It was a happy nation

Well now. Who would’ve guessed that winning the ice-hockey world championships stirs up a nationwide discussion on alcohol?

I didn’t see it coming.

The thing is, during the celebrations, we saw a lot. Perhaps a bit too much. We saw team members (team considered widely here, not only players) fumbling down the stairs of the airplane, some of us saw drunken players mumbling comments to media and some of us learned that not all team members even made it out of the bus that drove the team to the massive party organised downtown Helsinki.

I didn’t think too much about it. What I saw was a nation celebrating sports heroes in the ways that the nation often celebrates: drinking.

Afterwards we heard various explanations: broken shoes, slippery carpets. Sponsors started questioning the behaviour in public.

Now the discussion is spreading. A newly elected parliamentarian claimed to have lived 20 years without alcohol due to his religious beliefs.

And then? A tabloid publishes images of this particular parliamentarian in some bar, not wearing a shirt, presumably drunk. Surely the photo was not taken in the early 1990’s.

Again, we here explanations: it was my brother. Then: ok it was me, but after that photo was taken I haven’t been drinking a single drop.

I’m not very keen on heavy drinking myself, in fact, I don’t like it at all. The Finnish culture, when it comes to alcohol, is pretty heavy. People drink a lot – maybe not often, but when they do, many take too much. Sadly, many take too much too often.

Now we are in a situation where all the buzz in social media related to the drunken team members ended up creating more buzz in the media, or vice-versa, then many decided (those sitting on top of the money) that something needs to be said, then we heard apologetic speeches from people in high places in the world of ice-hockey in Finland – and suddenly the nation is divided again.

On one side are those who think heavy partying with bottles of liquid happiness is ok, normal and understandable. On the other side are those who feel ashamed, angry and worried about the example the players are giving tens of thousands of young, bright-eyed fans.

The thought that keeps coming back to my mind is that it was fun being a happy nation for one night. And now, when it comes to alcohol, nobody is Da Da Dam.

♣ In the meantime: green is the new black

♦ Song of the day: Murray Head, One night in Bangkok

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