I really wasn’t expecting it, but my first ever american football watching experience was in Denmark of all plcaes! My host brother is really in to his American Football, so we went to watch one of his games. He plays for the ‘Horsens Stallions’ with a number of his schoolmates, the team ranging in age from 16-19. With that age group and probably that fact that it is a Danish team, they were a lot smaller than the players you see on TV in the States! Being from a fiercly proud rugby nation (go the All Blacks) it was pretty much impossible for me not to make continual comparisons to a game of rugby.
First, and most notable, is all the gear they wear. To me it really seems superfluous and kindof makes me laugh. The ref seems to stop them all the minute they get close as well, so it reallymakes me feel like they are being pussies! Second, with all their plastic armour and helmets, throughout the whole game you hear this continual clackity clack of plastic hitting plastic! Third, in a game of rugby you can’t throw the ball forward, so players push ahead in a line as much as they can whilst passing the ball backwards. In american football, while I’m sure there are tactics and patterns and whatnot, to a rugby watchign newby like me, they seem to just scatter in every possible direction and it looks all very chaotic.
Finally, probably due to their helmets and armour, and I assume no rules prohibiting who you can tackle, they seem to just tackle/headbutt/knock down any old person, as they wish. Being schoolboys half the time it seemed that were just doing it for the hell of it too.
I’m sure it is tactical in many ways, but to me it just seemed like a whole bunch of boys running off in opposite directions and headbutting eachother. I also still maintain they need to harden up and get rid of their armour. Sorry America, but I’m still a rugby girl.
Horsens, funnily enough named after the fact that the town used to be a very important horse trading spot, has in more recent years become well-known for having a huge prison. The local government wanted to do something about that, with a kickstart from a man named Frank Panduro to bring them all together and seek funding and ideas. He invited a number of key people over for dinner, promising a really good meal and warning them that their dinner was going to cost them, but no further details. 17 out of 20 respondents showed up out of curiosity, where he pitched the idea of making Horsens a cultural hub rather than “the town with the prison” (which has long been closed). The end result was the prison yard being turned into a concert venue and lots of big name acts being invited. Inside the prison itself is a museum, which includes equipment historically used by some prisoners to escape. No surprises why they decided to build a new one!
One of the first concerts held there was Rasmus Seebach. He is a huge pop singer in Denmark, and has even recorded a song with Lionel Richie. The concert was great, and I also got to see Burhan G, who was like Danish/Turkish Justin Timberlake. He had a few pretty epic songs, especially the one with an electric guitar solo atop a lit up staircase with flames in the background. I challenge a pop-star to get more epic than that on stage!
It was a nice, though small, venue, with a cozy 10,000 people singing and dancing away. The most entertaining part by far was when I looked over to one of the walls and realised this was probably the only prison yard in the world with a giant “Exit” sign.
The big dogg Frank Panduro
Burhan G. Before the apparently compulsory removal of shirt
The Giro D’Italia for some reason starts in the middle of Denmark. Possibly to do with the highway that goes direct from here to Italy. On Monday, it was coming by about 2kms from my house. I thought it might make for some good motivation to go for a run and stop and watch. As I left the house, Ratata, the family dog, followed me along on my jog, which I didn’t think twice about as he’s been doing that a lot lately.
On arrival at the spot where they go past, there were houses decorated with pink balloons (official colour) and quite the crowd of people. The road was roped off, there were police on motorbikes going up and down and there was even a little army man making sure cars didn’t go past. Later, on the jog home I saw a fully uniformed police man pissing in a bush. I thought public urination was illegal..?
Anyhow, when I arrived, I suddenly realised just how much of an inconvenience it is to bring a dog without a leash. As he was roaming along, sniffing and pissing on things and running around the middle of the road, a look of sheer horror spread across my face as I imagined him running out in the middle of the race, bowling all the cyclists over. It seems I wasn’t the only one imagining that scenario as everyone else seemed to be giving me dirty looks. I didn’t mean to bring him along!!
Holding on to Ratata for dear life
So after spending a good 5 minutes trying to coax him over to me I sat him down and held on to his collar for dear life, while he was trying to get away and go on his own little dog adventures. After a ridiculously long procession of police motorbikes and vans selling merchandise (I’m fairly sure there were actually more police motorbikes than race entrants), the cyclists came whizzing past while I tried my hardest to wrestle with a Labrador who really wanted to join in.
They went by incredibly quickly, so I got a little excited with the continuous shutter function on my camera. I was also surprised to see how it seems like every cyclist has at least eight spare bikes being driven along behind.