Editor’s Note: Over the last few weeks, parts of Europe have seen intense flooding, and the home of the Ales Hrebesky Memorial (the greatest box lacrosse tournament in Europe) is no exception. Josh Potter joins LAS to tell his Radotin story, and to provide an avenue to assist the wonderful people of this small Czech town.
A few years ago, a good friend of mine told me about a lacrosse tournament that was rumored to be one of the best in the world. He added that his team needed some extra help on defense and asked if I’d like to go with him. “Oh and by the way, the tourney is in Prague…”. Germany? I thought to myself. That’s pretty far and sounds real expensive, but I’m not getting any younger and I’ve never been to Germany before, so after a few minutes of thinking I emphatically answered YES!!!
I went home and looked up the city of Prague in Germany. It wasn’t there. Wait, what the? That’s right, Prague was in the Czech Republic. How did it get there?? Well, it turns out that I was sleeping during the eastern European section of geography class and missed a very important part of my future lacrosse life. But it’s never too late to learn.
We booked our flights and headed to Prague, in the CZECH REPUBLIC. Several hours, and one transfer, later, our group is on the ground in Prague. This is where we make our first contact with a tourney volunteer. He is a large intimidating man, but he has a lacrosse stick in his hands to identify him as our contact, “how scary could he be, let’s go to that guy!”
I never asked this man his name, but he knew all of our names. He had in his hand a paper with all of our names and flight numbers. In addition to that, he had learned how to say all of our names and a few important phrases in English to help make us feel more at ease in his country. I was impressed that this Czech version of the Incredible Hulk, although not a shade of green, was impressively docile, kind and professional. This was a great start to my trip!
“We are going to Radotin now.” is what Hulk told us after he loaded our bags into the van without letting us help him at all. Naturally, the traffic patterns around any international airport could make anyone cringe, but not Hulk Andretti. We safely sped away to a little town called Radotin. I took it all in as a blur.
Upon our arrival to the hotel, Mr. Andretti had unloaded our bags for us, again not allowing us to help him. He kindly tipped his hat and disappeared. With one eyebrow lifted, I thought that this was way too storybook, they must have sent the nicest guy to pick us up so they can blindside us with their stiff culture later. I’m on to you Radotin…
Well as it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The city of Radotin (pronounced swiftly with a rolling R and a long E sound.. Rrrrrra-doh-teen) hosts a lacrosse tourney once a year in honor of a local lacrosse player that was killed by a drunk driver 20 years ago. After a few days of experiencing this tourney, you realize that this is more than a sporting event that you are a part of for a week. The arena and town are saturated with local residents of all ages volunteering to help in so many ways to welcome all of us to their town, and into their home.
This year’s event had 20 teams arrive from 13 different countries. Did you get that? 13 countries. I want you to imagine what it would take for your lacrosse program to organize an event of this magnitude. It can’t be done without the full support of your local residents and local government.
Radotin and Prague alike were fortunate enough to have their cities spared during the bombing of most of Europe throughout WW2. It is because of this that walking through the streets is such a wonderful treat, what we call a beautiful historic vacation spot, they call home.
Well they and their homes are now in trouble. You see, most of the suburbs surrounding Prague, including a large portion of Radotin, have been under water due to massive flooding caused by a series of rain storms. Just check the city of Radotin’s Facebook page for pictures that just might blow your mind.
Stand in your favorite room where you live, look around and admire everything you own; game system, clothes, computer, lax gear, maybe a trophy or two? Imagine it all washed away leaving you with only the clothes on your back.
Then ask yourself if you would appreciate some help in that situation. I think most of us would love some assistance. Thankfully, there is a way you CAN help the people of Radotin, and you can find more info on how to do so at the bottom of this post.
I am not going to tell you that you could feed one Czech resident for a week for the cost of one cup of coffee, but I am going to tell you that when you go to the bank to cash your paycheck, take the time to sit down with one of those annoying greeters. It takes about 3 minutes to give them the account info and process a transfer of any denomination. Painless, and you’ve done your good deed for the day. No amount is too big, or small, and it all helps.
More importantly, if you’ve ever been to Radotin to play, then you understand how hard it is to give back to these people since they ask for nothing in return, ever. Now is the time to give back. Take the time to help them.
You’ll need the following information to take with you to your bank:
– Bank Account “Owner”: Mestska cast Praha 16 (address: Vaclava Baleho 23, 153 00 Praha-Radotin, Czech Republic),
– Bank: Ceska Sporitelna
– Bank Account #: CZ75 0800 0060 1520 0086 1379 (it is IBAN format, it can be also in format 6015-2000861379)
– SWIFT Code (or BIC): GIBACZPX
This is an account that was created by the city to specifically benefit those effected by the floods. Please send what you can.
If you are in the Philadelphia area and would like to contribute something, the Philadelphia Box Lacrosse Association is currently running a fund drive to help. The main contact for PBLA donations is Frank Menschner and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
And when next April rolls around in 2014, why don’t you consider taking a trip to Radotin to be a part of something truly awesome? You’ll get to experience an event unlike any other, and know that you played a small part in keeping it going.