Just imagine: you’re falling asleep, like a little angel, a boy with a boy’s dream and sixteen-year-old friends. You wake up a professional player, ready to enter the dressing room full of former national team players in their thirties like Petr Vrabec or Günter Bittengel. It was certainly a shock.
Suddenly, I was a Blšany player.
Blšany was no more than a village.
But it was my village.
A village that would allow me – maybe, one day – to play in the league.
I’d never scorn anything that could help me go higher. How many district towns are there that cannot boast a top-flight football team? And probably won’t in the future either? Blšany had a club that played in the first league, at least back then, in 1999.
I knew the cosy little stadium decorated in blue and yellow, the club’s colours. Twice I visited it as a spectator, first in 1998, when Blšany were playing against Karviná to determine who would be promoted to the first league. Then a year later, just after I signed the contract. Blšany defeated Drnovice 3-1 and sturdy striker Roman Hogen scored a hat-trick.
Many thoughts were circling in my head: “So I’ll be on the same team as this bloke? Is he going to score against me during practices? Or not, because I’ll deny him with my saves?”
I was already imagining myself in the goal: Petr Čech, number 1. Watched by an audience of three thousand people, not fifty like in the junior league.
My dad was sitting next to me and he must have been thinking the same thing. He didn’t say much, he was probably worried if I’d be able to cope with all of that.
And all I wanted to say was: “Don’t worry, I’ll manage.”
P.S. The following chapter coming up next week!
Should I have stayed and not moved? Should I have run out? …
My first time at a big tournament. And as goalkeeper for the home team, no less. …