Czech and Slovak lawyers turn to what’s really important: Basketball
In a contest that will echo down the centuries, members of the Czech and Slovakian Bar Associations met in mid-September in the Moravian spa town of Luhacovice to settle once and for all the question that has tormented legal scholars for decades: Which country’s lawyers form a better basketball team?
The result was a tightly-fought 85-48 victory for the Czechs.
Denying the obvious, participants described the game, which formed part of the special weekend-long centennial celebration of the 1918 creation of the Czechoslovakian Republic, as “fun” and “not serious.” According to Tomas Rybar, Partner at Bratislava’s Cechova Partners, who described himself, modestly, as “the fifth wheel” on the Slovakian team, “the purpose was mainly to meet and enjoy a friendly match. There were people cheering for both sides.” But of course the real significance of the event was apparent to all observers.
According to Rybar, “originally, we had concerns that we wouldn’t have enough players – but ultimately we had something like eight players, of various ages.” Still, he said, “although the Czechs were heavily represented, and younger on average, we put up a nice fight.” He laughed at the final result, effectively masking his pain. “The final score was not too bad.”
Ultimately, according to Michaela Chladekova, International Relations Department Director at the Slovakian Bar Association, 400-450 lawyers participated in the three-day event, which included a professional conference, dinner, speeches, networking, various sporting competitions, an open-air concert, and fireworks. She succeeded in holding back tears at the results of the basketball game, bravely describing the three-day gathering as “a great event with a good vibe.” Indeed, although she herself played in the volleyball game, she pretended to believe that the results didn’t matter. “The spirit was great; we are all brothers and sisters and love each other.”
In other sporting results at the event, the Czech Bar’s volleyball team beat their Slovak counterparts 3-0, Czechs won mini-golf competitions at both the seniors and children level, and the Czech football team beat the Slovaks 4-2 (“football was the most balanced – you shouldn’t mention the score in the other games!”, Chladekova laughed). Still, the Slovaks were not shut out altogether, with Slovak lawyer Radovan Stretavsk, founding Partner of Slovakia’s Prolegal law firm, winning the 5 km run, and Lucia Svecova, a Slovakian living in Prague, finishing first among the women.
Iva Chaloupkova, Spokesperson and Head of the Press Department at the Czech Bar Association, who played a major role in organizing the event, was generous about the Czech team’s victory, and she described the three-day event as “a big success.” Still, she admitted, putting the massive event together was a “huge project,” and she laughed that she is “pleased that the next event won’t happen for another hundred years – and I won’t be there for it.”
This Article was originally published in Issue 5.10 of the CEE Legal Matters Magazine. If you would like to receive a hard copy of the magazine, you can subscribe here.