Jaroslava Klučinová doesn’t teach anymore; she’s retired now, but if you’re trying to get hold of her, you’ve got a problem. She’s always running around, never picking up her phone. But then… “I’ve got fifteen minutes, talk,” she orders, and then she starts talking herself.
She was Petr’s teacher at primary school.
What do you think of when I say Petr Čech?
Solidity, dutifulness, honesty. I met him when he was ten and a half, so he really was just a young boy, but he was different from his classmates. He always behaved very well, he was well-ordered.
You don’t often hear the word “solidity” when talking about a ten-year-old kid.
I agree, you don’t. But it characterises Petr perfectly. It’s not that he didn’t want to take part in all the shenanigans the other little rascals were up to; but his inner self-discipline was amazing. It was so striking that I, as a teacher, was fascinated. I’m sure that’s what later helped him to become a successful athlete. He wasn’t overly fastidious, but naturally meticulous. He was a dutiful little hard worker.
Nothing annoying about him?
The only thing that made me sad was that he didn’t go to university. I was his math teacher and I saw immediately he had a bright future ahead of him. He could have studied science or something technical. You see, he wasn’t only good at sports, even though that’s where he shined the most. He was always on top of things, very calm and resourceful, and he had lots of energy.
Ah, that’s Petr alright. I can see him now.
I’m glad to hear that. He liked learning, he liked to study and he was always well prepared. Even though I think he didn’t exactly need to get straight As at all times.
Can you recall any other details?
I was also his music teacher for a while. We had a simple drum kit in the classroom and I remember how he loved to pound on it during breaks. He was just improvising, but he did have rhythm.
A hidden talent then.
That’s what I thought when I saw him on TV a couple of years ago, sitting at a drum kit and playing like a pro.
Are you a fan of his? Football-wise?
I wouldn’t say that, although I do follow his career. I always wished for all the children I taught to become decent people, big personalities. But the truth is that the whole school was and still is really into football, so Petr’s career makes a great impression.
Do you meet with him sometimes?
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen him since he was fifteen. But I know from his former classmates that they’re still close, they meet when they have the opportunity. I’m happy their school friendships survived and hope it will stay that way.
P.S. Next week - Chapter 11