A Velvet Revolution - The Rock Of Prague
By J.S. Leatherbarrow
Prague - beautiful, historic, full of brilliance and magic.
Like waves crashing over a rock, events over the last three quarters of a century have battered & bruised the city. But the rock stood firm.
It stood firm when the Nazi wave came rolling in. It stood firm when the Stalinist wave came rolling in. It stood firm when the floods came rolling in.
Its people are incredible. Everything from the Prague Spring, in 1968, through to the Velvet Revolution in 1989 tells you this.
And they love football. My God - do they love football.
Prague Raptors are every bit as wonderful as the city they hail from.
Inclusive, diverse & open, they are a model that all clubs in football should look towards for ethical inspiration. They have a set of guiding principles at the club that they call DESIRE: Diversity. Education. Social responsibility. Innovation. Respect. Energy.
In practice this means that they welcome players, staff and anyone else they work with, from any background. This means that the colour of your skin, your sexuality, your religion or gender are not a barrier to playing football and becoming part of a community. They have a rainbow coalition of many different nationalities at the club.
Founded, with these principles, in 2017 they are a wonderful example of how to shape the future of our sport.
Prague have a new velvet revolution on their hands, they have a new rock too. This city & its people have withstood so many crashing waves over the last century.
Prague Raptors are the antidote to any wave of discrimination or inequality not just in football, but in society as a whole. They are a rock of ages that will not be cleft.
I decided against doing formal interviews with the club as I feel them too unique to load, aim & shoot the same questions that journalists usually ask their subjects in football pieces. Instead, I decided to ask 8 of their players - 4 women & 4 men to symbolise the equality of the club - to speak about one simple thing.
What Prague Raptors Means To Me.
Words by J.S. Leatherbarrow. Original photographs by Simona Lebánková - artwork by FATC - all rights reserved.