Swedish Championship Week

I know I promised to make some posts about the sports championship week here in Halmstad. Things got off to kind of a slow start but have picked up considerably in the past couple days. So, let’s have at it.


There was some good stuff on Monday but because I forgot the key to my bike lock, I could not take advantage of it without risking my bike being stolen. I realize Halmstad is not Berkeley where even stuff that IS nailed down gets stolen but I decided not to risk it. So, that leaves us with, basically, boules. Precision boules to be precise.


They set up the alleys in the central square. The idea is to hit the ball sitting their with your ball.Image

Each contestant gets one throw from each of  those circles and points are awarded for direct hits or hits on a bounce.ImageI went down to the arena where the inline hockey was taking place but thought the better of it, like I said. So, I decided to go swimming. But the swimming arena was being set up for the swimming that has been going on all week (swimming is a big sport in Sweden and especially here). Well, with the swimming pool closed, I opted for the beach and a dip in the sea, which is getting warmer. The water is 18 C. these days which is 64 F. and a good deal warmer than Half Moon Bay.


Today was rowing day. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage


There was stuff happening on Wednesday but nothing I was really interested in.


Today was the beginning of the air acrobatics out at the airport. I went out there with Mariette’s dad who is a real airplane enthusiast. One of the highlights of his childhood was a German fighter plane that landed on the farm where he grew up. The pilot evidently saw the writing on the wall and deserted.



There were some planes on display and a glider. The public could sit in them and play with the controls. Mostly kids were doing this, including one 82 year old kid.



The air show started and was pretty impressive but the cloud cover was too low so the day’s show was cancelled after one exhibition. 😦

All was not lost because even if it is raining you can still play beach water polo. So, it was back to town for that.

ImageImageImagePicasso’s sculpture overlooked the scene.



I finished off the day by engaging in my own sporting event: mowing the lawn after two weeks of rapid growth occasioned by summer sun and intermittent rain. The lawnmower needed repairs and the landlord had just brought it back. That finished off my day, literally. 


Things started heating up on Friday, beginning with Frisbee. A lot has evolved with the flying disc since I learned to throw it in my dorm hallways in college many years ago. There are all kinds of games played with it from frisbee golf to a variety of football to this, called double disc frisbee.



In DDF, each two man team stands in a square and two frisbees are thrown so they land in the opponent’s square. You get points if it lands in the square or if both opponents are touching the frisbee at the same moment. 

The frisbee venue was near the airport but the morning was overcast so no air show in the morning. So, it was back to town to see if the 3 on 3 basketball had started (it hadn’t, though the court was set up and people were fooling around on it) and to catch some bike races.



Now that things are rolling Channel 1 is in town covering the events.ImageImageAfter this stop it was out to the Halmstad Arena (a very large multi purpose facility with space for everything under the sun). I missed the weightlifting on Monday but the power lifting was going on today, specifically the bench press.



Now, take a look at this guy’s back. It looked more massive in person, but you can see why this guy favors weightlifting competitions over marathons.



By now the sky had cleared and I was determined to catch some more air acrobatics so back to the airport I went. The show did not disappoint.



Not many photos from this so you will have to take my word for it that the stunts were pretty cool: straight up, turn, straight down, pull out, loop de loop, fly upside down, all amazing when seen from the ground but must be a spectacular to actually do it.

The final stop of the afternoon was the super endure taking place nearby the frisbee fields. When I was there in the morning I saw they wanted 20 bucks to watch but as I biked past I saw a lot of people on a hill outside the venue so I followed their lead and grabbed a place in the grass. Right next to Mariette’s mother whose bike I recognized when I parked mine and then went and found her. She’s a photographer who has had many photos published and true to form she was there with her film camera, so her shots will undoubtedly be better than these cell phone shots, but they will give you the idea.




Things were really cooking today. So much going on that I had to sacrifice some stuff (like the tug-of-war) to catch other events. First, more bike races.

ImageImageThen, the start of the women’s triathlon, which was about to start as I passed by.

ImageImageImageImageEasily as interesting was the guy on a Segway with his French bulldog.

ImageAll this was a distraction from where I was headed: back out to the Arena to watch track and field. I got there just as the 110 meter hurdles were starting.





ImageThere were mostly women’s events going on while I was there. Since the Area is nearby I ventured over to see what was going on. In one of the halls was something I was curious about: roller derby. I popped in for a look but it was so damn confusing I thought i better find out a little about it before going back tomorrow. It looks nothing like the roller derby I used to watch on TV as a kid with the Bay Area Bombers led by Charley O’Connell and Annis “Big Red” Jensen. 

But, in the next hall down was something I could understand: more power lifting. Today, the dead lift. This guy is lifting about 440 pounds. He looked like he weighs about 190.



The thing I was really interested in seeing today was the obstacle course run that is part of the 5 military event competition along with shooting and swimming and a couple others. This obstacle course intrigued me so I went to check it out. it did not disappoint. There are about 20 obstacles spread out over about 500 meters and the competitors are basically going over stuff and under stuff. 


When they get to the top, they don’t climb down but just jump down. Flat feet, anyone?



This guy might look like he was taking a rest and he probably wanted to by this point in the course but he kept chugging along. ImageImageImageImageImageMost of the competitors just collapse when they cross the finish line. It is an exhausting 3 or 4 minutes. The last guy I saw run the course looked like Spiderman as he bounded over and under the obstacles. It was really, really impressive.

Finally, it was back to town to catch some basketball finally. Lots of energy in evidence but not a lot of shooting touch from those I saw.



After dinner, we went down to the beach and checked out the beach handball action. Mariette said this looked more like some guys fooling around on the beach than teams competing for the Swedish national championship.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageHard to disagree, though team handball is the one sport I have come to enjoy since moving here. I had to get this post up tonight because tomorrow is the final day of competition and there will be a lot to see.