Striped shirt, check. Black pants, check. Whistle, check. Amazing setting for an international box lacrosse tournament, Czech.
Ok, so this is hard. Blogging while in such an amazing place, but here it is, short and suite. I got off the airplane on Wednesday, straight to the venue for the tournament, and was on the floor within an hour.
The floor is a custom built outdoor, artificial turf, lacrosse arena. The city of Prague donated a pile of money for this new arena a few years ago, and it is paying off in spades with the development of the Czech players.
Their club house, pictured below, was built in 1936 as a sports complex for youth. During the day the clubhouse is used as a facility for sports such as basketball, badminton, table tennis and others. The location is home to LCC Radotin, Lacrosse Club Czech Radotin, who hosts the Ales Hrebesky Memorial Tournament. For more information, visit their website www.AHMemorial.cz.
The tournament consists of 20 teams from 13 countries playing under FIL indoor rules (2010 NLL rules). The surface is identical to the NLL, the location is not.
Radotin is a suburb of Prague, and is located about 20mins south west of the capital city, for those of you who have yet to Wikipedia yourself some information. The venue is in the middle of a residential area. Like a back alley park, but way more awesome.
The weather has been spectacular, the growth of the game in developing lacrosse countries is astronomical, and the atmosphere during the tournament words can not describe.
The setting, the people, the organizers (Ondrej Mika is an amazing facilitator of the tournament), the lacrosse. I’d say this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but its not. I’ll be back, in one capacity or another, because this place is something special.
Having never worked the floor with someone who spoke little to no English in an officiating partnership, this was a true, authentic, european experience for me. A few of my partners over the last two days had yet to master the English language, but that did not matter. With only a few years of box officiating experience under their belts, the skills and development of the officials is incredible and is attributed to one man, Greg Hart. Greg, a colleague of mine in the NLL has been attending, training, and mentoring these officials over the last 5 years and both sides of this relationship have benefited greatly from it.
With Friday just a few hours away, and the quarter and semi final matches soon to be played, I’m sure the best lacrosse is yet to come.
Below are a few pictures I took while around the box earlier today. It’s ok to be jealous…