Last night I saw history. Swedish-American football history. And being a Swedish-American, I thought it appropriate to write about my experience.
I have no affinity towards any of the teams in Stockholm. I am not an ardent supporter of Djurgården or AIK or even Hammarby. I just can’t get into it. I really think that growing up with a sports team is what develops the sort of loyalty all good sports fans have. And I don’t have that. And am hesitant to try to mimic that for fear of being that guy. No one likes that guy.
So instead I go to games when I get the opportunity, hockey mostly, but basketball too of course. Although, in basketball I do have loyalties.
Anyway, last night, I watched Djurgården Amerikansk Fotboll make history. DIFAF (as they are so lovingly known) moved up to the highest series of American football in Sweden. Superserien. The Super Series. And they won. For the first time ever.
The team pulled off a 17-14 win in the closing minutes of the game in front of a lively crowd. Of course, that lively crowd was only made up of about 200 people, but it was lively none the less.
Swedish-American football is played by a bunch of guys who love the sport. As well as a couple of Americans who manage to get paid a little bit and needed an adventure and a place to play. Some of these guys played at a pretty high level in the US, others did not. But overall, the level of play seems to be Division III-ish. It’s not bad, but it is by no means USC-Oklahoma.
The crowd was something to see as well. Imagine a high school crowd. A small high school crowd. But not one of those small town schools where the only thing going on Friday night is the football game. This was a small town with a bad team. Friends and family filled the arena. And by filled I mean speckled the stands.
Being the observant fellow that I am, I couldn’t help but notice that a Swedish-American football game is not the place to be if you want to pick up girls. Sweden is known to have some good looking women. CBCC and I have decided that the real difference between Sweden and the US in terms of girls is not that there are more hot girls, just that the average girl is better looking. That was not the case here. Unfortunately.
What was the case, and seems to always be the case, is the late high school, early college, aged guys who managed to somehow, despite the ban on alcohol, get drunk. So much so that it was kind of entertaining. Especially the larger guy. I guess it’s not easy getting that drunk, carrying that much weight, and trying to navigate some pretty steep stadium steps.
But come on, I was there to watch football, not girls and fat drunk guys. And watch football I did. DIFAF struggled early on, down 14-3 at halftime. Slowly, but surely they started pulling it together. With just a couple of minutes left they were threatening. And they fumbled on the first play. Seemed like there was too much adrenaline and nerves. Or maybe the center was just really sweaty. Think about it…
But the defense held. DIFAF got the ball back and drove down within the red zone. The clock was running out and DIFAF went for the end zone. Back right corner. Placed perfectly over the receiver’s right shoulder. A pretty little fade right into the end zone.
It wasn’t Elway to Smith back in the day. But it was the best pass I had seen in a long time. Whether that means I really miss football, I’ve been in Sweden too long, or the level of play was better than expected, I don’t know. Probably all three.
But for only 50 SEK, it was a hell of a deal. Next game is May 30th against the Arlanda Jets. Yup. Arlanda is the name of the airport. And they are called the Jets. It’s cute really.
Welcome to Sweden. And Swedish-American football.