of the season, someone brought baked goods to 8 of our last 10 sessions. And for those curious, yes at some stage I was a victim. I’d like to think my serve made it past the 3m line on my own side, but there is no video evidence. So what would an Australian in Sweden bake for his Swedish/Canadian team? You guessed it guys (no not pavlova), I made some lamingtons! Although met with a lot of questions of ‘what the hell is this?’ and ‘is there kangaroo in this?’ I think I did a good enough job that people have a strong impression of such a traditional Australian food. Now, my pieces of lamington weren’t exactly perfect squares, some would even call them just large crumbs for pieces but that’s not something that keeps me up at night.
What else have I been doing I here you ask? Well here comes probably the response no one would expect. As weird as it sounds to say I’m a professional volleyball player in Sweden, and I can now say just as weirdly that I am a teacher in Sweden. Yes, you heard correctly. While I’ve been in Sweden, I started doing some substitute work at some International Schools, then I got offered a full time position as a PE/Math/Science teacher at a school in Stockholm. So now I’m teaching PE to grade 1, 2, 3 and 6, Math to grade 6 and Science to grade 6 and 8. So by day I’m collared, ironed (well sometimes) button shirt wearing Mr. Bennett telling kids to do their math homework and not forgetting to bring their books to class. Then by night, a professional volleyball player. It’s a great combination, giving that it keeps me very occupied during the days, and also it’s a really cool experience to work with kid from 7 years old - 14 years old. While I am still figuring out how to exactly teach, what the Swedish curriculum is and what comes out of Swede’s mouth when they speak the Swedish language hopefully I am indirectly shedding some gnarly knowledge onto some young minds Some interesting things about the Swedish education system. Homework and detentions are illegal in the Swedish education system. So what do you do when kids misbehave? I’m still trying to figure this out although no one in Sweden has a concrete answer.
Now with a break from volleyball, I can enjoy the sun (well the glimpses of the sun), some much needed R & R as I look forward to the 2016/17 season. To see where that will lead me, or indeed what is the next chapter in my blog. Maybe a special recipe, or maybe some Swedish language lessons? Linford is principal for a day? I still haven’t decided, but I think this is a nice brief 1267 word summary of what has been on the hip hap for me.
I know I always make this thing about me, but for once how are you doing? Hopefully good.
Stay in the know.