Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Beauty of Swedish Sports

One of the reasons I quite like being in Sweden is the sports culture. Even though I very much feel like a foreigner and don’t have nearly the same handle on it as I do in the US. It still entertains me. When my brother was studying here we went to a hockey game. And it was glorious. The chanting and singing were something else. Kind of intimidating. Kind of scary. But strangely hypnotic at the same time.

It seems though that the Swedes have stepped it up a notch. Chanting and singing just aren’t enough these days. Or at least not for those fans who support AIK, one of Stockholm’s best established sports organizations.

So the other night AIK was playing Leksand. Both teams find themselves in Allsvenskan, Sweden’s second division in terms of ice hockey. Leksand made some headlines last year by signing Ed Belfour as their goalie. Now keep in mind they play in the second division. And a sure-fire Hall of Fame goalie was playing for them. That’s good work.

Anyway, Jan Huokko plays for Leksand but used to play for AIK. Jan Huokko is a pretty solid player and has spent some time with the national team. Jan Huokko also likes to make sex tapes with his girlfriend. And those sex tapes found their way online. As sex tapes are wont to do.

Now I hadn’t even heard of this sex tape until reading about this yesterday, nor have I seen the sex tape, but from the reaction of AIK’s fans, Jan Huokko’s sex tape made an impression. For whatever reason. And those reasons are maybe best left to your imagination.

Like a jilted lover though, AIK responded. And pulled no punches. By littering the ice with dildos. By holding up signs saying “Bend Over Bitch.” By even bringing an inflatable penis to the arena. Luckily, dildos are easy to come by now that they are sold in your local pharmacy. But an oversized inflatable penis? I don’t even have the slightest clue where you could find one of those. Luckily for all of us, the AIK fans did know where to get one.

What makes this story even better is that AIK as an organization knew this was going to happen. And allowed it to happen. They are complicit in all of this. This wasn’t some under the table deal. This was announced on the supporter’s website beforehand. This was marketed. Advertised. And AIK did nothing to stop it. Which I just think really adds to the hilarity of the situation.

A quick side note which bears mentioning. In Sweden many sports teams are under an organization. AIK for example is not just ice hockey but also soccer and all kinds of other sports. They cover the spectrum in terms of demographics also with men’s teams, women’s teams, and even junior teams all playing under the AIK banner. Along with that organization tends to come a large fan base, sometimes organized into its own separate entity. They are separate from the organization. These are your fanatics who stand throughout the game chanting, singing, yelling, clapping. For example, AIK’s biggest fan group is called the Black Army. These groups of people are what make me love the Swedish sports scene. Now because they are separate entities they can do whatever the hell they want. Like organize a group of people to show up to the game with dildos to throw on the ice.

Some people might argue this went too far. And some people might be offended. And some people might feel bad for the girlfriend in all of this. And that’s fine. All legitimate concerns. I just laughed though. Because it is so very obscene. And hilarious. And while Jan Huokko said he hardly noticed it, you know damn well he’s lying. Because when dildos come raining down on the ice, and you recently had a sex tape pop up on the internet, you notice.

One of my favorite sports writers is Bill Simmons from ESPN. Simmons sometimes writes about how organizations need to psyche out the other team through varying methods. Maybe an opposing player’s ex-girlfriend should sing the national anthem. Maybe the ceremonial pitch should be thrown out by someone who would leave the opposing team, if not intimidated, then at least a bit unsettled. Maybe a team should throw dildos on the ice to make fun of a player’s sex tape. I’d like to think Mr. Simmons would be proud of this.

For some semblance of actual journalism on this event check out The Local’s take on this. It’s beautiful. And aptly titled: Swedish hockey fans delay match with dildo downpour.

In case you were wondering, AIK beat Leksand 3-2. Jan Huokko did not score but assisted on Leksand’s final goal.

Welcome to Sweden.

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  1. ah the sports guys. I love his articles but can't abide his unwavering love of the patriots.

  2. he does show a bit of bias for all things boston. except for the bruins.

    but Im a fan of that. not because I have any affection for boston teams, but because he cuts through the bullshit of most sports journalists who claim to be neutral on everything and openly cheer for his team. and theres something to be said for that.

  3. I was too busy to congratulate you on a good post that I almost skipped half of the text! Good stuff! I saw the dildo article but didn't read it. Amazing things happen here in Sweden indeed!

    Btw, you have been tagged :)

  4. its true... sweden is ridiculous sometimes. I love it.

    here's my response:

    I @ candy.
    I do not @ tomatoes in solid form.
    I love to @ steak.
    I can’t figure out why some people don’t @ meat.
    I need to find something to @ soon.

  5. not a problem at all. kind of fun actually.

  6. If you haven't found out yet.

    The main reason for the dildo downpour was a sextape he made filming himself trying a dildo in his own "5-hole"...

  7. thats the funniest damn thing Ive ever heard involving a sex tape

    this truly is a glorious country