From the Catbird Seat... Rahkola has characterIf you’ve spent any time around him, it’s hard to imagine Tim Rahkola not being around football. Though he didn’t play as much as he might have liked during his senior season with UMD’s Division II national champions, during the defensive team meeting the night before the national championship game, one senior addressed the group.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
If you’ve spent any time around him, it’s hard to imagine Tim Rahkola not being around football.
Though he didn’t play as much as he might have liked during his senior season with UMD’s Division II national champions, during the defensive team meeting the night before the national championship game, one senior addressed the group.
It was Rahkola. That shouldn’t have been a surprise.
Now, as we reported last week, Rahkola is ready to turn pro.
This week, the Esko native signed a contract with the Helsinki Roosters of the Finnish Elite League, and will get a chance to continue his career.
“It’s a nice deal that includes housing in Helsinki, league fees and a small salary to live on while I’m here,” Rahkola said by e-mail. “It’s nothing huge, but it is very modest for someone like myself who just wants another opportunity to play high level football while still getting a chance to explore
The offer is worth about 750 Euros per month, which works out to about $1,060 per month in American money. So, yes, it’s modest.
Yet when you add in the other perks, such as housing and the payment of his league fees while also receiving health insurance, and it’s not such a bad deal after all.
And, he’ll reach his stated goal of playing in the country’s biggest league.
Spending time around Rahkola, you discover a well-rounded young man who enjoys the game of football while also showing interests in other pursuits.
As a music major at UMD, some of the conversations I had with him before the title game centered more around marching bands and pianos (an instrument Rahkola plays despite having broken several fingers playing football) than about the gridiron.
He also has a keen understanding of how good he’s really got it.
In Alabama, some of our conversation centered around the first-class treatment the teams receive – which was perhaps a bit more special for the Bulldogs since they were playing against a rival of the host school, the University of North Alabama.
“I’ve been treated like a king twice in three years,” he told me at the time. “That’s something I’ll always remember.”
Now, though, it’s time for a change of direction – thousands of miles to the east.
Rahkola’s father, Olli, says it’s possible his son may see time on the offensive side of the ball as well, which would be a bit of a switch for him.
“He liked everything about the offer he got,” Olli Rahkola told me. “The money isn’t a lot, but it should keep him going for the summer.”
And, perhaps the best of all, Rahkola’s Esko and UMD experience will allow him to keep playing the game he loves.
It has been said that the purpose of Division II athletics is to build a better, more well-rounded person. I can’t think of a better example of this philosophy than Tim Rahkola.
When the Bulldogs lined up against Delta State in December, they played against a team that had eight Division I transfers on it. They faced that team without their top two tight ends, their top receiver and their top running back – and they still won.
There is a lot to be said for character. Players like Tim Rahkola provided it, and that character was a major reason why UMD won that game.
So it’s good to see a fine young man get a chance to keep playing. We’ll keep you posted on his progress.