I think I’m in the Czech Republic…

Some days I wake up, go teach and whatever, come home and nothing much interesting happens. And then some days I have a day like Friday. Let me tell you about it.

Tuesday through Friday I teach in the morning at my Basic School before going to my other school, the Gymnazium (Czech equivalent of a high school), around 10 o’clock. I usually get there between classes, go up to my office and prepare for my lesson. This past friday there was a Floorball tournament at my school. Floorball is like indoor hockey without ice. Every class had its own team. The teachers had a team too. There was a bracket.

About 10 minutes after I sit down, my fellow American English teacher, Sam, walks in decked out in full Floorball goalie gear. Shirt, pants, mask. He is in his 60s. It took me a bit by surprise. He tells me I’m playing next game for the teachers, he thinks I’ll do better than him. I grant I’m a bit more athletic than Sam but floorball is at best a game in America I played as a kid. In any case we head downstairs to the gym. Once there I’m taken to the “locker room” which ended up being the gym teachers office. They have different standards of privacy here. More on that in a bit. I get Sam’s goalie gear on and head upstairs.

Many students (including my own) have gotten out of class and are watching. Many have devil’s horns on. Some are dressed as angels. Some just have Santa hats on. Apparently it’s to celebrate a holiday similiar to Christmas but three weeks before. In any case it was fun to see.

Back to Floorball. Five minutes after arriving I’m in the net to face a team of students. You have no glove and it looked like it was best to stay on knees at all times. In the ten-minute game it’s ok. I face two shots. One is a rocket over my shoulder, the other I catch in my chest. It ends 1-1. I get up pretty happy I haven’t embarrassed myself yet. And then a Czech English teacher I know tells me the game isn’t over yet. The tie has to be broken. I’m the goalie in a penalty shootout.

This is a horrifyingly bad turn of events. I can’t imagine saving a shot, let alone winning. I have never played this. I’m told it’s no big deal but pressure mounts as I settle between the posts. It’s pretty weird. People basically just walk up with the ball before taking the shot. The first I do actually save by having it bounce off my face-mask. No style points but I’m feeling good. I proceed to save no more and we eventually lose. Disappointing but I gave a good account of myself and the Czech teachers shake my hand. Sam and I go back down to change.

Back in the office there’s lots of people. Students outside too. My Czech english teacher and her three-year old are talking with others in the office. I’m not in habit of being in my boxers around females so I wait. Suddenly another teacher walks in, in his boxer briefs. He casually grabs his clothes and proceeds to dress while talking to those of us around. A few minutes later the woman teacher leaves and the gym teacher proceeds to take off his shorts to change. He puts on a shirt and the woman comes back in. They talk for a good 3-4 minutes while he remains pantless. Finally woman and children leave. I put my pants on.

So it was a good day. I did new things. I had some fun. And I was reminded I am in a different country from my own…


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