September 24, 2002
Up until a few weeks ago the only thing Sid Gunnarsson knew about the game of football, was what he saw on television back home in Keflavik, Iceland. Sid Gunnarsson said, "I've seen it a couple of times, the Super Bowl and they show some games at home like the professional games, but they don't show college or anything."
Now Gunnarsson, a junior foreign exchange student, finds himself suiting up as a place kicker for the Cairo Syrupmakers. Gunnarsson said, "I got to be honest, I just love this sport right now. I wish they could have this sport in Iceland because that would be really cool."
But Gunnarsson, who goes by Sid because most people can't pronounce his full first name, didn't come to the U.S. to play football. Instead he fully intended to help out the Syrupmakers basketball and soccer teams. "I saw all of these huge guys playing and I didn't want to get tackled because I'm not a very big guy," said Gunnarsson. Cairo head coach Warren Field said, "The parents that were taking care of him, the host family, they gave me a call and brought him out here one day and all of a sudden he started kicking around and they said, 'He can kick it'. And they made a call here, a call there and the next thing you know he ends up in my office and we sit down and talk and I give him a chance."
And although he's still learning a lot about the game, and it's popularity in Cairo. "Eight thousand people on a school game, that was something I couldn't believe." His teammates have welcomed him with open arms. "They've all been great, they've all been great," Gunnarsson said.
And Gunnarsson hopes to one day show his appreciation for all the southern hospitality by nailing a field goal in a varsity game. "To give it my best shot and just try to be as good as I can be."
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