Robert Lunn is a former defensive tackle from UCONN. He graduated in 2008 and is now playing professional football - in Portchach, Austria. He's graciously shared some of the things he's experienced so far.
Lunn is no stranger to blogging, either. Some of his musings can be found on his personal blog "Thoughts From A Fat White Guy" ,guest appearances on Chris Cooley's blog portion of his personal site, and a blogger for the newly launched NESN.com.
I REALLY JUST WANTED SOME EGGS
In high school I used to ridicule the kids who took German class, I mean when the hell are you ever going to speak German? Well after 6 years of Spanish, here I am in Austria completely fucked. But our teammates have been trying to teach us the basics-counting, please and thank you, I like (insert food here). Well like any football team, the ball-busting never stops. Recently at a breakfast place I was foolishly confident that I could order my entire meal in German. Daniel, our free safety and Austrian native, fed me the lines as I rehearsed over and over in my head. The waitress approached our table, "Bitte?" (Whaddya-havin?), I calmly answered, "Du hast schöne Augen. Ich möchte fikken." Instead of ordering eggs and toast, I politely told our waitress, "You have pretty eyes, I want to fuck." A stunned look on her face, the Austrians blew up with laughter-and I never got my eggs.
WELCOME TO RED SOX NATION, YANKEE
Don't call an Austrian "German." Trust me on this — you'll open up a floodgate of criticism about "Ze ignorant Americanz." At a club one night, I made some comment along the lines of "Wow, you Germans have the best beer." Looks of horror and disgust followed, along with a stream of German dialogue that seemed pretty angry. Our teammate, Leite, broke it down for me: "Calling ze Austrian German, is like calling ze Red Sock-Yankee." While I certainly appreciated his attempt to make me understand, either the whole "genocide" thing is understated here, or the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry is pretty well understood.
I AM LT
Last game against Salzburg I had 3 sacks and 12 tackles. I now know how Lawrence Taylor felt on Sundays (minus the cocaine hangover); being the best on the field is a thrill I hadn't felt until now. It is my duty as an American (and New Yorker) to inform everyone around me of this fact. And the Austrian media eats this up. On the official site of Austrian Football (Football-Austria.com) you'll find a feature dedicated solely to the things we say. "The Trash Talk Box" (left hand column, after the break) features the stupid shit we tell the opponent during the game. Apparently our team is a fan favorite, as our Americans have been featured regularly in the past three weeks. Just don't let them catch you referencing Hitler or Nazis in your trash talk; last week one such comment was grounds to eject a player in Vienna.
KEEP AWAY FROM THE GREEK BATH
Our teammates think it's funny (and I'd have to agree) to toss the prude Americans into uncomfortable situations. Well "spa day" would be no exception. To be fair, it's not really a nudist colony-"Greek Bath." Whatever, there was enough man meat there to make Andy Dick (Mike Piazza?) blush. When we heard spa, we thought pools, steam rooms, massage. I couldn't have been more right, and more wrong. Sure there were steam rooms, little huts that looked like the "pods" from Star Wars. But it was very different from the YMCA back home. At one point I was chased down by the staff, screaming "You must remove yow trow-zes." Imagine some slight European chasing three large American football players, imploring them to drop their drawers. The further we walked into this place, the more it was like descending deeper and deeper into Sodom and Gomorrah. Don't let delusions of beautiful naked European women dance in your head. At one point I blindly turned a corner and was met with a face full of awful-two 50-somethings completely naked, sweat pouring over their 250lb strechmark-laden bodies. The Jaws-of-Life couldn't pry that image from my brain.
MY BLACK TEAMMATE
Playing at UConn (like the majority of Division I football) our roster was primarily African American. Over here-that's not the case. Dave, our linebacker from UMass is the only black person I have seen so far. And apparently the only one the Austrians have seen either. On a recent ski trip to the Alps, a store clerk informed me that he was, "the first ‘Schwärze' (black) I've seen in 15 years." This could explain why the next day on the slopes, people were stopping to take pictures of Dave. Literally stopping in their tracks, jaws dropping, fumbling for cameras. It's not a matter of being racist; it's a matter of curiosity.
Which might help to explain their curiosity with President Obama:
Believe it or not, this is an advertisement for the local bus system in Klagenfurt. "Yes, we can!-be on time every day." I can't make this shit up.
Robert Lunn can be reached at thefatwhiteguyATgmail.com. Share your thoughts with him. He's a big boy.