The Finnish league’s final leg: Tallinn

The Estonian Capital Tallinn is only 30km from Helsinki via sea route. You can actually see it from the highest buildings in Helsinki and once there was even a discourse in the media that the two cities should be combined as one mega city. For us going to Tallinn is always fun. The prices on everything are much lower and the city is a really cool place to party. This time we were up for a real treat. The Estonian team Adrenaliin, which has been playing the Finnish series for a couple of years now, were organizing the season finale in their home turf, which for us meant combining the two favorites of ours: Paintball and partying.

As it seems with all our tournaments this year there was a big bang to endure just before the main event. Our main back player and gun torrent Sami Turunen had been talking about taking up skateboarding again throughout the summer. He used to skate quite a lot in his youth… which was before he was almost 2 meters tall, almost a 100 kilos worth of pure muscle and a cop. This is the guy who went off to ski for the first time after a while and came back with some broken ribs and strained abs. He’s also the only guy who’s ever managed to break himself on our turf field, Tuusula Grind… you can probably see were this is going. So he got himself a board and some protective gear and went for just a small taster at a local ramp. It was the week before the Tallinn tournament but as we say in Cyclone just a cobweb thin taster wont hurt if you’re really careful. It didn’t, all went well… that day. The next day he went off again and… well I guess it’s better if you’ll just see for your self from this dramatic re-enactment: Skating for Dummies

The doctors say that he will get the cast of his leg somewhere around Christmas and to all of us he shall now and ever after be called Frontside Turunen according to a song by an artist called Robin (the Finnish equivalent to Justin Bieber)

The tournament would be played as a one day event on two fields which is difficult for all teams that play more than one division. Usually we have the division team pitting the league and vice versa but this time both teams would be playing at the same time through the day. Before Mr. Frontside went off skating we were already short on players for this tournament, only 10 players for two teams since the family Syvänne was waiting for the arrival of their second baby that very weekend, and Sampo Kokkonen and Kim Vainionpää couldn’t make it after all. On top of that Sami was supposed to play the gun turret spot on the field which is where he’s best at. Now that job fell into my lap, the front guy. We also had to call in Aleksi Peltonen to play in the division team to fill the gap left by my absence there. On Thursday, a day before we left for Tallinn we had the last training session where Niko Rautio, Aleksi Peltonen and I tried to learn our new spots on the field… I’m a 100% sure that the team coaches Toni Sireni and Sam Stark both share my feeling on this: sometimes I really hate governing a paintball team.

The division team was: Niko Rautio, Jaakko Tusa, Jani Kalasniemi, Aleksi Peltonen and Olli Kemppi

The league team was: Pekka Roininen doing his league debut, Pertti Berg, Wilhe Knaapi, Mikko Sipiläinen making his comeback and Tomi Lindholm

The Trip, the Site and the weather

You go by ferry… Which is always full of perils for the unwary Finn. It takes about two hours and the beer is cheaper than on the mainland. I remember reminding the guys to take it easy with the beer since we actually had to play the next morning at 9a. This was about two minutes before Jani came back from the bar with a tray full of beers… I thought for a moment and decided that just a cobweb thin taster wouldn’t hurt anyone.

As a huge surprise to all of us the weather was yet again crappy. About 10 degrees and raining throughout the day. The only consolation was that the site was really good. It was at an old sports field just next to a hotel and a supermarket. The grass field was perfect and the Estonians made the best food of the season. Hot soup and French loafs were served all day through the tournament. At least you could eat hot soup while looking like a dog who had just been swimming.

The Games

This time I don’t have so many details on the games as before, since all our guys were playing and nobody had the time watch our games from the outside. So I’ll just give the shorter version

The division team had an awful day. The last minute changes really messed up their balance.  Even though Niko did a good job on the snake side which he had played only a couple of points before and Aleksi was as solid as he always is they had a really tough job closing the games. Every game was tied with time running out or lost by a single point  after messing up a good lead. They desperately needed the guys who were originally supposed to play in the team.

The league did a bit better but we really took the long way round. For the first time this season we had a good first game and won DT with clean numbers but straight after that lost to Urho with even cleaner numbers. I tight lose to Trivoga with time running out meant that if we didn’t win our last game against Field Fighter we would not only fall from the top four but also lose our chance to take the silver medals home. As always with the FF guys the game was an epic battle with both teams taking points. We had a 3-1 lead for a while but FF tied it up just before the buzzer. Yet again we were in overtime but this time it was finally our turn. We took the game and made our to the bronze game… to play against the FF a second time. DT and Urho were battling it out for the gold. This time our win was a bit clearer with no overtime the game ending 3-1. We took the bronze from the tournament and secured our silver medals from the Finnish league 2012.

The afterparty and the trip home

As I said earlier Tallinn is a swell place to party out and even better if you know some locals. After the league ceremonies and a couple of beers (read: quite a lot) we were fortunate enough to be invited to the Field Fighter winners’ party. It was held in a bar somewhere in the center of Tallinn, I really can’t say where since we went by taxi, but I was told that it’s outside the treaded tourist path. The FF guys and us had the bar pretty much all to ourselves so the night consisted of dancing on tables, the newly invented beehive moves (don’t ask) and Pekka Roininens’ b-boy show. For some of us the evening had been a bit much even before we got there so they needed to go to sleep early. Don’t worry Wilhe, once you get a bit older, you’ll be able to party all night with us old school gents.

On a perfect sunny morning we made our way to the ferry stopping only a couple of times to let Pekka admire the local shrubberies up close and personal. At the terminal we met Mr. Hongel and Mr. Liimatainen from Trivoga who had just missed their boat because they were drinking some lonkeros (a Finnish Gin grapefruit drink) and not really paying attention to the time. While we talked to them Pekka tested his Parkour skills on running over some benches while going to the toilet to yell some Spartan battle cries. As can be imagined the weather stayed perfectly sunny and warm the whole ferry ride as we discussed how nice it would have been to play in this weather instead of having a Phil Collins hang over on a ferry.

The Cyclone season 2012 didn’t end yet but the Finnish league 2012 did. They say that the silver medal is always lost but I’m feeling pretty damn good about it right now. Greetings go out to all who supported us, at least to Mikko Huttunen, Egi Kaakkola, Ash Chaplen, Thomas Welin and as they say in award ceremonies all over, a huge thank you to all of you I now forgot, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

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