You have surely heard it before: Hallands nation is the students’ “sports nation”. However, whatever this epithet is, though accurate in everyday speech, is up for debate. What is clear, is that the nation has a football club, Hallands nations FF.
By Emil Sandgrim
Translated by Viktor Jönsson
It is Monday. The four grass fields at Klostergårdens IP are littered with football players. There are people of every age, and whistles are constantly in use the by the teams’ respective trainer. Even the sound of tackles is palpable, as is the sound of applause, tirelessly given by some parents at the field closest to the ice rink. Here, at Klostergårdens IP, Hallands nation FF make field and tonight the men’s team are practicing.
“I’m free!”, a fair-haired man shouts, convinced that the ball will be passed to him.
But no ball is passed, as a teammate successfully intercepts the pass. The men’s team have just gotten started with the passing square, a well-known warmup football drill.
Tonight’s practice has about ten players, taking place in a cold and dark autumn weather.
“Do you wanna join? It’s just to jump in”, says a man dressed in black, tongue in cheek, before giving a resounding laugh. His name is David Sandberg and his light brown hair is fastened by a topknot. During the weeks he studies in the Bachelor’s Programme in National Economy, and on the men’s team he is an inner midfielder.
David tells us how he first heard that Hallands nation had a football team in a league, which made him curious. Soon thereafter he decided to attend a practice session. He is still there to this day and does not regret it one bit.
“The best thing with the nation is the contacts, friends, and the social bit. We’re really a delightsome gang where everyone gets along. We even hang out outside the field. There’s also seriousness, we’re in a league, after all. So, people come here to play football and hang out.
David Sandberg is not the only one who stresses the social atmosphere of the nation. This is also done by the player Julia Samuelsson and the teammate and board member Camilla Bergmark during the women’s team’s practice at Klostergårdens IP. For them both, Hallands nations FF is a good meeting place which welcomes everyone, regardless off football skill.
“I’ve always played football and when I moved to Lund I felt that I wanted to continue playing, as well as make new friends. So, this team was the answer. Everyone’s equal and everyone helps everyone. It’s not so that the women’s team mind their own business and the men theirs. When the women play a match, the men sell fika. We wash each other’s match clothes and pump up each other’s footballs. People are really involved. And we also have a lot of parties together”, laughs Julia, before she runs back to the passing drill she just took a break from.
At the side of the drill coach Anders Theander is standing and watching. Apart from that, he walks between the cones to points out errors committed, or he joins an already started drill to practice its procedure.
“Turn around! Turn around”, shouts Anders Theander right in the middle of his explanation of what he seeks in the participants.
“Sorry! I’ve also got to oversee the session. So, where was I? Yes, for me it’s the commitment of the participants that’s the most important, not the quality. You mustn’t forget that most are students and have a life outside the field. The quality’s good, but what separates us from a ‘regular club’ is probably that said quality remains uneven”, stresses Anders before he, once again, disappears back among his players.
The connection between Hallands nation and their sports club is interesting in many ways. Sure, both have similar names, but it stops there. It is not a requirement that you must be a member of the nation to play. You do not even have be a student.
“The club really has no relation with the nation, other than a contract which states that at some points we’ll work together. They help us by promoting the club to new students and we help them by suggesting that the students join the nation. We also play in a purple getup. That certainly distinguishes us”, says Oliver Moberg, chairman in Hallands nations FF.