Aki Riihilahti - Viralliset kotisivut In English Suomeksi På norsk
Uutiset Kysymykset Fakta Historia Kuvat Special


Takaisin uutisiin

The ugly boy confesses

I used to be an ugly boy. I remember the times when I tried to get any attention from girls. Usually I got thin response. It was understandable: I am not actually a Brad Pitt.

However now I have suddenly received many Valentine Days cards, love letters, even panties by post, plus I have been proposed three times by unknown beauties. Girls that used to see me as air are now suddenly interested at me.

So there must be a transformation, maybe the Ugly Duckling story is happening to me. To find that out I look myself at the mirror: no swans there. Or anything special really. I might have these days bit fancier clothes and a hair cut but basically I am still that same old ugly boy.

What is different now is that I have become a footballer. That attracts some people. Someone has seen me on television or papers and someone might have even been at a game. Someone could be fascinated about the myth of footballers and there is always this one who just wants to go out with any footballer. They think there is something about these athletes.

Other things have changed as well. Being a footballer might close some doors but it opens extremely many. I find myself getting preferential treatment in surprisingly many places and by many people. Everything arranges easier because there is always someone who wants to help you. In most of the places it would be good to draw the “I am a footballer” –card.

Many times when you get even little success people change their behaviour and opinion about you. Suddenly many people want to be part of your life. “Remember me? I was your best mate at kindergarten” is a level of common starting lines. Or you are left in a situation of: “We surely might have had good times at school but I just don’t know who the hell are you”. Usually they all know someone who is your best friend in the whole wide world. I have these days lot of really good buddies whose name I don’t even know.

Obviously most of the time it is drunken men that recognise you and want to talk about the team or football in general. However it has been an increasing number of girls coming to say hello. Actually I find it quite flattering. Most of them are good persons, many of them funny, even interesting personalities. Being a fan or even giving a compliment are nice gestures, it gives a good mood to everyone. Usually people are asking an autograph or talking few words. I always try to find time for these people.

However I get a bit suspicious when I get “Love you forever” –letters or girls proposing me without knowing me or giving me extremely straightforward suggestions. I can question the idea and intentions behind these things. I have met these girls in the nightclubs or hanging on the hotel lobbies who desperately wants to get involved. You got often this feeling that they just want something from you. These are the people I am scared of and I don’t want to socialise with at all.

I am not the best footballer. I haven’t achieved much and I am not that fit either. However I still receive admiration and interest only because what I am doing and what I have. For many people the status means more than who I really am. I wonder how many people want to buy me a beer after my football career.

Most of the time people are nice and friendly and I enjoy talking to them. However it is hard to analyse people you don’t know, but who seems to know lot about you. None of them really knows you though. And it is quite scary when strangers desperately needs to know if you tend to use salt and vinegar with fish and chips. That is why many times sadly you have to leave a bit of a distance to them. Having said that I have also made some really good friends this way. It is just groupies and stalkers that I am worried about.

I don’t mind socialising with anyone, I really think I owe that to people coming to support us and spending their time and money following the team. I have made a lot of good friends through football enthusiasts. However I am not going to be everyone’s Valentine just because I am a footballer and so public property. In the end the ones that I care about and who cares about me will be there for this ugly boy no matter if I play well or don’t.

Copyright 2001 Aki Riihilahti, all rights reserved Sivun ylälaitaan