we played our first game in the champions league tournament today. we are hosting teams from hungary, romania and italy in the first round to qualify for the european cup. slavia gets to be the czech representative because they won the czech league last year. for some strange reason, jackie, sara and i can play with them despite having absolutely no czech relatives. i don't know how that works, but i'm pretty sure slavia is pumped that it does.
we won the game over bolzano (italy), 4-2. i just happened to score two of those goals, so it felt great to contribute on the scoreboard in a pretty important game. the team that comes out on top this weekend will head to moscow in november for the next round of the tournament (it's the european cup, also called the champions league). i can't even imagine how exciting that would be. and different. and scary. but it's looking pretty positive for us having the chance to go, based on the competition here this weekend. bolzano was, apparently, the best we can expect.
this evening we went over to erin and heather's for family night with athletes in action. it basically consists of a GREAT, homecooked, NORTH AMERICAN meal and hanging out with some pretty sweet people.
seeing as you probably don't know who the aia crew is here, i'll take a minute and introduce everyone. billy and adrianne have been here for around 10 years. they are full time and long term missionaries with athletes in action, through campus crusade for christ. they have three kids: Abigail, 5, Levi, 3, and Adam, 3 months. erin is also in the czech republic on a long term basis. she's a coach with the women's basketball team, sparta, after having previously played here for quite a few years. heather is from texas and is short term, which we call a stinter. she's a volleyball gal and helps with english classes at the uni. zach plays american football (NOT soccer) and is also long term in the czech. ernie is a wrestler and is in the czech with a different organization from aia, but is living with zach and we get to hang out with him at family nights, too. then there's us 3 canadians, as we are referred to, that round the group out. there are also others playing on sports teams throughout the czech republic, but we'll probably only see them 2 or 3 times before christmas on big group family nights. it's a great group and one i am very thankful for!
we've also started taking czech classes. jackie and i attend on tuesday/thursday for an hour and a half; sara and heather go monday/wednesdays. there are usually around 10 people in our class. so far we've worked on a basic conversation when you are introduced to someone new, and the numers from 1-100. i feel like everyday i'm learning new words and interacting with my teammates helps to reinforce things in my head. the language is really cool and i'm exciting to continue learning it. it's complicated, but simple at the same time. pronunciation is really simple as every letter you pronounce exactly the same way, no matter the usage. the whole grammar thing is a bit tougher. you'd have to be a lifer here to master or perfect the language, i'd say. it is similar to french in some ways, and for my two month stint in quebec in 2005, i'm very thankful for now. even just having the discipline to stick with learning a language and knowing some of the hurdles to expect in doing so are both very helpful.
speaking of the language, i learned a helpful phrase today: delam si srandu. it means, "i'm just kidding". as there are many jokes and much laughter in the dressing room, it's a great phrase to know. the girls in my corner of the room were totally pumped when i pulled it out today!
that's all for now, i'll keep you updated on the status of the rest of our games... and whether we're headed to mother russia!!
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