Living a Moravian football rivalry through Brno

Question: What do the following numbers 10, 27, 32, 34, 56, 64, and 83 represent?

Answer: The minutes at which FC Zbrojovka Brno scored goals to beat 1. FC Slovácko on Oct. 24, 2010 in a football game that I would list with my Chicago White Sox winning the 2005 World Series, my Seattle Seahawks winning the 2014 Super Bowl, and several horse racing moments as among my favorite sports memories.

The Zbrojovka victory in the Moravian Derby had the perfect mix: months of build up among a group of friends equally loyal to their different teams, a lot of beer, suspense, surprise, passion, excitement — and one goal after another after another . . . And, it was a rivalry game because 1. FC Slovácko is based 75 km to the east in Uherské Hradiště. The Moravian Derby is not Yankees-Red Sox or Liverpool-Manchester United, but regardless of how big or small the teams, rivalry games make everything more meaningful and memorable.

The 2016/2017 season has already started. The home-opener against Slavia was rained out. Zbrojovka tied 1-1 in Karviná and 0-0 at home against Teplice. They are going to Liberec this Saturday. Then, on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 6 p.m., Zbrojovka will host Slovácko at Srbská Stadium in the Moravian Derby.

Every time Zbrojovka and Slovácko meet there is an interesting angle.

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2010/2011

October 24, 2010

It will be hard to live up to that game in October 2010. For half a year prior the game, our monthly poker games were more about talking trash about the rivalry than actually playing cards. The long build-up merged into an intense afternoon of drinking. At 10 minutes, 27 minutes, 32 minutes . . . the annihilation was exhilarating. We jumped for joy and cheered crazily. Except for our Slovácko friend, of course. Zbrojovka 7, Slovácko 0.

(When Dilma Roussef was impeached as the president of Brazil, the local newspapers said that she “took a 7-1”. It is a reference to the shellacking that the Brazilian national football team took at the hands of the eventual champion German team at World Cup 2014. If only we had been so creative — years of wasted trash talking!)

May 5, 2011

The meeting after Slovácko “took a 7-0”, unfortuntately, was clouded by the fact that Zbrojovka sucked by the end of that season. Relegation was a real danger. In fact, betting was suspended because Slovácko’s leading scorer was Brno patriot Petr Švancara; the betting companies feared that his allegiance to his hometown team would result in less than 100-percent effort.

The Slovácko fans had made T-shirts that said “7-0 I was there” as an ironic badge of honor for the diehard fans who had lived through the game in Brno eight months prior. Before this game, my first on the road, we went directly to the fan shop and bought the last ones. Suffice it to say, it is the lucky shirt that I wear underneath all of my Zbrojovka gear whenever we play Slovácko.

We won: Slovácko 0, Zbrojovka 2.

Unfortunately, it was not enough to keep Brno from being relegated three games later. Just as I had become a fan, I had to deal with dropping down the second league.

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2011/2012

The fall was exceptionally cold and wet and depressing. How could the second biggest city in the country have its only team in the second league? It made zero sense. I went to almost every game with my girlfriend/soon-to-be fiancé. The good news: Černá Hora beer replaced Gabrinus and there were never any lines.

The second half of the season was actually some of the most dramatic football that I have seen. Many of the games finished with comebacks and last-minute goals. In the end, Zbrojovka finished fourth. Brno moved up because two higher teams had inadequate fields for the top league. There is some benefit to being the second biggest city of the country, after all.

 

2012/2013

July 28, 2012

The first game back in the top league was, of course, in Uherské Hradiště. A group of us went. My fiancé and I stayed in the city and visited my family. (Nothing makes a strong rivalry like family ties. Members of both sides of my family live in the Slovácko area and my cousin’s husband once played defense for Slovácko.)

My Zbrojovka poker friend and I both wore our “7-0 I was there” T-shirts. I covered mine with a  Zbrojovka shirt, despite the hot afternoon. It was a good win: Slovácko 0, Zbrojovka 1,

After the game, my friend borrowed my Zbrojovka shirt for the ride to Brno on the Zbrojovka fan bus. He didn’t want to show the Slovácko logo on his shirt; sarcasm is tough to explain to drunk football fans.

June 1, 2013

Zbrojovka survived in the top league. That is all the matters. Zbrojovka 1, Slovácko 3.

 

2013/2014

August 30, 2013

The 2013 Moravian Derby was on my 41st birthday. I tried to use my personal holiday to entice my Premier League / international football friends to go to the game, but they shun the local team because of quality and, understandably, the sometimes disgusting hooliganism. They rarely come to Zbrojovka games. Probably just as well: Zbrojovka 0, Slovácko 2.

March 22, 2014

The Day the Nickname Changed. Years earlier, my poker friends — the Zbrojovka fan and the Slovácko fan — had made a bet: the fan of the team that gets more points in the two head-to-head games of the season may call the other nýmand. It means “no man”. The Slovácko fan — by dint of separate leagues and numerous ties — was nýmand for 11 years. It was so commonly used that I thought nýmand was a diminutive form of Petr in the same way that Pepa is a diminutive of Josef.

Slovácko 5, Zbrojovka 0. The nickname has stayed with the Zbrojovka fan ever since. (Of course, when you are nýmand for so long it is hard to not be nýmand.)

 

2014/2015

November 1, 2014

I had several friends lined up to go to this game. Instead, Zoe Ludmila Zalubil decided to make her appearance. Early in the morning, the contractions started and we were in the delivery room by 8 a.m. Just before halftime that late afternoon, Zoe joined the world, making me, briefly, forget the game.

For the record: Zbrojovka 0, Slovácko 1. But who really cares. It is really just a game.

May 8, 2015

Again fighting for their top-league lives, Zbrojovka earned a point in the return game: Slovácko 1, Zbrojovka 1. I was at home, probably changing a diaper.

 

2015/2016

September 19, 2015

There were signs that Zbrojovka had turned the corner on several sub-par seasons throughout the late summer and early fall. Yet, Jakub Řezníček, a newly purchased high-priced offensive player, had amounted to exactly zero goals. Finally, the big, tattooed striker broke through with both goals of an impressive victory at Srbská. Zbrojovka 2, Slovácko 0

March 12, 2016

Unfortunately for the Zbrojovka half of the nýmand bet, the good guys were not able to get a point when they went east. Several decent chances went for naught and Slovácko got lucky (like always when they win). And, as if rubbing it in, I came back from the game with a strand of pneumonia that laid me out for close to two weeks, the first time that I have been really sick in 20 years. Those Slovácko jerks! Slovácko 2, Zbrojovka 1.

 

2016/2017

August 27, 2016

This coming game will no doubt bring some sort of added drama, too. If you have never experienced a Czech football game, this might be the perfect opportunity because a part of the BEC team and I will be at the game. Please join us.

There should be several thousand people in the crowd and it will be hard to perfectly organize a group to sit next to each other, so we will buy our tickets in Section N, Row 13. One ticket is 150 CZK. It can be purchased online or at the gate before the game.

Gates open at 5 p.m. The game starts at 6 p.m.

If Zbrojovka puts up another 7-0, you won’t want to miss it.

 

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