Blogging does tend to be a lonely activity, so using a combination of analytical software tools and curiosity is very natural to seek an answer – when do people drop by to read this, and why? Apparently I nearly found out by accident when scribbling about moose in rally racing; there is a moose-sports angle. According to my little traffic tools here, people have been dropping by trying to find out about moose hitting football players. Moose hitting footballers?
OK, my moose news ticker isn’t exactly hooked up to the red hotline phone on the desk, but I do have a pretty good idea of what is happening on the forest front. Then it hit me that this could be another case of the resurfacing story. As I mentioned here before on matters of moose nostalgia, old classics occasionally and repeatedly rise back into the news-stream and circulate around the web as if for the first time. Digging around a bit, I managed to find the reason for this sudden interest in football and moose.
Apparently a recent English article on bizarre footballing injuries mentioned the collision of moose and man as a genre classic, but didn’t go into any details. Myth or fact?
Rooting around on the net I found a Norwegian reference to one Svein Grøndalen, a Norwegian defender who, according to web news site Nettavisen, ‘allegedly’ crashed into a moose while out jogging, injuring himself to the point where he had to drop a match for the national side. The ‘allegedly’ on a site well known for its shoot first and ask questions later attitude to news reporting strengthened suspicions that this might be a legend, but then I found a fuller report.
National daily Dagbladet cites an interview with Grøndalen in Aftenposten in 1999, where the sportsman remembers the 1980 incident that forced him to drop an appearance against Finland.
Grøndalen said he had been out jogging with his wife when they startled a moose in woods outside of Trondheim. The animal went for Svein, and reared up on its hind legs to attack, whereupon the defensive back threw himself off a steep slope and injured himself in the rolling fall.
The story got a reprise in Dagbladet when former Norwegian international Ståle Solbakken, now a successful coach in Denmark, came across a moose while jogging last year. Unfortunately for news hounds, the two just eyed each other as they went by, and nothing more came of it than that.
But those searching for the story behind one of football’s oddest injuries, there you have it – a nearly 30-year-old incident, and only in Norway.