When professionalism and close ties to the team come to test.
There was talk amongst the Finnish press-pack in Koper today after the game, that we once again witnessed Finnish sporting history and these are the kind of days that we thrive to see and dream about when we cover the third tier of local push-ball (which is what most of us see on regular bases). But then you have these days, when you can say ' I WAS THERE!!... ' when Finland beat Turkey in the EuroBasket2013.
Before the game, even I was thinking.. lose by less than double digits, and that's an OK result vs the silver medalists from World Championships 2010. But when the rims at Bonifika Arena started to bounce 99% of the shots out... you knew it was going to be an interesting evening. On a side note - the rims and new Molten balls.. not the best ones I have seen!!
Even when Finland took a 19 point lead, there was that little doubtful voice at the back of your mind.... we can't beat Turkey, or can we?? It was the 12 players of Finland who believed they could do it - so what one little photographer thinks, doesn't mean a damn thing. And when the final whistle blew.. the over 1000 strong Finnish traveling support could scream the lungs out.. and the Susijengi (Wolf Pack) replied with arms raised towards their supporters.
It had been a magical afternoon, with the Finnish national anthem being sung louder than in most games in Finland, the fans obviously having caught some Medittaranean feeling as their support was vocal through the whole 40 minutes. And to see veteran Hedo Turkoglu (whom I am a great fan of!) look towards the Finnish fans in despair after sitting down on the bench...
After the game, it was celebrations for 30 minutes for the players - or so the word went at the Mixed Zone, and then the attention turned to the next game vs Sweden. Which funnily enough now probably is even more important - as if Finland lose that.. then this Turkey win loses some of it's importance/meaning. And we all know how Finland vs Sweden games can go in sports ;-)
Sitting here in my little 'mountain retreat' - I feel million miles away from the hustle and bustle of EuroBasket, although the lights of Koper can be seen from a ridge near-by. So it is time to re-charge batteries for tomorrow... both for the cameras and myself, and it is only Day 2 of the tournament (or four if you count the pre-tournament work days).
Just to make this post worth your visit - a cheerleader picture and game image to give it some colour!!