The Austro Hungarian Empire, Czechoslovakia and Grandparents

fotolia_What wonders had Dan witnessed? During the first thirty years of Dan’s life, he had only seen miserable matches, bankruptcy that almost left the fans without a football club and two shameful years in the second division. That was all Dan had witnessed in 30 years. Dan was first a boy, then a teenager, and finally a grown man who had a lot of second hand stories, other people’s stories but not their own; nothing to tell his children or his grandchildren.

They, the elderly, had had it easier. Dan’s great grandfather had arrived in the Czech Republic (or rather, the Austro Hungarian Empire), which then became Czechoslovakia in 1918. He was killed by a stray bullet during a national celebration of the Corsican community in 1938, at the age of forty five. The positive thing is that, before this tragic incident, he had been able to see his football club champion a whole 9 times.

Dan’s great grandfather fulfilled his goal in life before dying and he was able to teach his kids the craft of being a football fan. His son, i. e., Dan’s grandfather was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when the club was in second division; Dan’s dad and he wanted him to hang on and not die before the club could gain the promotion spot, but he died two weeks before they were able to. Dan thinks that his grandfather probably did not care enough to stay alive another two weeks, because he had seen their football team champion eleven times, and had also passed on the fandom torch down to his children; one of them would later become Dan’s father. Dan’s grandfather also fulfilled his goal in life. And then there was Dan’s dad, who died sitting in an armchair in the living room, a week after their team came last in the Czech League tournament.