1998 In Review

Some highs and a huge amount of lows

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By J.M Henriksen


Before I start talking about the year 1998 a.d. let me introduce you to what this is :


So if you don't agree, thats your problem. I suggest you do what I did; submit an article.
Ok; here we go.

The highs of 1998:

1. The national junior team beating Denmark 6 - 2 in a hell of a close game.
2. The Vikings finally ending the Trolls streak of 5 straight championships.
3. Sandnes Oilers Junior team being the first champion from outside the Oslo area.
4. Lillehammer Wolfpack entering the league.
5. Eidsvoll bringing new excitement to the predictable 1st division.

The lows of 1998:

1. The NoAFF general assembly that shook Prez Stein-Arne Tjore enough to make him leave.
2. Great Britain demolishing the national junior team 54 - 0, and deservedly so.
3. Eidsvoll losing out on the championship game by a mere 6 points.
4. Bergen pulling out before the season even began.
5. Vålerengas 2nd team, following in Bergens footsteps just weeks prior to kickoff.
6. Tønsberg, who never managed to show up for a single game.
7. Bærum pulling out in the middle of the season.
8. Arendal pulling out at the end of the season.
9. Sandnes not fielding a team for one home game and one away game.
10. Kolbotn not bothering to travel to Trondheim and the Domers for a game.
11. Hamar not fielding a team for the last game of the season.
12. Otra pulling out of the junior season.
13. Bærum pulling out of the junior season.
14. Vålerenga pulling out of the junior season.

It was the most confusing season since day one. Who beat who ? Who played where when ? Where's the referees ? Are there any referees ? How do I get hold of the federation people ? Who the hell are the federation people ? Well, I'm a bit clearer on the latter questions now. But you get the point if you weren't there to experience it. It was not very professional. In fact, the organization was almost as poor as the level of play in the league. In fact, more teams either pulled out or forfeited games than the number of teams that managed to play the games they where supposed to. Lillehammer, Nidaros, Eidsvoll and OSI Vikings were the only teams to start and finish all their games. Thats scary. Real scary.
So what can we expect to see in '99 ? My guess is either the opposite or more of the same, nothing in between. It was so bad this year that team managements in the clubs either woke up or killed themselves (not literally speaking here...as you may understand). We'll see what they've done by the end of the 1999 season.
1998 was the year of the quitters. Never has so many losers been involved in Norwegian football. They almost succeeded in tearing the league apart. But only almost. I don't know where to start. All I can say is I am more aware of what kind of people our society breeds today: Quitters. And thats why some of us love football. Because it exposes the quitters and spits them out, with the exception of the few that change. Too bad none of those where on my team last year. Hell yeah, there was some good guys. Our safety -who also was our defensive coordinator- never gave up. Our MVP-to-be rookie WR never gave up. Our Tight End never gave up. Our young rookies on the line never gave up. I respect them, and so does everybody else who understands the meaning of the term "respect". They deserve it because they earned it. Then there was these other guys. One of our running backs, whom I used to consider a friend, disappeared two months before the season began. One month later he called. He was in another city, with another team. And he acted like nothing was wrong. So did I, because I knew he would get exposed in his new environment, which happened to be a much better team. Guess I was right: He suddenly disappeared again, only to reappear in a third city with a third team. You know what he told them ? That he had been a coach with our junior team, and had played six years (actually played one junior season + kickoffs with the first team he escaped to, never coached). Guess he forgot that there's only 350 football players in Norway, and we all talk to each other. They know him now.
I haven't told you about our main running back this year. He looked good in practise all year until a month or so before the season. Then he had to work during most practises, and one of our practise days he had to "socialize" with the people at his workplace (play squash with 'em) instead of practise. It was more important, he told me. We should have known right then. Then the season began, and he was there. We got pounded and kicked about by the other teams (No wonder when only 8-10 players bother to show up at practise), and suddenly our running back had a pain in the head. Yup, thats right. He decided to hang up his cleats for the season because he felt the football could affect his ability to work. What ability ? Now he's back and wants to have another go. He has been involved since 1993. He has NEVER finished a season. I say kick him out.
Hey, did I tell you about the guy who hadn't practised a single time before the season, not even attended a practise, and who suddenly showed up for our first home game in full equipment, including a game jersey he was supposed to return to the team half a year before ? What a great guy. What's worse is that he actually was allowed to play. Not in that first game, but later. I should have left right then, but that would have made me a quitter, wouldn't it ? Hey, did I tell you about...nah, I'll leave it alone for now. But I can tell you this:

1999 can only be better

Happy new year



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