Church and Handball

Drove to Malmö today, they were advertising three handball games in the Elitseries (major league?) with free admission. Since I would be driving to Malmö anyway, I decided to visit the Methodist church in Limhamn.

Only they were having services together with the Mission church. Okay, no problem, it will be interesting to see how it is different. *My*, how it is different. First off, Swedes (or perhaps just people from Skania?) who greet a stranger with a friendly smile, introduce themselves, and ask who you are and welcome you? Wow! I spoke with a few women before entering the church.

The cross is magnificent - a massive piece of wood with a Christ cut out of it in the middle, His arms uplifted. Turns out the designer of it is a member of the church. I spoke with him after church, he said that this is to represent Christ as the door, through which we reach the Truth. Of course, his Truth and mine are a tad different, as we will see in a moment.

The service is quite different, there is a lot of congregation participation (something I find good in principle). A bunch of songs are sung, and in between people come up and say something - what's on their minds, something they experienced - or they pray. There were many very good, very heartfelt witnesses, one responding to the women just before her. Then the artist came up. Seems he is a "Bible-true" person, but of course just the bits that suit him. The woman before had spoken of forgiveness for something evil done, and I found that good. Artist, however, felt that you didn't have to forgive Evil People, and the person in question was definitely Evil. And speaking of Evil people, that Dan Brown and his "DaVinci Code", that book should be banned....

It was rather fun that the sermon text was on forgiveness, and forgiving seventy times seven (or seventy or seventy seven, depending on the translations you read, but anyway much more than the Jewish three-times-I-forgive-you-then-you-are-an-enemy-for-life). Even Evil People should be forgiven. Seems like Artist needs some remedial Bible-reading this evening.

It was a *long* service (with all the witnessing and singing), but they served bread and cheese and cake and coffee afterwards, so that was all right.

On to handball, the stadium was just a few minutes drive away. The Baltic Hall is part of a Fifties collection of sports arenas, with a sports museum attached (unfortunately, closed on Sundays). Entrance was indeed free, and they had coffee and cake and hot dogs served in the cellar.

I saw four teams, HK Malmö, Lugi (Lund), Ystads IF, and Stavsten. The first three are in the Elitserien, the last one in the regional league (and they got soundly beat in all three games). It was pretty exciting handball, lots of extremely young guys, too. Ystad has this player, Philip Nilsson, who didn't look a day over 16 (the guys sitting in front of me from the Lugi team - good looking guys all around - said he was 19, I checked their home page when I got home, he turned 18 in January), who does the 7m penalty throws. He is amazing - a guy with skinny legs and arms (not like the big Viking-type guys playing for Malmö, all 6'6" or larger and about half as wide as they are tall) who cooly walks up to the 7m line, fakes a bit, and gets a goal just as if there was not a goalie anywhere near the goal. He throws over, under, left, right, curved, straight, magic. Only two of maybe 12, 13 attempts were actually caught by a goalie, one lucky glance at the ball to get it off course and one good guess that the ball was to go between his legs, he put his legs together and caught it on a jump before it hit something painful. A-maze-ing. The guy got to play a bit, too, as it was just an exhibition game. He plays left-6, that is, on the outside, where I play, where you can't do much damage. He is not very good from a game perspective, although he did get a few goals amongst many failed attempts.

The Viking-type guys were something. Malmö has three of them (the Icelander had played for Gummersbach), and they just set up this wall that is impossible for the guys a head shorter to jump over. Lugi managed, though, and managed after having played an hour beating Stavsten. 10 of the Lugi players have played on the national team, and they also have young'uns (like Kim Ekdahl du Rietz) who are also only 18 and have played on the national team. In the one game I saw with Lugi they came from 5 goals behind to beat Ystad by 4 goals. They are like steam engines, always on the run, and they never give up. Malmö also has this player, Christoffer Geissler, a smallish guy who specializes in stealing balls á la Christian Zeitz and getting goals. He got 13 (!!) in the last game. He is so fast, catches and throws well, and throws with such force, that the goalies cringe a bit, giving him enough room to fit the ball in.

For dinner I got a salad at one of the open grocery stores, drove out to the Limhamn harbor, and watched the owner of a very strange boat paint it. It is a catamaran with sails and a strange spaceship mounted on the catamaran. It is called the "Metamorphose".

The bridge to Copenhagen was in the background, the weather was nice - what a lovely day!

No comments: