To understand how good sports skills Finnish people have, we have to talk a bit about playing sports in Finland.
As I have told before, Finnish people love sports. Considering overall media exposure, especially loved sports are ice hockey, Formula One, and skiing. You know, those games in which we regularly shine. And of course, when a Finn or a Finnish team is excellent at something by surprise (e.g., curling, basketball or women’s boxing), we shower them with praise, and more people get excited about that particular sport.
Anyway, football, in fact, is the most common sports in Finland, even though we aren’t that great compared to other countries. Football has around 400 000 players, twice the amount as ice hockey. Floorball, volleyball, running, and gym are also favorites of many.
I have only now realized that it may be hard to believe that Finnish people are that sporty based on their answers in discussions. This wrong impression is because the answer is entirely biased with Finnish modesty.
So let me walk you through the examples and see what I mean!
Example 1: Sports skills of a good player
When you hear a Finn say: “Well, yes, I have played a little,” in reality, it means that he is a good player. Other nationalities might use this phrase to tell that they are beginners. If a Finnish person uses this sentence, he has a background in that sport.
So what does a Finn say when he is a beginner? He will say that he is crap. He will also most likely refuse to try that specific sport in your presence because the humiliation would be unbearable.
Example 2: Sports skills of an excellent player
If a Finn says: “I’m ok.”, It means that he is an outstanding player. Like national level good. You definitely want to be on the same side with him.
Example 3: Sports skills of a professional athlete
Now, when you ever hear a Finnish person say that he is good, he is for sure at least national level. A real professional. Most likely you will never hear this kind of self-evaluation because it isn’t part of our culture.
What you might hear is a casual phrase like this: “Yeah, I used to play a little back in the day”. That is a straight quote from the reply my friend got when he asked a new colleague if he played ice hockey. My friend was wondering if he would like to join the company team.
Later he realized that the new colleague was a former NHL player.
I want to hear, what sports do you play and what is your Finnish style self-evaluation?
I am crap in tennis and have danced ballet a little.