Big Finish to the Week

Today was the last day of SM Veckan or Swedish Championship Week. There was a lot going on and I took in as much as I could. Much of it was happening at the Halmstad Arena so that’s where I headed.

I arrived just in time to see the conclusion of the Ultimate Frisbee title game. For some reason the photos on my cell phone are blurry when I zone in as I had to do here.

ImageImageAfter the game, both teams got together for a love fest. The camera crews caught all the action and interviewed players after the game.



But today I was after bigger game. I read up on roller derby before going so I could make sense of the chaos on the track. It helped. A little. ImageImageImage

This bout was clearly out of control from the early going.


I checked back later and the final score was something like 600 to 38. The other scores I saw recorded on a sheet were like 150 to 120. The roller derby culture attracts what Wikipedia called third wave feminists. What I noticed were tattoos, colored hair and a punk/goth vibe. 


Yes, that big guy is wearing a kilt but that is no tartan that I recognize.ImageImageImageImageThe other interesting carry over from the days when roller derby was more entertainment than sport are the skate names some of the girls go by. Check these out.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageNow, back to the action on the track.



The scripted wrestling type shows that I watched as a kid seemed more interesting but roller derby was one of my favorite events.

In the next hall down, all the weights still apparently had not been lifted and when I checked in the big boys were at it.


In case you are wondering that is 267.5 kilos or 588.5 pounds that guy is dead-lifting. That is a load.ImageOne more hall down from the power lifting guys I ran into the Brazilian jujitsu tournament. Totally different culture here as well. A lot of foreign looking and sounding people mixed in with the Swedes.

ImageImageImageThings had wrapped up in the center of town. The triathlon had finished and people were breaking down tents and barriers. Off in the distance, though, I could hear the whine of engines, so I biked down to the harbor where the last of the non-swimming events was taking place, the auto rally. Cars were smoking down the harbor but my camera did not do a good job of catching the show. Still, I will inflict these two shots on you.

ImageImageIt has been a really enjoyable week here. There were 5,000 people competing in 31 different sports, which made the week half the size of a summer Olympic games in terms of competitors. The different cultures surrounding the different events made an impression on me from the military types at yesterday’s obstacle course to the tough roller derby chicks to the aeronautic set in their planes. Of the 31 events I managed to catch 16 of them. There were several others that I caught on TV like inline hockey and swimming. 

My conclusion is that for a country with a population 1/4 that of California, Sweden is a pretty sports-mad nation. Just the sheer diversity of events all happening over the course of one week tells me that as a society Swedes try to include as many as can fit. Two years ago SM Veckan was held in Halmstad but with far fewer sports and we had just moved so did not hear about it. This time around you could not miss it. Oh, and next week the European women’s football championships start here as well.

To top it off, the weather has been spectacular for two months now with today being the best day of a really good string of days. They say that summer is short here but we have had two months so far and the rest of July is looking good too. We have learned to enjoy it when it comes and I along with many others enjoyed this past week enormously.







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