Axel Wallin: When the ball is in the air…

Between 2010-15, I was the Head Coach of the Eos Basket men’s team. For the last two of those seasons, we qualified for the Superettan league, which is the second highest division of Swedish Basketball. Superettan is played over 14 games between the top 8 Division 1 teams from all of Sweden.

In 2014, out of our 14 games, three were decided in the final second. Twice our opponent was able to score a game-winning shot on the buzzer, and once we had an open layup to tie the game that unfortunately rolled off the rim. We ended up with a record of 8 wins and 6 losses, which was good enough for 5th place.

The year after, we had a chance to win the league in our last home game. A win, which would be our 9th, and would put us ahead of the other teams in an extremely tight league. For three quarters our opponent Alvik outplayed us badly. As a coach I tried all adjustments I had, different tactics, player combinations, pace etc, but nothing worked, and going into the last quarter we were down 15 points. At that point, as I gave up trying to remote control the players and the events, the momentum shifted and sitting down on the bench I watched my players launch a comeback to win the game. We won the league with a 9-5 record, and the year before we were 5th with 8-6. The point of the whole story is that there are situations where the difference between success and mediocrity is microscopic, the events are out of your control, and all you can do is to sit back and hope for the best, knowing that you’ve done everything you can.

Writing this, I have the same feeling, but for a completely non-basketball related activity. A few months ago, Eos was contacted by Lunds Kommun Real Estate Company, LKF, regarding a project to evolve the community of Linero siutated east of Lund. The Swedish Arts Council had announced a grant “Creative Places”, aiming to raise socially challenged areas through cultural activities. LKF is a sponsor of Eos, and we already had ongoing discussions about increasing their involvement in our social project “Eos Cares”.

We sat down and looked at what we had. LKF is planning for major investments in the area’s outside environment. Eos Cares is running the Eos Language Café language training activities, which is an established meeting point for integration and cultural exchange. We saw that with this as a core, we could be able to build a competitive project. Activities we had in mind were, among others, a language training center, an extensive support for startups of cultural associations (cooking, literature, art exhibitions, music production, animation & theater etc), as well as a re-establishment of the old Linero Festival as a common ground for all initiatives.

But we also realized that we could not do it only by ourselves. For a project of this magnitude, we needed to recruit a team of organizations, attacking the field of integration and cultural activities from several angles. The International Citizen Hub Lund was an obvious partner, being able to present the envisioned panorama of cultural activities to the region’s international community, and to connect people from all over the world with a generally high level of self esteem with the local residents in need of social capital and extended cultural networks. Furthermore, Eos Cares already has extensive collaboration with the Hub, having started up the joint initiative “Swedish for Expats”, and through an ongoing exchange of ideas related to social meeting points and language training for the international community.

The other organizations recruited were the Linero local residents association, the social project “Intitiativet Lund” that is supporting entrepreneurship in challenged communitys, and the society builder TAMAM. An extensive application was produced and submitted on September 22nd, and results are expected to be announced by the end of november.

As of now, we are sitting back hoping for the best.

Axel Wallin

Health & Safety Specialist, Skanska
Eos Cares Programme Director
Head Coach Eos Basket Senior Men A