The Czech Lacrosse Union recently welcomed the University of Notre Dame's Men's Lacrosse Team to Prague. Notre Dame was on a multi-city European tour focused on promoting European lacrosse which also afforded the opportunity for their players and coaches to see the sights and experience Central European culture.
Their trip started with several days of sightseeing in and around Prague, including picturesque Prague Castle, Historic Old Town square, and the Majestic town of Karlstejn and its hill top Castle. On Saturday the 4th of June, the Coaches of Notre dame generously opened their practice and invited a group of 30 Czech players to join them in drills focusing on fundamentals. The Czech Players ranged from national team veterans to high school aged rookies and also included 3 players from the Bratislava Tricksters, a developing team from Slovakia. The day culminated in a mix team scrimmage.
The next day, the Czech National field lacrosse team took on the full force of the Notre Dame team in an international rules scrimmage. Although the final score of 23-4 was telling of the dominance of the American team, the game was hard fought with excellent plays on both sides. The Czechs were thoroughly impressed with the sharp stick skills and total team effort of the Americans. Several Notre Dame players also commented on the potential of the Czech team and impressive individual skills of several of the Czech veterans.
Following the game both teams were joined with the Czech Women's Lacrosse team (getting ready for their trip to the 2005 Women's Lacrosse Champion in Annapolis, Maryland) and other Friends of Czech lacrosse for a boat party on the Vltava river. The boat featured a buffet, two bars, a dance floor, several decks and a live DJ. The cruise started on the southern side of Prague and traveled north through the two most scenic and historic districts in the city, including 2 trips under one of the oldest (13 century) bridges in Europe. As great as the scenery was, the boat cruise was an excellent opportunity for the Czechs and American players and coaches to interact and learn more about their respective cultures. By the end of the night everyone was having a great time and countless new friendships were made.
However, somewhere in the course of the night, a challenge was made! Yes, the Americans were clearly the better field team, but what about the Czech's true Passion-Box Lacrosse. Would the Americans fare as well? The matter could only be decided in a game, so the following Tuesday was set as Game Day.
Tuesday evening started with several mixed Czech-American teams scrimmages so that the Americans could get a sense for the rules and flow of the game. Then, the main event: the Czech National Box Team vs. the University of Notre Dame Field Team…playing Box. The Game started with a 5-0 run for the Czechs but Notre Dame made a hard push in the 2nd half to make the final score 7-6.
The trip ended well, with Both the Americans and Czech being able to claim victory in different areas. It can truly be said that everyone involved enjoyed and more importantly learned from the experience. Hopefully this will be the start of a continued and long lasting cooperation between the University of Notre Dame, its coaches and players, and the Czech Lacrosse Union.
The Czech Lacrosse Union would like to thank Dr Otakar Hubschman for his generousity and commitment to the improvement of Czech lacrosse.