Wednesday, August 17, 2005

FK Slavoj 1:3 Hluboka

(WARNING: If you have zero interest in football (the world version), please feel free to skip ahead to the next blog entry. If you want a slice of true Czech sporting life, do plow ahead.)

When Becca and I first started planning this trip, we had grand ideas of hitting a wide variety of sporting events (Wimbledon, Australian Open, The Ashes, some top level European football, etc.) during our travels. Two months in and the most exciting thing we've seen is a bunch of guys booting the ball around the park in Vienna.

Well, this past Sunday that changed. In our first day in Cesky Krumlov, we were wandering past the local brewery and saw a hand written sign for what looked to be a football match between FK Slavoj (the Cesky Krumlov team) and Hluboka (who we later found out was just a town about 45 min. north of CK. After some direction in Czech from the bar maid and a much more productive explanation at the TI, we were able to decipher that their first game of the season was Sunday. We both decided this had become the must see event of our stay in Cesky Krumlov, UNESCO rating be damned.

Sunday evening we strolled up to the FK Slavoj complex for some hot bottom tier Czech professional football. The total cost of our entrance? Twenty kc (about 80 cents). Of course that was helped by the fact that Becca discovered that girls got in free (and didn't even have to wear a wet t-shirt). Add in the beers we bought and it cost just about $2 for the evening's entertainment. And what entertainment it was; much like The Sports Guy does, I elected to do a running diary of the game. This is the abbreviated version. A number with a ' by it means the minute of the game and FK= FK Slavoj and H= Hluboka

Pregame: We settle in with our beers and the 150 or so other fans for the start of the game. The opposing coach seems to be dressed in a windbreaker and denim capri pants. Not a good look. Of course the FK coach is wearing shorts and black socks with a set of gym shoes so neither one is going for GQ mention anytime soon. That being said, the stadium is nice and tucked into a valley with houses and such around it. You can also see the occasional ball being booted by the kids on the practice field behind the other stand.

5' - After a few missed headers and general flailing, the FK goalie comes up with an acrobatic save. Of course the ball had been hit directly at him.

14' - Another great save by the FK goalie, this time on an attempted slide tackle that seconded as a shot. I'm beginning to think I might be able to dress as a late substitute.

17' - FK with a nice opportunity, again on a weird slide tackle like shot. It's been raining a bit (thankfully our sweet second row midfield seats are covered) but I can't imagine it's that slick on the pitch.

21' - FK #10 gets a yellow card for either diving or dissent towards the ref. We can't figure out which despite the fact that we should be able to hear what he said or didn't say at the ref. He's playing like a classic #10 right now though; flashy earring, cherry picking trying to break free and diving at the slightest touch.

30' - Becca points out that the FK right back looks like her brother's childhood friend and soccer teammate Joel Tanner. Me thinks we're not drinking our pivo nearly quick enough. (ed note: pivo is czech for beer)

31' - H #11 cleats the goalie, leading to much flopping around on the ground. No yellow card much to the crowd's dismay. Becca and I simulateously realize that FK's backline averages about 17 years old; either that or we're getting a lot older than we thought.

33' - Another nice save by the FK keeper and some more physical punishment to boot. He's starting to remind us of the Black Knight of Monty Python fame.

34' - GOAL! #2 from H comes crashing in from the left and puts it away pretty easily. 0-1

37' - Becca is convinced the linesman is blind with what she thinks is about the 900th bad offsides call. Maybe we should cut back on the pivo after all...

42' - GOAL! The FK defense allows the ball to roll through three people to H #9 who takes the gift and makes it 0-2. FK might have had a chance had they not all been too busy arguing another of #10's dives.

43' - Yellow on H #8 as he tries to take out FK's Maradona lookalike (post drug habit of course). Doesn't he realize they're WINNING???

Half-Time: Two highlights. One was walking to the clubhouse to go to the loo and seeing FK's road jerseys up on the clothesline drying. (I was so tempted to take one and run). The second was watching the H reserves play "monkey in the middle" and having a six round ro-sham-bo (ed. note: 'ro-sham'bo' is 'rock paper scissors') to see who had to go in the middle. Nothing beats trusty rock...

46' - Two subs for the home team as they've evidently decided to try everyone out at new positions this half. Even Becca is having a hard time keeping track of where everyone went.

55' - Opposing coach utters first word I could understand of the match. Unfortunately it's not printable here.

57' - H #15 takes another physical challenge from Joel Tanner. The guy has been getting abused the whole match and looks to be a good 15 years younger. Half expect him to go running off the pitch at some point and just keep going.

61' - Right when momentum seems to be going FK's way, #10 gets another yellow, leading to him getting sent off. Not exactly #10 type behavior (though he did pull the guy down from behind) but now it looks like the home team is in some trouble. Becca does point out this could be addition by subtraction though.

62' - Fans in front of us start talking smack/arguing with one of H's reserves who looks strangely like Sean Astin. "Conversation" then shifts from the reserve to the opposing coach. Not quite sure what's being said, but I do think people's mothers are involved.

67' - H #5 misses a great chance. Becca (a former D player) about has an aneurism over the fact that the FK D can't stay on their feet. I propose it's because their feet haven't finished growing yet.

70' - GOAL! Addition by Subtraction indeed. FK #9 buries one home and we've got a ball game. The crowd has something to finally break them out of their stupor... 1-2.

71' - Things are finally getting exciting. Double yellow card with the H striker (who cleats a D player) and the FK keeper (who promptly runs out and chest bumps/shoves the striker with a lurchy-like run).

72' - Another near goal by FK. Can they come back?

73' - GOAL! Too bad it's by H #9 on the counterattack. The crowd takes whatever interest they still had and put it into their cigarettes. 1-3.

75' - H sub gets a huge cheer despite his multi color Beckhamesque hairdo. His parents perhaps?
83' - Not much happening until H attacks again and fires one past the keeper and then off the post. A bit scary as the FK's clear almost goes back into the net. Did I mention we were watching low tier semi-pro Czech soccer again?

84' - H player has to ask a little girl riding her tricycle on the sidelines to move so he can execute his corner kick. Somehow I don't think they have this problem at Old Trafford or Highbury...

87' - Mini-Maradona gets clipped something fierce by a H player, who promptly gets sent off. All of this despite the fact that the ref's back was turned to the play. Yeah Crowd!

90' - After three uneventful minutes of injury time, it's a final. The crowd quickly takes off and the players wait for their friends and family to come down from the crowd to say hi before heading off to the locker room.

All in all a pretty cool experience. The football was of so-so high school club quality (or so Becca informs me) but it was interesting to be the only two non-natives there and checking out the local football experience. In fact, as we made a call back to Oregon on the way back from the match, we saw a number of the players walking past us with the families to the local pub for dinner. Quite a slice of life and I can guarantee it will certainly be a lot different than any other football match we'll see on the trip.

So there you go; our first european football experience in the books. For those of you still reading, if you're this bored you might want to think about changing jobs :-)


1 comment:

Steven said...

This is hilarious... You guys make really professional bloggers... Enjoying it very much ! Keep up the happy travels !