Last weekend, I journeyed to a little village, Horka, where a friend of mine has a cottage. For the second year now, the village organized an annual soccer tournament, affectionately called The Horka Cup. On Saturday, I went out to play goal keeper for Team Foreigner, made up of myself and English friends of mine (including the guy who has the cottage).
I arrived in late morning on one of these little Mr. Rogers-like country trains they have in Czech, which was even more ramshackle and filled with smelly fatsos than usual:
Note that Horka is officially called Horka II, to differentiate it from another Horka which is right near by. This is a treacherous aspect of Czech villages– they often tend to repeat the same names over again and over again. At my wedding, my headstrong friend jumped in his car, set his GPS to the name of the village where the wedding was taking place and zoomed off several hours in the wrong direction to a town with the identical name on the other side of the country. With my best man’s suit in the trunk of his car. Anyway, I digress…
Our competition for the event was Team Village Lie-Abouts, composed of random Horka guys, and Team Of Cops From Neighboring Zruč, who dazzled all with their smart striped uniforms:
I have a feeling it was probably a good day to go on a crime spree in Zruč.
From an anthropological point of view, every genus of Czech village male was on display, including Big Mustache Man and Fearsome Mullet Man. The latter was particularly impressive in this instance– a vast, billowing specimen whom we nicknamed The Horka Maradona. Or just The Horkadona, for short:
Despite the blazing heat and a scarcity of players (this is why there are no good pictures of the action– everyone was either pressed into service or slumped over in exhaustion on the sideline), we managed to beat the team of local village guys before falling to the Zruč cops in the de facto final. Here’s our captain accepting a tiny little plastic cup in honor of our second-place finish:
Once it became known that there was an American playing goal, this became a source of great amusement to all of the Czech guys there who referred to me as ‘The American!’ for the rest of the day. I think it was funny to them in a sort of Cool Runnings way, like ‘Look at those silly Jamaicans trying to ride a bobsled.’ I didn’t embarrass myself too much, though, and was asked to join in a casual scrimmage after the official matches, which meant another 90 min or so of standing in the blasting afternoon sun.
Anyway, once the games were over and the awards were handed out, the afternoon ended in the way that all things end in Czech villages:
Fittingly, the Horkadona manned the grill, and produced some excellent sausages: