Spring came to Sweden today. May 11. It was not here yesterday. It is here today. This happens in the far north, the spring comes later and then faster. There is suddenly ground cover, all the trees are at least a little green, flowers are blooming everywhere, and the sun is out.
The sun was not out on Saturday, when I took both kids to watch the home opener of the Sundbyberg Heat of the Swedish Elite League in baseball.
Yep, Swedish baseball.
It was freezing and overcast and then it started to rain. When I arrived with the kids – at the start of the game – the attendance was … 0.
Eventually, about 20 people braved the icy drizzle to watch Sundbyberg beat up on league newcomers the Eskilstuna Hammers. Both kids loved it, even though we spent most of the game under the hot dog tent where they could not see. (For another take on this 41 degree classic, go to the Hairy Swede).
We left in the middle of the first game of a doubleheader with Sundbyberg up 14-0. We got a little lost, and a little wet. We stopped to buy a subway ticket in a little store. The man inside was having a confusing conversation with a customer just standing there looking mad. Suddenly he said, “The man said “Open the cash register, open the cash register. He had a long knife.”
The store had just been robbed.
I left quickly and ran the kids home through the rain back to momma, where they snuggled under blankets and warmed up.
Yesterday NK told her teachers about the game. One asked, in Swedish, if I had played when I was younger.
NK answered, in English, “No, when he was younger.” The teacher asked again in English. “Did your daddy play baseball when he was younger?” NK nodded yes.
That is how associated I am with English now in her head. Questions about me cannot be asked in Swedish.
I love it.
As for the baseball, it was, ummm, OK. Maybe the level of a mid-level club in my California high school league (where I played varsity for two years but never got off the bench). This is a compliment, since this is baseball in Sweden we are talking about. How good do you think American handball or floorball is?
And I loved sitting there watching the pitches come in with just that extra count, just a little too slow.
Because I could play here. I can’t for logistical reasons, and I am not sure I would ever give up every Saturday for it.
But I could play – and be good – in the Swedish Elite League. How cool is that?
Maybe I should take some batting practice after all …