What are my priorities in Sweden?

    After the first several welcome weeks I realised I had to establish myself some priorities. I decided to put them on paper, write some stories around them and publish them on my blog to keep myself accountable. Let’s dive into it!

Keystone: Innebandy

    One of the top three reasons, why I decided to move to Umea for a year was playing floorball, improving my stamina/physique and learning new skills/tactics. I simply wanted to improve in floorball by playing some Innebandy. But in the first weeks I simply did not have time or energy to look for a team and made a lot of excuses of why I don’t play yet. But the Rookie vs Faddrar game changed everything and I knew I need to find a team in here.

    I tried contacting GUIF, which is a team playing Div1 and Div2 here in Vasterbotten. After a few chats with the Div2 coach I was invited to a training of juniors and that made me remember my days when training back in FBŠ Bohemians. I also contacted Dalen, which plays SSL, Div1, Div2. I tried getting into the Div2 team, but was contacted by SSL coach Urban Carlsson, who I know from Prague, where I team guided IBK Dalen in Mladá Boleslav during Bohemia Trophy a year ago. After describing my history, he suggested I try Div1 training. Meanwhile I accidentally saw the Div1 match between GUIF and IBF Dalen (7-8) when waiting for my first referee match and the level was awesome. I have probably never played a game on such level and it made me motivated to try to go for such a game later, if I manage to make the team.

    The first two trainings were demanding, but I liked them a lot. I did not understand any Swedish yet while the trainings were held completely in local language. The guys were trying to be helpful when explaining the exercises. They train three times a week in a very fast tempo. The players are a mix between youths and a young adults. I felt dedicated to keep training with this team and hopefully make it to either Div1 or Div2 team to play games. In the end the level was just too high, and I did not get into the team Div1 team. I appreciated the opportunity for them letting me try it out, but I could see myself, that I wasn’t really there, and I would only keep struggling.

    A friend of mine, Viktor, from the Fadder group at Insparken suggested a while back, that I should go with him for a training to a team, that plays Div2 and we went today. It was a big chill group of friends, who played at really solid level and I enjoyed the atmosphere a lot. I was thinking about it now for a while and realised that such team is probably the better choice for me on my Erasmus stay. Not only will I have more time and fun, but the group will be much more welcoming considering they are not that competitive. On the other side, they have won all 3 of their opening matches and the level will still force me to work 100% to make the team. I’m currently dedicated to keep training with this team and enjoy floorball during my stay.

Obligation: School

    I loved the lectures the first week. I took a Finance course and we were talking about the relations between financial statements. I love that field. The lecturer also interacted with us when trying to show us real world examples of companies and valuations he would come with. Later in the second week the valuations became more mathematical and I started to feel bored in school (again). I could easily just go through the presentations at home without losing any value. I skipped lectures in the third week and realised I did not miss anything. I was not even paying attention at the end of week two.

The fourth week (this one) is dedicated to studying and there was only one review lecture on Thursday. Even though I forced myself to come, expecting it to be very useful, I fell asleep after the first 5 minutes and woke up shortly before the break. Apparently, lectures are not made for me and I should probably focus on independent learning or group work. Let’s see what the other course looks like.

My goal with school is currently to pass the exams, probably using my old technique of mastering the test material in shortest amount of time possible. Basically, I’m not into school (again). I thought this may have been caused by the school system back in Prague since that was the common belief of some of my friends. Now considering the references of other people here locally (people like uni apparently), I am more inclined to think this is more about me, not the school itself.

Update after the exam: I studied precisely for the contents of the test based on previous years and should get about 60-80% from the exam, which stands far beyond my aim of passing. Let’s see how this works out during the next modules. Will keep on aiming for pass while enjoying some of the aspects of the school.

Kronor: Refereeing

    I had a real head start here in Umea in terms of refereeing. I was in contact with the region well in advance and when moving here I could pick up the contact and start right away. The people at Vasterbottens Innebandyforbund were extremely helpful and doing all they could to let me feel welcome in the local community of referees. I got very personalised introduction before one of the matches of local SSL team Dalen and talked to the referees after the game. Later I went for a “test” game with one of the referees from that game and from that point on I received several nominations for highest regional matches such as ladies, juniors (W17) and utvecklingserie (aimed for male juniors). The matches were relatively easy so far and I believe we have managed well with my collegues until now.

    The approach to refs here is very professional and with lot of respect. I haven’t met any sort of unsportsmanlike behaviour and even if you make a mistake during a match, nobody picks up on you and mostly just focuses on themselves, their team and generally let you do your job on the field. I have not received any men’s games so far, so I expect this to change a little later. But I expect the respect to stay the same and I love it so far.

    I want to keep refereeing as many games as possible and develop not only my refereeing skills but also my Swedish language. The fine thing about this activity is that it is paid entraordinary well in Sweden. For the solo match I have been part so far I got between 450-700 kronor each. This ranges up to 800 for Div2 matches, where I might get later during the season. Up on the higher level, Div1 matches are awarded 1400 kronor per referee and Allsvenskan refs get 1900 per game. Not saying I don’t enjoy refereeing or don’t want to improve, but I always considered it a side job and this is a win-win situation for me, where I get to do something I enjoy and get paid well on top of that.

    The huge point, why I am so excited about refereeing here in Sweden is the use of communicators. Every person I have met so far refereeing has a headset and I cannot describe how useful it is in the game. Most of the issues with my colleague we were discussing in the last few seasons were communication problems between the two of us. This solves it all. It is also probably the reason, why I see the refereeing look so professional. The headsets make you look profi not only by their looks, but also because you can communicate with your colleague straight away and have four eyes almost all of the time on the field. It also enables you to get feedback straight away. No longer do you need to review what happened on the field and when. No more misunderstandings. Smooth play and professionalism. And the counter argument, when talking about communicators? Getting distracted and talking other stuff? Well, at least you don’t get so bored on some of the games and talking to your colleague could let you stay at least somewhat there.

The fun social stuff: Friends, parties and travelling

    No way I am missing a party or a social activity with my friends. Simply the FOMO might be too big of an issue for me. I loved the first weeks and kinda missed the party spirit later during the pre-exam week. Some moments I was thinking I am being bored by drinking already. But that is not the point. For me it is more about the people than getting shit-faced and as long as it does not interfere with my other priorities, I am totally in for that stuff.

    I am getting to know a lot of people and have some that I can consider calling friends already. Time to switch from the easy path of party, party, party to other activities that give me more purpose. I am currently considering increasing my engagement in extra-curriculars and joining the start-up scene here in Sweden. I have seen some competitions with Incubation Hubs and am considering forming a team with my friends to join, network and learn some new useful stuff in the field.

    I have also brought a handful of books and the crazy first month I couldn’t dedicate myself to force myself to read. I am willing to consider some reading-hets from some of my readers if you dare to challenge me in reading more pages over a period such as month or something. I usually wager beers but am open to any other bet.

Staying in touch: BLOG!

    I was very surprised by the huge attention the first blog post received and was enthusiastic about that. The second article did not gain that much traction, but I realised I want to dedicate to writing more articles regularly. Not only does it help me with staying in one-sided touch with my friends and family back in Czech Republic (about 60% of visitors), I get some attention also here in Sweden (about 25% of visitors). Additionally, I enjoy structuring my thoughts while writing for the blog and consider it a great tool to keep myself accountable, knowing that all my goals and priorities I post online are binding and failing to follow through would allow anyone to pick up on me. And I like this kind of motivation. I commit to writing a few pieces a month (2-3 articles) about my life here in Umea and sharing some stories, trips or interesting differences with you.

With love,

Kuba