Prague: Here We Are Again

Photos by Przemek Niciejewski

There's nothing quite like that first afternoon back on the terraces. After a long summer break, everything feels at once so foreign and so familiar, as fans greet seats and old friends they know so well, but do so clinging to new dreams pinned to new names on new shirts.

As the eyes of the world dart to television screens once again tuned to football's blockbusters—the latest big-budget installments of the Premier League and La Liga set to smash box office records yet again—local football across Europe also takes flight, including in the Czech Republic.

A long way from HD television cameras and prawn sandwiches lives a football reality worlds apart from the Prem's polished all-seaters. Those who boldly proclaim to be against modern football forget that there exists another, much more expansive side to our contemporary game—a side still defined first and foremost by its community spirit, human scale and, yes, usually a charming roughness. This is a spectatorial experience that isn't merely characterized by what it "lacks," but enhanced by it.

These are stadiums where names and faces off the pitch matter as much as those on it. You won't find executive boxes here, but you will find character—seeping out of the cracks in the staircases and smelled in the sausages.

Places like these remind us that football is a game of personality and culture. It's a sport that enlivens our senses and sheds light on the ways in which we live. It's a lens into a world whose beauty is in its diversity and its details.

So, here we are again. Another season, another chase for glory, another year at the only other place you call "home."

Football is back.

 

Words by Where Is Football's Zack Goldman. Photos by Where Is Football contributor Przemek Niciejewski.

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Words and photos by Trisikh Sanguanbun. See his beautiful photos on Instagram.