May 17, 2000
We began taping and treatment of athletes at 6:30am, ate breakfast at
7:30 and then left for the competition site at 8:00am. We arrived there
in about 45 minutes after going through the rush hour traffic. When this
was a Communist country not everyone was allowed to have a car so the
roads were built for less traffic flow so the streets were very crowded.
We began warm-ups outside on the concrete in front of the hall (gym).
The ladies ran, stretched and played pepper “without a ball.” When it
was time for us to go in we were ready to play one of the other top
teams in the Czech League. Listening to the opposing team hitting, you
can tell by the sound of the ball hitting the floor they have extremely
fast arm swings. We definitely gave Slovia Prague a couple of tough
games with scores of 24-26, 9-25, 16-25, 23-25. These are all scrimmages
for these teams, there are no line judges, no second referee, the other
team doesn’t wear uniforms and the first referee continues to receive
calls and talks on his cell phone throughout the games!
Our team takes a shower after the games and prepares for another
day of shopping! The women we just played walk out in nice dresses and
high heels and walk back to work. We head back to the area of the Old
Town Square and have lunch and then divide up into two groups…young
and not so young…for tours and shopping. The “NSY” group headed for a
walk through the Jewish Ghetto, a beautiful area with expensive stores
and gorgeous homes. We took a quick walk through the historical Jewish
Cemetery where there are tombstones from the 13th Century and the bodies
buried twelve deep. We hit two more crystal stores and an are market
before meeting the entire group at 4:00pm and leaving for the hall (gym)
and our final competition in Prague.
We arrived early and found a nice place in the grass to relax
for 30 minutes before we got dressed and warmed up. We play another
Division One team, Sokol Nusle Praha, the gym is an old time gym out of
the history books! We lost another close game 23-24, won the second game
25-16, 24-26, 25-12 and win the final game 15-9. We have improved on the
court and played some outstanding volleyball. The team gift was a Prague
Stein, so we made a presentation to the team for the first trophy to go
in their new locker room. We’ll sleep in on Wednesday and take an eight
hour bus trip to Berlin. Prague was delightful!